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Saints plunder treasure



A dramatic point from Frenchman Cedric Le Tillier four minutes into injury time saw St Oliver Plunkett's/ER crowned the 2012 Dublin Junior 'F' hurling champions after a ding-dong battle with Naomh Barróg at Russell Park on Sunday morning.

The game appeared destined for extra-time as the seconds ticked away, but Le Tillier showed terrific composure to pop his winner from a tight angle on the left touchline sparking massive celebrations from the Plunkett's squad.

It was tough for Barróg. The Kilbarrack side were certainly deserving of a draw, and indeed led by a point going into injury-time after an own goal had given them the initiative with 10 minutes remaining.

But they couldn't hold on and it will no doubt be a bitterly disappointing end to the season for them.

The winners got off to a dream start. A long clearance from defence was ground stroked by Damien O'Meara into the path of captain Andy Kelly who managed to poke the ball under the advancing Niall Connolly.

Tom Mulryine finally got Barróg off the mark after some poor wides with a free on 12 minutes. The full-forward, whose battle with Mick Cregan was a feature of the game throughout, then went one better with a wonderful piece of skill. Gathering the ball some 25 metres away from goal, Mulryne managed to turn on to his left side and evade the attentions of Cregan for a split second.

It gave him the time he needed to send an unstoppable shot to the top corner of the Plunkett's net.

O'Meara responded for the Navan Road side, before a well-worked sideline between Ben McGinn and Paul Ryan resulted in the latter restoring the Barróg lead.

Mulryne then got another score as Barróg threatened to take control. But it was Plunkett's who finished the half strongly.

David Matthews, who put in a Trojan shift at midfield, fired over a long-range point followed by an equally impressive score by Le Tillier.

Then another long ball caused confusion in the Barróg full-back line and Kelly was at hand to stab the ball to the net for his, and Plunkett's, second goal. It all meant they held a 2-3 to 1-3 interval lead.

That advantage was extended by Matthews immediately on the restart with another well-taken point after a powerful burst.

Barróg, however, were not about to die off at that point and went on to enjoy their most fruitful period of the game. Substitute Donagh O'Brien popped over a good score on the run before McGinn repeated the trick on the opposite wing.

Paul Ryan then struck his second to leave the minimum between the teams. Patsy Brennan again gave Plunkett's some breathing space with a well-taken point from midfield, quickly followed by another from O'Meara.

All their hard work nearly came undone, however, when on 50 minutes they were struck with desperate hard luck. O'Sullivan's ball towards goal forced Plunkett's Cregan to stretch his hurl out in an attempt to stop the danger.

Unfortunately for them, however, it took a wicked deflection that wrong-footed goalkeeper Sean Treacy and trickled over the line to draw Barróg level.

Mulryne then grabbed what looked like a clincher with a free but O'Meara showed nerves of steel to level with a dead ball of his own, before Le Tillier's late, late intervention.