| 7.3°C Dublin

Morris: Championship too tight to call

THE way things are shaping up, there's little elbow room in the Dublin Senior Hurling 'A' Championship.

The bell sounds for round two this week. There's some intriguing bouts to look forward to.

The pot is bubbling up nicely. The champions, Kilmacud Crokes, were held on the first day out.

Brigid's came back off the floor. Five points down with seven minutes left. Ger Ryan was purring.

Then you had the 'Boden bustle, bristling back into contention with a purposeful performance against Finbarr's.

Plunkett's/ER beat the famous Faughs, while, in the biggest shock of them all, St Patrick's of Palmerstown overcame the Vinnies.

"It's hard to predict how games are going to go as that Pat's result showed," observes the O'Toole's manager, Joey Morris.

"It's all very tight. There's some very good games to look forward to. I think this will be a very interesting championship."

O'Toole's meeting with Cuala this Thursday should have then standing in the aisles.

Cuala defeated the Craobh by two points. It was a repeat of their quarter-final victory of last term.

"It will be a big test for us. Cuala got to the final last year. They are a really fine side," judges Joey.



The Larriers surprised many pundits by toppling Lucan. The Sars have been edging ever closer towards the summit in recent years.

O'Toole's are the eight-time champions. Their last crown came in 2002. They were in the final in 2011.

They are busy rebuilding the Blunden bricks. "We have been rebuilding for the past couple of years. We have brought a lot of young players through."

But there's considerable experience too. You have the likes of Brendan McLoughlin, Richie Walker, Jody Bastow, Ger O'Meara, Kevin Ryan, Christy Mulligan, the Morris dancers and the Cartons.

"The lads played very well against Lucan. We were thrilled with the win. It's a big lift for the club," notes Joey.

"It was a very positive start. We were short a couple of players, so that also added to the sense of achievement.

"Hopefully the couple of injuries will have cleared up for Thursday night, but the young lads that came in did well.

"It has given us, the management, a few selection headaches, but that's a nice position to be in. People have to work for their places on the first 15.

"But it's just the one win. We have to push on now. And we realise how tough this Cuala game will be.

"Last year, we were very disappointed to go out in the quarter-final. We just didn't perform on the day. That can happen. That's hurling."

The other Group A tie also looks box office, Chiarain's against Lucan. A win here would be crucial for either side.

In Group D, St Vincent's will be very anxious to get something out of the 'Boden match. It won't be easy. It's a repeat of the 2010 final.

St Pat's will face the Barrs. Victory and they could be looking towards a quarter-final spot. That would cheer up Glenaulin Park no end.

They'll get nothing handy against the Bogey Boys. Pat's will have to repeat their heroics against the Vinnies.

That was a fabulous display in O'Toole Park. Pat's defended brilliantly. They brought such verve to the hour.

They defended so well. There was a solid spirit in the side. They were hungry for victory, and you could see at the end how much the result meant.

Goalkeeper, Damian Gallagher, is one of the best in the city. And Shane Stapleton didn't miss a pocket all night.



Stuart Mullen is still clearing the table. Plunkett's/ER hit three goals in 12 minutes against Faughs.

Mullen was a pivotal figure in the success. They were in the Senior B Championship final last season and they defended superbly against Faughs. They'll have to make sure to close the curtains against last year's semi-finalists, Crumlin.

Crumlin are a compact unit. Wes O'Brien did well at midfield the last day, and Adam McGreal had a good afternoon on the stock exchange floor.

Faughs have won more Dublin senior hurling championships than them all. They are now preparing for a Thursday evening O'Toole Park appointment with Ballinteer St John's, who lost to Crumlin on the first day out.

Na Fianna have to play the holders. Joey Boland scored 1-14 the last day (1-10f) but they still fell to St Jude's, who should be involved in a worthy debate with Brigid's who secured that prized point against Crokes.

Pat's beating Vincent's was the big shock a couple of weeks ago. And Joey Morris says there could be one or two more along the road.