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Gaelic Football: Benildus are brawn to win

St Benildus College captured the Dublin Colleges Senior 'A' Football title after coming out on top of their much anticipated derby clash with near neighbours Coláiste Eoin.

Benildus were a physically stronger side and they used this to their advantage as they disrupted the rhythm of their opponents with intense tackling and workrate. Indeed, despite having the better of the opening quarter, Eoin failed to register a single score in the second half and it was this stat which will surely return to haunt them as they ponder the defeat.

Eoin twice held four-point leads in that first half. They raced ahead early on with points from Colm Mac Gearailt, Brian Ó Murchú, Donal Sutcliffe and a wonderful individual effort from full-forward Seán Mac Craith.

Mac Craith was a danger throughout as he roamed around the field but he appeared to be carrying a knock as his influence waned somewhat as the game wore on. His individual battle with Dublin minor hurling panellist Aodhán Clabby was one of the highlights of the first half with neither player prepared to give an

inch. Midfielder Sutcliffe, another county minor hurler, was also enjoying a wonderful opening 20 minutes as his fielding ability and range of passing meant his team was able to control the centre of the park and provided the ammunition for Mac Gearailt and co to shine.


But the winners were made of stern stuff, and despite their slow start they managed to haul themselves back into the game. Rangy corner forward Glenn Whelan got them off the mark with a long-range free under pressure.

Then Dublin minor star Fearghal Duffy slotted the first of his three frees as Benildus began to find their feet. Full-forward Paul Mannion always looked likely to cause problems with ball in hand and he ran at the Eoin defence at every opportunity.

It was this tactic which yielded the best possible dividends after 22 minutes when he beat three defenders to get his shot away. Goalkeeper Daniel Ó Caoimh was equal to the task but the ball spilled into the square. It somehow found its way back to Mannion who made no mistake at the second time of asking as he raised the only green flag of the afternoon.

It ensured the teams went in to the break level at 1-5 to 8 points.

The second period was very much a war of attrition as both defences were dominant. But it was Benildus who eventually made the breakthrough as two Duffy frees edged his side in front.


Coláiste Eoin laid siege to the Benildus goal for the last quarter but found Clabby and corner back Karl McGrath in outstanding form. It was the latter who made what was the score of the match when he won possession near his own goal line before carrying the ball downfield to set up Whelan who duly split the posts.

Again it was left to Whelan to grab the clincher from and identical angle, three minutes into injury time which all but guaranteed the famous win. Referee Gary McCor-mack's final whistle brought an end to the absorbing contest and sparked major celebrations among the Benildus faithful as joyous captain Peter O'Curry accepted the trophy on behalf his victorious team.

Scorers -- St Benildus: P Mannion 1-0, F Duffy (3f), G Whelan (1f) 0-3 each, P O'Curry, D Butler, A McMahon 0-1 each Coláiste Eoin: C Mac Gearailt (2f) 0-3, D Sutcliffe (45) 0-2, M Mac Donnacha, A Ó Maoileannaigh, S Mac Craith 0-1 each

St Benildus: M O'Connor; D Quinn, A Clabby, K McGrath; A Carroll, S Fitzsimons, A Dolan; P O'Curry, C Egan; D Butler, F Duffy, A McMahon; G Whelan, P Mannion, S Butler. Subs: B O'Riain for Egan(h-t), David Byrne for Dolan(48), Darragh Byrne for O'Riain (60).

Coláiste Eoin: D Ó Caoimh; S Ó Seasnáin, E Ó Lionsaigh, C Mac Binéid; G Ó Fógartaigh, A Ó Murchú, J Mac Cionnaith; J Mac Suibhne, D Sutcliffe; M Mac Donnacha, M Ó Duibhir, C Mac Gearailt; B Ó Murchú, S Mac Craith, A Ó Maoilmhiaigh

Subs: R Mac Daibhéid for Ó Murchú(43), E Ó Dochtartaigh for Mac Craith(48), Mac Craith for Ó Maoilmhiaigh(58)

Ref: G McCormack (Nh Barróg)