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AFL Div. 1 Round-Up: March 3

AFL Div. 1 Round-Up: March 3

Mon, 4th March 2019


By Daire Walsh

Ballinteer St John’s, Lucan Sarsfields and Naomh Maur preserved their 100% records in Adult Football League Division One with impressive victories amidst treacherous weather conditions on Sunday morning.

After they opened their 2019 campaign by registering a 3-11 to 0-12 victory at the expense of Thomas Davis in Marley Park, John's squeezed past the challenge of Skerries Harps in a keenly-contested round two fixture (1-11 to 1-10).

Lucan Sarsfields had 10 points to spare - 2-17 to 2-7 - at home to Cuala a fortnight earlier and stormed into their meeting with St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh at Martin Savage Park. By the end of the first-quarter, they had registered 2-4 without reply to rein in the challenge of their northside opponents.

Following excellent build-up play by former Dublin footballer Stephen O’Shaughnessy, Jack Carey bagged Lucan’s second goal. Eight points adrift on the interval, Plunkett’s threatened a revival with four unanswered points on the resumption.

Nevertheless, Lucan remained in the ascendancy as the action progressed. CJ Smith released O’Shaughnessy for their third goal on 47 minutes - which propelled Sarsfields towards a convincing 3-11 to 1-8 triumph.

Impressive 1-16 to 1-7 victors over Plunkett’s on February 17, Maur’s faced Fingallians at Lawless Park. The Swords men also enjoyed a winning start to their top-flight campaign courtesy of a 1-11 to 0-9 success on the road against Templeogue Synge Street.

They were on course for back-to-back victories when they led Maur’s by 2-3 to 0-5 at the midway stage of their tension-filled encounter. However, despite playing the entire second half with just 14 men, the Rush outfit dug deep to come through by the slenderest of margins (2-9 to 2-8).

Alongside Ballyboden St Enda’s and county champions Kilmacud Crokes - who played an entertaining draw (1-10 apiece) at Pairc Ui Murchu - Dessie Farrell’s Na Fianna currently lead the chasing pack. Although Philly Ryan claimed a brace of goals for St Brigid’s, Conor McHugh and David Lacey - star performers in their win over St Jude’s - raised green flags to secure a share of the spoils (2-12 each) at Russell Park.

Having endured a difficult start to the season, Cuala bounced back in spectacular style against holders St Vincent’s at Hyde Park. Their Marino rivals had the measure of Skerries in mid-February and as a result, were favourites to prevail in this round two clash.

Diarmuid Connolly’s 0-2 salvo helped them to settle, before the Dalkey hosts gained a stranglehold on the play. In addition to Luke Keating’s brace, Niall O’Callaghan (brother of Con) and Darragh Spillane also contributed goals to the Cuala cause.

Though Vincent’s remained in contention over the course of the hour, Keating and Jamie Keenan posted a succession of points to help their side to emerge on the right end of a 4-9 to 1-14 final scoreline.

Local rivals St Jude’s and Templeogue Synge Street faced off at the National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown - where both teams were intent on getting their campaigns up and running.

Eager to make amends for their reversal to Na Fianna in round one, Seamus Ryan and Richie English rounded off attacking moves to give the 2018 Championship finalists an eventual 2-11 to 0-6 win.

Meanwhile, at Kiltipper Road, Jason Whelan and Liam O’Donovan inspired Ballymun Kickhams to a 0-15 to 0-14 victory over Thomas Davis.

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