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Shallow Craobh to come up short

Dublin SHC preview


Ballyboden St Enda’s forward Paul Ryan

Ballyboden St Enda’s forward Paul Ryan

Ballyboden St Enda’s forward Paul Ryan

The line-up for the Dublin Senior 'A' Hurling Championship quarter-finals will be confirmed over the weekend as teams battle it out for coveted last-eight spots.

At present, six of the eight quarter-finalists are already determined and they can look forward to knock-out action with holders Cuala being joined from Group 4 by Na Fianna after they both enjoyed wins over Thomas Davis and Setanta.

The same applies in Group 2, where St Vincent's and Lucan Sarsfields can begin to make plans for the business end of the championship as they came through the group, as anticipated, following their wins against Ballinteer St John's and St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh.

Of course, Kilmacud Crokes and St Brigid's are also sitting pretty at the top of Group 2 and Group 3 respectively with the former arguably the form team of the championship to date following their comfortable wins over Ballyboden St Enda's and Craobh Chiaráin.

Those defeats leave 'Boden and Craobh fighting out for the remaining qualifying spot and it promises to be a full-blooded affair when they meet in Páirc Uí Mhurchú this evening.

The 2018 champions will have been heartened by the manner in which they bounced back from their crushing loss to Crokes when easing past Scoil Uí Chonaill by 4-29 to 0-6 last Wednesday week.

Paul Ryan, who was carrying an injury going into their opening group game, showed few ill-effects against Scoil as he plundered 1-9 and his importance to Ballyboden cannot be overestimated given their general reliance on the Dublin attacker for scorers at critical times.

In that context, Aidan Mellett showed glimpses of his 2018 form against Crokes but a more consistent output is required from the St Enda's attack if they're to keep their ambitions alive.

They won't find it easy against a Craobh team whose depth has been tested this year following the retirement of Alan McCrabbe and Kevin Hetherton's move to Australia.

Certainly, they struggled to fire against Kilmacud in Round 2 with the contest effectively decided by half-time as they managed just three points during that period although they could feel encouraged by an improved second-half showing.

Cian Derwin has maintained his fine form from 12 months ago but with Billy Ryan yet to make an appearance, the Chiaráin's attack can ill-afford to be without a player that illuminated last year's championship.

You write Craobh off at your peril but the signs suggest that Ballyboden, with home advantage an added bonus, have the greater depth to get the job done.

The final qualifying spot comes from Group 3 with St Jude's, Whitehall Colmcille and Faughs still in the hunt to join St Brigid's in the last eight.

Dublin SHC fixtures

SHC 'A' Group 1: St Vincent's v Lucan Sarsfields (Parnell Park, Today, 2.45).

Verdict: St Vincent's

SHC 'A' Group 1: St Oliver Plunkett's/ER v Ballinteer St John's (O'Toole Park, Today, 2.45).

Verdict: St Oliver Plunkett's/ER

SHC 'A' Group 2: Ballyboden St Enda's v Craobh Chiaráin (Páirc Uí Mhurchú, Today, 6.30).

Verdict: Ballyboden St Enda's

SHC 'A' Group 2: Kilmacud Crokes v Scoil Uí Chonaill (Silver Park, Today, 6.30).

Verdict: Kilmacud Crokes

SHC 'A' Group 3: St Brigid's v Faughs (O'Toole Park, Tomorrow, 3.00).

Verdict: St Brigid's

SHC 'A' Group 3: Whitehall Colmcille v St Jude's (Parnell Park, Tomorrow, 3.00)

Verdict: St Jude's

SHC 'A' Group 4: Setanta v Thomas Davis (O'Toole Park, Today, 4.45)

Verdict: Thomas Davis

SHC 'A' Group 4: Na Fianna v Cuala (Parnell Park, Today, 4.45).

Verdict: Cuala