Friday 19 July 2019

Superb underdog effort from Castleblaney falls just short as Dunnamaggin take All-Ireland junior hurling crown

Dunnamaggin 1-17 Castleblayney 1-13

10 February 2019; Dunnamaggin captain William Phelan lifts the cup after the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Junior Championship Final match between Castleblayney and Dunnamaggin at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
10 February 2019; Dunnamaggin captain William Phelan lifts the cup after the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Junior Championship Final match between Castleblayney and Dunnamaggin at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Ciaran Flaherty

Kilkenny champions Dunnamaggin were made to earn their keep and sweat all the way before they docked in safety in this gripping All-Ireland club junior hurling final in Croke Park yesterday.

Rank outsiders Castleblayney looked well capable of winning for the first 40 minutes. They headed towards the last quarter leading by 1-12 to 1-8, but then the tide turned against them.

Dunnamaggin had been poor, but found a better touch and coherence to their play. Points from match star John Fitzpatrick (right), free-taker Thomas Maher and Ray Cody levelled the game at 1-13 each six minutes from the end.

Dunnamaggin roared on, adding points from Maher (3) and Ronan Coffey to snatch a thrilling win and become the eighth Kilkenny club to take the title. 

The winners just couldn’t handle hot opposition during the opening half, even after enjoying the tonic of scoring an 11th minute goal by John Fitzpatrick but the Monaghan side grew in confidence as the half wore on. With deadly free-taker Fergal Rafter hitting the target from all distance, they eventually earned parity in the 28th minute at 1-5 to 0-8.

Castleblayney powered on, as Brian McGuigan got inside the last line of the Kilkenny defence to shoot an excellent goal on 29 minutes and although Dunnamaggin hit the last point of the half from a free by Maher, they trailed by 1-8 to 1-6 at the interval.

Although Dunnamaggin had the opening point of the second half after 18 seconds from Ray Cody, the fightback to parity was still 24 minutes away, but by that time the Cats had unearthed their best form and raced away for victory.

SCORERS – Dunnamaggin: T Maher 0-7 (4f; 1 65); J Fitzpatrick 1-3; R Coffey, R Cody 0-2 each; D Fitzpatrick, D O’Keeffe, E Kearney 0-1 each. Castleblayney: F Rafter 0-9 (6f, 1 ’65); B McGuigan 1-1; H Byrne 0-2; C McNally 0-1 . 

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Dunnamaggin – S O’Neill; M Heffernan, N Hickey, V Costello; M Cody, W Phelan, A Fitzpatrick; D Fitzpatrick, E Kearney; T Maher, J Fitzpatrick, D O’Keeffe; R Coffey, R Cody, A Fitzpatrick. Subs: J Brett for M Heffernan (35); I Walsh for A Fitzpatrick (44).

Castleblayney – P Collins; E Leonard, J McHugh, C Merrick; A Kenny, P Treanor, C McNally; B Flanagan, P Finnegan; H Byrne, M Treanor, B McGuigan; F Rafter, C Callan, P Malone. Sub: F Finnegan for P Malone (54).

Ref – L Gordon (Galway)

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