Craobh Chiaráin 2-10
St Vincent’s 0-11
ANOTHER famous win for the Craobh … and, down the years, there have been a few of those. Their latest triumph in Parnell Park last night brings them into the semi-final of the Evening Herald Dublin Senior Hurling Championship.
They set the tempo from the start, and they never relented. At times, St Vincent’s couldn’t breathe. Frequently, there were two and three Craobh players surrounding a Vincent’s player anytime he tried to gather possession. Chiarain’s defending was just outstanding. There was such a zest to their work. Centre half-back, Derek O’Reilly, delivered a master class. How long has he been doing that?
He was cleaning up everything except the kitchen sink. Time and again, he was first to the sliotar to send another telling clearance on its way. Deep in the second half, in front of the main stand, his quick hands and feet completed another tidy piece of business. And as he did so, the cheers rose to acclaim him.
Alan McCrabbe was also at the heart of the win. He was always on the toes and his striking was first class. The Marino men were never given a clear sight of the goal. Cathal Billings, Ronan Fallon and Tomas McGrane represented their best chance of a revival.
But there was just no matching the Craobh conviction. They gave the feeling that last year’s quarter-final defeat to Crumlin still hurt. There was never going to be a repeat of that disappointment here. And they had 2-7 to 0-6 in the bank at half-time.
Craobh raced into a four-point lead attacking the score-board end in the first 10 minutes. McCrabbe cracked in their opening goal to the right corner in the 22nd minute. The second from Peter O’Boyle, in first half injury-time, was even better. O’Boyle showed Bolt-like pace down the left before giving a fair impression of Robin Hood.
Chiarain’s could have had another goal or two only for Vincent’s goalie, David Feehan. He made one fabulous first-half stop. Vincent’s toiled hard to get back in the game on the restart. They didn’t lack possession, but the brick wall wasn’t budging. The nearest they got was a four-point margin, yet the goal they craved never looked likely.
Once again, Craobh have timed their Championship run to perfection. And on this evidence, they’ll be a match for all-comers.
Scorers — Craobh Chiaráin: A McCrabbe 1-7 (0-2f, 0-2 65), P O’Boyle 1-0, K Warren, D Keane, C English 0-1 each. St Vincent’s: T McGrane 0-7 (6f), C Billings, D Qualter, C McBride, N Bishop 0-1 each.
Craobh Chiaráin: S Chester; Damien O’Reilly, E Farrell, D Shanley; D Kelly, Derek O’Reilly, G Kelly; J McGuirk, K Elliott; P O’Boyle, A McCrabbe, S McDonald; D Keane, G Ennis, K Warren. Subs: C English for Keane (38); D Kirwan for Shanley (48); F Usanga for Ennis (52); R Mahon for McDonald (57); J Ryan for English (61).
St Vincent’s: D Feehan; R Traynor, G Cullinan, R Drumgoole; S O’Neill, C Billings, W Lowry; C Meehan, D Qualter; D Connolly, R Fallon, T McGrane; D Higgins, T Russell, D Russell. Subs: C McBride for Higgins; M Chawke for O’Neill; N Bishop for Lowry; C Fallon for D Russell.
Referee: D O’Donovan (St Mark’s)