O'Sullivan's class shines through as St Helen's see off plucky Raheny
Day one of the annual Allianz Cumann na mBunscol hurling finals provided a feast of action for those in attendance at Croke Park yesterday.
Just over 300 schools started in the competition at the beginning of March, but it was evident that the cream rose to the top as the future stars of Dublin hurling displayed their skills, with no shortage of passion.
The opening tie at the Davin end was an epic battle, with St Helen's, Portmarnock just doing enough to see off the challenge of Scoil Assaim, Raheny,
It was the Raheny men who got off to the better start when their tireless midfielder Sean O'Flynn split the posts on the run.
However, in team captain Chris O'Sullivan, St Helen's had a player of tremendous talent, and he scored two fabulous points including one from a sideline cut.
O'Flynn and Sean Hawkshaw exchanged points to leave matters delicately poised at the break, 0-3 to 0-2 in favour of the Portmarnock men.
Hawkshaw pushed his team further ahead on the restart with a point after an incisive run through the heart of the Raheny defence.
Soon after, O'Sullivan again displayed his ability from the dead ball with another converted sideline cut.
When Hawkshaw scored a goal to push them six clear with 10 minutes remaining, it looked as though they would coast home
But the Raheny men were made of stern stuff and they battled bravely to get back into the tie.
O'Flynn found the net with a scorching shot before repeating the trick seconds later to set up a nail-biting finale.
Portmarnock, though, managed to regain their composure and a goal from midfielder Fintan O'Connor, along with two more O'Sullivan points, pushed them over the finish line.
Perhaps the performance of the day was in the Corn Haughey when a tally of 1-8 from midfielder Niamh Ní Chiardha helped Scoil Naithí, Dundrum to victory over St Helen's girls.
The final game at the Davin End had a bit of star quality attached, as Dublin All-Ireland medal winner Declan Lally patrolled the line for Mary Mother of Hope Littlepace.
Unfortunately for them, they came up against a superbly drilled Holy Trinity, Donaghmede side, who snatched victory thanks largely to a brace of goals from corner-forward Alex Ingle.
Elsewhere, there were wins for the boys from Divine Word, Marley Grange, St Oliver Plunkett's, Malahide, Scoil Neasin, Harmonstown, Loreto Crumlin and a double success for the boys and girls of Scoil Mhuire, Bayside.
TEAMS AND SCORERS IN FACTFILE