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Keane the hero as Saints torch Aodháin hopes

TOM KEANE was the hero in a breezy O'Toole Park on Tuesday afternoon, when his hat-trick set St Benildus College on their way to a memorable triumph over a committed Scoil Aodháin in the Dublin Schools Juvenile Football 'A' decider.

The opening part of the contest had proven to be rather scrappy, and it wasn't until the sixth minute that the first score arrived, a point from play by Benildus corner-forward Glenn Soraghan.

This score helped to settle the Kilmacud school, though, and Keane secured his first major of the day when he finished superbly to bottom left-hand corner of the Aodháin goal.

The Whitehall outfit finally opened their account 12 minutes in with a score from a tight angle by full-forward Dylan Constantine, but Benildus moved into a six-point cushion thanks to points from Joseph Rafferty, Keane and Adam Kelly.

Aodháin were enjoying a good deal of possession, but the Benildus defence were keeping a tight reign on their forward line, and a second goal from the elusive Keane, as well as an excellent point by half-back Kevin Ryan, meant that they were facing into a 10-point deficit (2-5 to 0-1) on the resumption.

Aodháin had a mountain to climb after the restart, but even though midfielder Eoin Foley contributed an early point for Benildus, scores from Dylan Curtis (2), Enda O'Donnell and James Doran gave the Collins Avenue brigade a fighting chance.

Patrick Flaherty and Tony McCaul went on to swap points, before Benildus made sure of their victory with an impressive haul of 1-4 in the space of seven minutes.

The points during this run arrived courtesy of Keane, Flaherty, Rafferty and Foley, with the goal coming on 46 minutes when Soraghan capitalised on hesitancy by Aodháin netminder Ciaran McHugh.

The north Dublin boys continued to fight until the very end, and registered unanswered scores through Doran (2), McCaul and the powerful Curtis, but the outstanding Keane capped off a fine display with his third goal of the day following good work on the left-hand side.

A looping strike from a right-hand angle by centre-forward McCaul did give Aodháin the three-pointer that their performance deserved in the second minute of stoppage time, but it wasn't enough to spoil the party for a jubilant St Benildus.

Scorers -- St Benildus College: T Keane 3-2; Glenn Soraghan 1-1 (0-1f); P Flaherty (f), J Rafferty, E Foley 0-2 each; A Kelly (f), K Ryan 0-1 each. Scoil Aodháin: T McCaul 1-2; J Doran (2f), D Curtis 0-3 each; D Constantine, E O'Donnell 0-1 each.

ST BENILDUS COLLEGE: A O'Callaghan; Gavin Soraghan, D Dagg, S Mulvanney; J McGuire, L Doran, K Ryan; A Bradshaw, E Foley; B Carr, J Rafferty, A Kelly; Glenn Soraghan, P Flaherty, T Keane.

SCOIL Aodháin: C McHugh; D Bergin, B Ashton, R Kerins; D Gorman, D Ryan, C Cullen-Fleming; E Whelan, D Curtis; C McCormack, T McCaul, J Doran; B Daly, D Constantine, E O'Donnell. Subs: C McHugh for McCormack (half-time), M Moran for Daly (51), O Sheridan for O'Donnell (53).

REFEREE: P Faughnan (St Pat's, Palmerstown).