ADULT HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
By Daire Walsh
O’Toole’s secured their first league win of 2018 in fine style at Blunden Drive on Wednesday night - finishing with 10 points to spare over Faughs in a fiercely-contested Division One encounter.
With Conor Carton, David Concarr and Ciaran Kimmage delivering stand-out performances, the hosts were always a step ahead of their southside counterparts. Centre-back John Prendergast led by example for Faughs and wing-forward Conor O’Shea claimed a goal for the visitors in the closing stages of the contest.
This only proved to be a mere consolation, however, as O’Toole’s had already done more than enough to emerge with the spoils.
Despite coming into this game on the back of six consecutive top-flight defeats, recent displays provided the Ayrfield outfit with cause for optimism. While they suffered a comprehensive reversal to Kilmacud Crokes last month, St Jude’s were happy to settle for a one-point triumph in Blunden Drive at the end of May.
It has also been a tough campaign thus far for Faughs - who followed an opening round success against Crumlin (6-11 to 0-13) with five losses on the bounce. They faced into a stiff breeze during the first half of the action and O’Toole’s took full advantage with unanswered scores from half-back Christy Mulligan, Peadar Carton (one of several players in the side with vast inter-county experience) and Ciaran Kimmage.
Faughs responded through centre-forward Ciaran Brady, only for O’Toole’s to fired back with six points in the space of seven minutes.
In addition to a 0-3 salvo courtesy of Concarr, Conor Carton (two) and Mulligan were also on target for the club affectionately known as ‘Larriers’. Though Faughs attacker Karl O’Mahoney (free) brought this scoring sequence to a halt at the opposite end, there was no let up in the O’Toole’s challenge.
Following another Conor Carton brace, they were nine points in front (0-11 to 0-2) on the first-quarter mark. Faughs finally put a couple of scores back-to-back via the sticks of O’Mahoney and O’Shea, but the marauding Mulligan was on hand to split the posts off the right-wing.
After spending most of the early exchanges as a spare man inside his own defence (Gerald O’Meara played a sweeper role for O’Toole’s), Emmet McKenna gradually progressed up the pitch for Faughs.
He converted placed balls in the 20th and 21st minutes, helping the Wellington Lane men to reduce the gap to six. O’Mahoney cancelled out a Concarr contribution, as Faughs started to grow in confidence.
Prendergast and McKenna (’65’) added to their tally, but thanks to the considerable endeavours of Kimmage, Concarr and Peadar Carton, O’Toole’s were still commanding 0-16 to 0-9 leaders at the midway point.
Although this left Faughs in a precarious position, there was potential light at the end of the tunnel. Kimmage and Peadar Carton added to their respective hauls on the resumption, before a 10th Faughs single arrived through the spirited Prendergast.
While a well-worked Sean O’Keefe point kept O’Toole’s in control, Faughs were offered a lifeline in the 39th-minute. A foul on Stephen Fallon led to the awarding of a penalty, which O’Mahoney stepped forward to take.
Yet, his resulting strike was brilliantly turned away by veteran netminder Brendan McLoughlin - a past star in the Sky Blue of Dublin. After Kimmage and Fallon proceeded to trade scores, Faughs lost O’Mahoney to a red card on 43 minutes.
However, the sides were quickly evened up when Mulligan was dismissed for a second yellow card offence. Despite losing out on a numerical advantage, O’Toole’s added points from Conor Carton (two) and O’Meara in another dominant spell.
Faughs midfielder Jake Moore pointed with nine minutes of normal time remaining, but O’Toole’s held a seemingly unassailable cushion - 0-23 to 0-12 - at this stage in the tie.
Eager to finish on a high, O’Toole’s once again found the range via the impressive duo of Conor Carton and Concarr (two). Faughs continued to pursue scores and a Peter Shaw point was supplemented by a O’Shea major - after McKenna’s goal-bound free had ricocheted into his path.
They ultimately came off second best on the night, though, and will now seek a return to form at home to Lucan Sarsfields on Sunday week. O’Toole’s, on the other hand, can embark on a local trip to St Vincent’s with renewed vigour.
Meanwhile, Crumlin bounced back from a recent heavy defeat to Ballyboden St Enda’s by overcoming St Brigid’s on a scoreline of 2-15 to 2-14 at Pearse Park on Tuesday evening.
Scorers - O’Toole’s: Conor Carton (3f), David Concarr 0-7 each, Ciaran Kimmage 0-4, Christy Mulligan, Peadar Carton 0-3 each, Sean O’Keefe, Gerald O’Meara 0-1 each. Faughs: Conor O’Shea 1-1, Emmet McKenna (2f, 1 ’65’), Karl O’Mahoney (2f) 0-3 each, John Prendergast 0-2, Jake Moore, Ciaran Brady, Stephen Fallon, Peter Shaw 0-1 each.
O’TOOLE’S: Brendan McLoughlin; Graham Dinh, Eoghan Darcy, Ciaran Gethings; Christy Mulligan, Michael Carton, Richie Walker; Conor Carton, Aaron Lynch; David Concarr, Peadar Carton, Ciaran Kimmage; Sean O’Keefe, Cian Wilson, Gerald O’Meara. Subs: Danny Webster for Wilson (40), Paul Donoghue for O’Keefe (51).
FAUGHS: Liam Gleeson; Ciaran Nagle, Emmet McKenna, Stephen Casey; Neil Bennett, John Prendergast, Colin Devane; Jack McVeigh, Jake Moore; Conor O’Shea, Ciaran Brady, Karl O’Mahoney; Stephen Fallon, Peter Shaw, Ruaidhri Crowley. Subs: Adam Hogan for McVeigh (43), Niall Cunningham for Crowley (49).
Referee: Jason Buckley (Setanta).