Dicksboro were made to fight all the way to eke out a narrow but deserved win over a gallant St John's at Cusack Park, Mullingar, yesterday afternoon.
With corner-forward Brian McFall in fine form, the Antrim men gave as good as they got in the first half.
In the 20th minute a high delivery from McFall led to a scrambled goal from Liam Boyle and this score helped the Ulster men to a 1-6 to 0-7 half-time lead.
Two points within a minute of the resumption from Ollie Walsh and Martin Gaffney levelled the contest and it was Gaffney who went on to be the undoubted star of the second half, as he finished with a personal tally of 11 points.
Cillian Starr's point approaching the midpoint of the half gave the Kilkenny men a lead they never looked likely to relinquish, despite the endeavour of St John's.
Scorers -- Dicksboro: M Gaffney 0-11 (0-6f), O Walsh 0-2, P O'Flynn, A Stapleton, C Starr 0-1 each. St John's: B McFall 0-7 (0-3f, 1 s-l, 0-1 '65'), L Boyle 1-0, S McCrory, N McCallin 0-1 each.
Dicksboro -- S Morrissey, D Glynn, K Cuddihy, P Hogan, M Fagan, D Kenny, E Malone, D O'Gorman, C O'Loughlin, P O'Flynn, M Gaffney, O Walsh, A Stapleton, S Maher, C Starr. Subs: K Nolan for O'Loughlin (47), T Manning for Maher (52).
St John's -- C Cunningham, C Gannon, M O'Neill, C Morgan, L Knocker, S McCrory, A McGowan, G Clarke, C McFall, G Cunningham, Barry McFall, S Tierney, L Boyle, N McCallin, Brian McFall. Subs: M Lyons for Knocker (25), C McStein for Tierney(39), J Savage for Boyle (45), J Mead for McCallin (59).
Ref -- F Smith (Meath).
MUNSTER Intermediate hurling champions Ballymartyle staved off a spirited second-half Padraig Pearses rally in a fine contest in Templetouhy yesterday.
The Cork side were made to fight all the way by a determined Pearses side, who pushed them right to the end despite losing wing-back Tommy MacDonagh in the 12th minute after he received a straight red card.
Ballymartle dominated the opening quarter, with three early points from Barry Dwyer nullifying Thomas Flannery's second-minute free for Pearses.
Darren McCarthy pointed Ballymartyle's fourth before Barry Dwyer put Jamie Dwyer clean through on goal and he netted with aplomb. Pearses trailed by 1-7 to 0-5 at the break.
Points from Rory and Barry Dwyer extended Ballymartyle's lead after the restart. McCarthy pointed his side's final score in the 43rd minute, but for the remainder of the game the Cork side were forced to fight a rearguard action as the Galway men narrowed the gap to just a goal with five successive points from placed balls.
Scorers -- Ballymartyle: B Dwyer 0-4 (0-3f), D McCarthy 0-3, J Dwyer 1-0, R Dwyer 0-2 (0-1f), S Corry 0-1. Padraig Pearses: T Flannery 0-10 (0-8f, 1 '65').
Ballymartyle -- D McCarthy; D Coleman, M Tobin, Declan Dwyer; J Kelly, P Dwyer, N Sheehan; S Corry, G Webb; D McCarthy, R Dwyer, B Dwyer; J Dwyer, Dan Dwyer, P Dwyer. Subs: D Edmonds for Coleman (46), S O'Mahony for Coughlan (60).
Padraig Pearses -- F Flannery; A Kenny, T Kenny, P Raftery; K Hardiman, T Higgins, T McDonagh; S Hardiman, K Donnellan; C Ward, C Donnellan, A Kilkenny; T Flannery, E Ward, A Bellews: Subs: R Donnellan for Hardiman (32), J Gelston for Higgins (55).
Ref -- P Casey (Waterford).