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Sunday 24 February 2019

Holders dump Good Counsel

Top Oil Leinster Schools Senior 'A' hurling championship: Dublin North 1-14 Good Counsel 0-11

Jack Kehoe of Good Counsel under heavy pressure from Matt Barr and Darragh Power
Jack Kehoe of Good Counsel under heavy pressure from Matt Barr and Darragh Power

Alan Aherne

The absence of any real firepower ensured there would be no upset at the Halo Tiles and Bathrooms Ferns Centre of Excellence on Wednesday, when titleholders Dublin North ended Good Counsel's interest in the Top Oil Leinster Schools Senior 'A' hurling championship at the quarter-final stage.

The losers only managed a paltry three points from play, with just one in the opening half from free-taker A.J. Redmond.

Indeed, all nine of their scores up to the 38th minute were registered by the Rathnure clubman, and the last two points of the contest from Cathal Doyle were mere consolations as Dublin North had the victory secured by that stage.

The city side, who will now meet St. Kieran's (Kilkenny) in the semi-final, had a far more impressive spread of finishers.

Indeed, when hard-working centre-forward Mark Sweeney pointed 55 seconds after the interval, he was the last of the six attackers and two midfielders to contribute to the scoresheet.

And while all bar two of that group made just one contribution, it was still a lot more menacing than their Counsel rivals who trailed by 1-10 to 0-7 at half-time.

Liam Dunne and Darragh McLoughney got Dublin North off the mark before Redmond fired over his first free in the sixth minute, and it was 0-4 to 0-2 by the end of the first quarter after Diarmuid Breslin and Seán Foran pointed before another converted placed ball by Redmond.

It took a good block by Counsel captain Seán Phelan to deny Breslin a possible goal in the eleventh minute but, after Dunne knocked over two more frees, his fellow corner-forward did rattle Kyle Martin's net.

It came after a Conor Scully clearance, with Breslin darting across from right to left before gaining possession and firing a high shot into the far top corner of the net (1-6 to 0-2).

Although there was a long way to go, it was clear that Counsel lacked the overall strength of the eventual winners who had stars in full-back Eoin Carney, midfielder Seán Foran, and Kevin Byrne who played effectively in a deep-lying half-forward role when they faced the wind in the second-half.

After Redmond's third pointed free, Dunne, Darragh Power and Ben McSweeney picked off points in response before the former registered Counsel's opener from play in the 28th minute (1-10 to 0-4).

And there was some hope to be gleaned from a positive end to the half as Redmond added three unanswered points from placed balls to reduce the deficit to six.

Just eight more scores were shared in a second-half featuring six Counsel wides and one more for the leaders who added to their tally quickly via Mark Sweeney (1-11 to 0-7).

The next five points all came from frees, two more for A.J. Redmond and three for Liam Dunne, leaving Dublin North comfortably ahead entering the last quarter as Counsel couldn't manufacture any goal-scoring opportunities (1-14 to 0-9).

Cathal Doyle did manage those two late consolation points, the second from a very tight angle and under heavy pressure in the right corner, but sadly it was a mere glimpse of the type of attacking threat that the losers were unable to show to any sustained degree against well-drilled opponents.

In mitigation, playing against a team drawn from multiple schools is never an easy task.

Good Counsel: Kyle Martin (Rathnure); Micheál O'Connor (Rathnure), Seán Phelan (Glenmore, capt.), Richie Aylward (Tullogher-Rosbercon); Pádraig Bailey (Geraldine O'Hanrahans), Pádraig Dempsey (Mullinavat), Niall O'Shea (Tullogher-Rosbercon); Jack Kehoe (Horeswood), Dylan Morrissey (Tullogher-Rosbercon); Conor Kehoe (St. Mullins), A.J. Redmond (Rathnure, 0-9, 8 frees), Colman O'Sullivan (Tullogher-Rosbercon); Cathal Doyle (Taghmon-Camross, 0-2), Seán O'Connor (Rathnure), Bill Dempsey (Mullinavat). Subs. - Emmet Cullen (Gusserane) for S. O'Connor, temp. (12-14), Cullen for B. Dempsey (28), Seán Cosgrave (Graiguenamanagh) for O'Shea (29), Seánie O'Neill (Adamstown) for Redmond (52), Philip Redmond (Rathnure) for Phelan, inj. (57), Páraic Wickham (Adamstown) for Aylward, inj. (60+2).

Dublin North: John Sammon; Tom Cullen, Eoin Carney, Sam Beirnes; Matt Barr, Conor Scully, Andy Dunphy; Darragh Power (0-1), Seán Foran (0-1); Kevin Byrne (0-1), Mark Sweeney (0-1), Darragh McLoughney (0-1); Diarmuid Breslin (1-1), Ben McSweeney (0-1), Liam Dunne (0-7, 5 frees). Subs. - Luke Swan for Barr (38), David Bohan for McSweeney (45), Cillian Hayes for McLoughney (49), Conor Chawke for Breslin (49), Liam Foley for Sweeney (60+2).

Referee: Pat Kehoe (Carlow).

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