DUBLIN JUNIOR ‘B’ HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
NAOMH MAUR: 2-21
OLAN Kelleher delivered an outstanding performance at Parnell Park last Saturday, as Naomh Maur secured the Dublin Junior ‘B’ Hurling Championship title with a magnificent final victory over Faughs.
After losing out to St Vincent’s in last year’s decider, Faughs were eager to go one better in 2017. However, with Kelleher in imperious form, it was the Rush outfit who triumphed at the Donnycarney venue.
Maur’s were defeated by Faughs at the semi-final stage of last year’s competition, but with Dublin senior panellist Eoghan Conroy in their starting line-up, they enjoyed a whirlwind opening to their latest meeting.
With just 15 seconds gone on the clock, Kelleher found himself through on goal, and he fired calmly beyond the reach of Faughs netminder Shane Curley. This was swiftly followed by a point from Conroy, and by the fourth minute of the play, every member of the Maur’s full-forward line had added their name to the scoresheet. Corner-forward Conor Donegal secured a second goal for the northsiders in clinical style, and though the game was still in its infancy, Faughs were staring into a sizeable deficit.
They finally got their account up and running with back-to-back scores from David Donohue and Darragh O’Shea, but as the first-quarter developed, a rampant Maur’s continued to make significant attacking inroads against their Wellington Lane counterparts.
Kelleher was making a huge impact for his side, and his subsequent brace of scores from play was supplemented by efforts from Donegan and half-forward Danny Butterly (free). Faughs would eventually respond with an Ed Fitzgerald point, before additional unanswered scores courtesy of Kelleher (two) and Craig Harford helped Maur’s to establish a 2-8 to 0-3 lead on 17 minutes.
It was beginning to look quite ominous for Faughs, but to their credit, they soon worked their way back into contention with a strong purple patch. David Donohue split the posts from the left-hand touchline, and also converted a tricky free from a distance of 30 metres.
A long-range point followed from Trevor Donohue, before Faughs were awarded a penalty in the 27th-minute. Full-forward Ciaran O’Shea (who was the scorer-in-chief during their semi-final win over Craobh Chiarain) was fouled at the end of a strong run, and David Donohue dispatched the resulting set-piece to the back of the Maur’s net.
This put Dermot Crowe’s charges under sustained pressure for the first time, but thanks to points from Kelleher and Donegan, they still held a commanding 2-10 to 1-6 interval cushion. Faughs could take some encouragement from the way they grew into the action as the opening half wore on, however, and despite conceding early second period points to Kelleher and Harford, they were able to cut the gap with three points in succession.
David Donohue was leading the way for the Templeogue men, and his 0-2 salvo was complimented by Ed Fitzgerald’s second of the proceedings. Maur’s had already introduced three substitutes by this stage, and first-half replacement Kevin O’Connor was on target just before a third successful free from Kelleher.
Yet, Faughs weren’t to be dismissed lightly, and with 14 minutes of normal time remaining, just four points (2-14 to 1-13) separated the sides. Timmy Murnane joined half-back partner O’Shea in raising a white flag, and David Donohue once again showed his worth by registering 0-3 without reply.
Maur’s didn’t panic, though, and another scoring blitz by the maroon and gold side placed the outcome beyond any doubt. Conroy featured for the Sky Blues when they entertained Kilkenny at the same venue in the Allianz League back in March, and he followed up another Kelleher brace with a sublime strike between the posts.
Kelleher increased his already impressive personal haul with points in the 54th and 55th minutes, while wing-back Joe Gleeson became the seventh different scorer for Maur’s just before the hour mark.
Faughs finally replied through David Donohue, but after the industrious Donegan found the target in stoppage-time, Maur’s finished with all of 10 points to spare.
Scorers - Naomh Maur: Olan Kelleher 1-11 (0-5f, 0-1 ’65’), Conor Donegan 1-3, Craig Harford, Eoghan Conroy 0-2 each, Danny Butterly, Joe Gleeson, Kevin O’Connor 0-1 each. Faughs: David Donohue 1-9 (1-0 pen, 0-5f), Ed Fitzgerald 0-2, Timmy Murnane, Darragh O’Shea, Trevor Donohue 0-1 each.
NAOMH MAUR: Jack Higgins; Phil Kavanagh, Kevin Reade, Luke Hosford; Tom O’Neill, Martin Mulvey, Joe Gleeson; Paul McAllister, Alex Benson; Glenn Weldon, Craig Harford, Danny Butterly; Conor Donegan, Olan Kelleher, Eoghan Conroy. Subs: Kevin O’Connor for Weldon (22), Collie Halpin for Benson (h-t), Cathal Niall for McAllister (37), Maccullin Skelly for Harford (52), Johnny McNamara for Butterly (54).
FAUGHS: Shane Curley; Karol O’Brien, Shane O’Dea, Donal Murnane; Timmy Murnane, Aaron Ryan, Darragh O’Shea; John Hanney, Ed Fitzgerald; Colin Brew, David Donohue, Tadgh Clifford; Trevor Donohue, Ciaran O’Shea, Killian Prendergast. Subs: Michael Saunders for Prendergast (40).
Referee: Tom Tansey (St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh).
By Daire Walsh