ADULT HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND-UP: JUNE 18
By Daire Walsh
St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh saw off the challenge of St Sylvester’s at Broomfield on Sunday morning to make it five wins on the bounce in Division Two of the Adult Hurling League.
Since falling short to Faughs in the opening round of the competition on February 24, Derek Brennan’s side haven’t looked back. Erin’s Isle, Naomh Olaf, Naomh Fionnbarra and Thomas Davis have been accounted for in the intervening period and they were aiming to extend their promotion push when they travelled to Malahide for a round six meeting with Syls.
While Cian Boland was on inter-county duty for Dublin against Galway in Parnell Park on the previous evening, his brother Fionn’s outstanding midfield performance provided Plunkett’s with a strong platform. Paddy Curtin and Kieran Shannon largely held firm in defence, ably-assisted by dependable netminder Bill McCormack.
Though Sylvester’s ensured they were kept on their toes, Cillian Hayes and Liam Corbett offered the visitors a 2-9 to 1-9 interval buffer. This left matters delicately poised on the resumption, but the Plunkett’s firepower ultimately got them over the line in comprehensive fashion.
Hayes and Sean Clerkin finished with 1-2 apiece and it was the latter’s goal that placed the outcome beyond doubt in the closing moments. Courtesy of his 1-3 haul, Corbett marked himself out as the Plunkett’s scorer-in-chief.
McCormack also pointed a free inside his own half - an inspirational score on another memorable day for the Navan Road outfit. They will be back in action on Saturday week (June 29), when Raheny provide the opposition at Martin Savage Park.
They find themselves just behind Faughs on score difference - the Wellington Lane men having lost out to Erin’s Isle on their home patch. Despite being previously unbeaten with five wins from five, they were edged out at the end of an enthralling encounter at Tymon North.
Faughs had enjoyed a whirlwind start to the proceedings - racing into an early 1-2 to 0-0 lead. Greg Bennett offered a significant threat throughout for the hosts and was highly influential during the early exchanges.
Isles eventually weathered this storm, though - a brace of Paul Murray goals propelling them towards a one-point cushion at the break. After losing out to Kilmacud Crokes in the Intermediate Hurling Championship four days earlier, the Finglas side were determined to make a strong statement on their return to league duty.
Thanks to goals from Darren Hanlon and Fran Carroll when the action resumed, they found themselves within reach of a morale-boosting win. The away team were subsequently reined in by a late Faughs penalty, which looked set to give them a share of the spoils.
Yet, there was enough time for Isles to produce a winner - Carroll getting the all-important score in a 4-16 to 3-18 triumph. Whilst Carroll and Hanlon stood out in the Erin's Isle attack, the defensive displays of Robyn Fitzpatrick and Thomas Fox also proved crucial.
There was also a first reversal of the campaign for O’Toole’s at Blunden Drive. They had a game in hand on their closest rivals after an opening round fixture with Naomh Olaf was postponed, but four successive wins kept them in the frame for an automatic return to the top-flight.
Naomh Barrog had other ideas, however, and boosted their own credentials in a 4-22 to 4-14 victory. Courtesy of their respective triumphs at the weekend, Naomh Olaf and Raheny safely occupy mid-table positions.
At Pairc Ui Bhriain, Naomh Olaf enjoyed a 2-19 to 1-19 win at the expense of Setanta. It was another high-scoring affair in St Anne’s Park, where Raheny had the measure of Thomas Davis (1-21 to 3-11).
Meanwhile, Scoil Ui Chonaill’s survival hopes received a massive boost at ‘The Bogies’. Despite having no wins from the opening five rounds of this year’s second-tier, they recorded a comprehensive 3-20 to 2-13 success over Naomh Fionnbarra.
As a result, they have now moved off the foot of the table, leapfrogging their opponents at the weekend.