A SECOND Dublin hurling helping. There’s a few tasty treats on the menu. Cuala against Crokes looks the pick of them. Craobh came back from the dead to beat Cuala last time out. Was there ever a more resolute team than the Craobh? Even when the fat lady is doing her encore, they are still not beaten. There’s a magical mix in that Craobh concrete.
O’Toole’s against Lucan was among the highlight’s of the opening round. O’Toole’s look imposing on paper — and on grass. Faughs and Crumlin presented a thrilling draw. A derby delight. In it, the Crumlin keeper Kevin Byrne made two saves that will hardly be bettered in the campaign.
Also making the headlines were the wonderful deeds of skilled craftsmen like Stephen Loughlin of St Vincent’s, Kevin O’Loughlin of Crokes and Kevin Flynn, the lord of the Larriers.
Sean Lane’s Dublin South West look more than a useful unit. They gave Jude’s a run for it. But as the ink dried on all the action, Ballyboden St Enda’s still looked the team to beat. And that’s easier written than done.
St Patrick’s (P) v Na Fianna (Parnell Park, Saturday, 4.0)
SOLID start for St Patrick’s the last day. Barry O’Hanlon impressed. All teams would love to have Liam Rushe and Shane Stapleton on the roll. Robert Carson scored some nice points and Paul Faughnan ran till the cows came home, and went out again.
The Senior B champs are a young team, and this will be another significant date in their education. Na Fianna have also been progressing in recent years. In the first half especially against Ballyboden they played some crisp hurling. Tom Brady is a leader of men, and the dead-ball accuracy of Paul Carroll is great for the closing balance. Peadar O Laoire and Darragh O Maoileidigh are sharp finishers. Give them half a yard and they’ll make profit. A Pat’s win would put them within a fingertip of the quarter-final. It’s a game that the Mobhi men can’t afford to lose.
LAST TIME CHAMPIONS — St Patrick’s (P): Never. Na Fianna: Never.
LAST YEAR — St Patrick’s: Senior B champions. Na Fianna: Quarter-final.
THIS YEAR — St Patrick’s (P): Beat Dublin North East 2-14 to 0-10. Na Fianna: Lost to Ballyboden St Enda’s 2-24 to 0-15.
VERDICT: Na Fianna
Dublin North East v Ballyboden St Enda’s (Parnell Park, Saturday, 5.30)
THERE’S keen competition on the ‘Boden bench. Good news for manager, Liam Hogan. Against Na Fianna, all the ‘Boden subs fitted as snugly into the action as a pair of old socks.
Young Paul Ryan is a class act. A refined finisher in the best of company. ‘Boden looked eager and sharp. Dave Sweeney was his efficient self. His brother, Tim, also did well under the Donnycarney lights. Tim, Stephen Hiney and Stephen Perkins is an awesome-looking half-back line. Conal Keaney got a point. He’ll get more of them as the weeks go on. Simon Lambert was productive at full-forward and, overall, there was a good zest to the ‘Boden display. There will be no complacency for this one. The big queue for places will see to that. Denis Murphy is the North East manager. He did splendid work with the Fingal Fliers. His managerial cohorts are Peter Conway, Derry Murphy and Eoin Brennan.
The North East had abundant possession against Pat’s. They hit 11 first-half wides. There were positive offerings from Greg Bennett, Ross McGarry, Eoin Power, Stephen Kelly, Emmet McCabe, Paul McAllister and the Laois footballing Lion, Darren Rooney.
LAST TIME CHAMPIONS — Dublin North East: Never. Ballyboden St Enda’s: 2008.
LAST YEAR — Dublin North East: Didn’t make the quarter-finals. Ballyboden St Enda’s: Champions.
THIS YEAR — Dublin North East: Lost to St Patrick’s (P) 2-14 to 0-10. Ballyboden St Enda’s: Beat Na Fianna 2-24 to 0-15.
VERDICT: Ballyboden St Enda’s
Dublin North West v Craobh Chiarain (Parnell Park, Thursday, 6.45)
THE North West have a diligent management crew — Michael O’Riordan, Peter Williams, Mark Berrigan and Martin Troy. They have the experienced Lar Sweetman in goal. He had a busy time of it against Crokes. That was a big ask for the Regional side.
Crokes are among the Dublin hurling heavyweights. The Craobh also occupy a lofty perch. As the old saying goes, ‘You’ll never beat the Craobh.’ They were seven points down to Cuala in their opening fixture. For so much of the contest they looked out of it. They came back to win by one. That’s the Chiarain’s way. Deep desire always comes with the furniture.
Alan McCrabbe is central to their ambition. Davie Kelly and company hope he can banish his injury concerns. Derek O’Reilly had a big influence against Cuala. And the pace and power of Francis Usanga was more than effective. Dave Kirwan is a cultured defender, and Keith Elliott, Karl English and Peter O’Boyle can put chalk on the blackboard.
LAST TIME CHAMPIONS — Dublin North West: Never. Craobh Chiarain: 2006.
LAST YEAR — Dublin North West: Didn’t make the quarter-finals. Craobh Chiarain: Quarter-final.
THIS YEAR — Dublin North West: Lost to Kilmacud Crokes 3-19 to 1-7. Craobh Chiarain: Beat Cuala 4-8 to 2-13.
VERDICT: Craobh Chiarain
Cuala v Kilmacud Crokes (O’Toole Park, Sunday, 12.0)
WORTHY of its High Noon billing. Should be a good one. A big test for the Dalkey side. It could be the tie of the round. Crokes, last year’s finalists, will go in as favourites. They were in a positive mood against the North West. Kevin O’Loughlin had a party. He’s a superb hurler. Pace, panache and never far from the double top. Ger Cushe is the Crokes chief. Niall Corcoran is one of the Stillorgan pillars. Ross O’Carroll conducted most things against the North West. He created a tray of scores. Cuala almost toppled the Craobh. It was an effort that will fill the petrol tank. Eoghan Dunne was humming. And the industry of the Cuala forwards made life difficult for Craobh. Shane Murphy and David Treacy are cultured Cuala colts. Fintan O’Brien stands tall between the sticks, while Paul Schutte and Johnny Sheanon will also add to the lunchbox.
LAST TIME CHAMPIONS — Cuala: 1994. Kilmacud Crokes: 1985.
LAST YEAR — Cuala: Didn’t make the quarter-finals. Kilmacud Crokes: Final.
THIS YEAR — Cuala: Lost to Craobh Chiarain 4-8 to 2-13. Kilmacud Crokes: Beat Dublin North West 3-19 to 1-7.
VERDICT: Kilmacud Crokes
O’Toole’s v St Jude’s (Parnell Park, Thursday, 8.15)
THE Larriers against Lucan. A contender for match of the day. O’Toole’s took the points. Last season they lost to Lucan by a point in the quarter-final. O’Toole’s manager, Damien Hernon, couldn’t have asked for anymore last week. The Blunden Braves dug deep from the off. Philip Brennan was tremendous at the back. So were Kevin Ryan, Danny Webster and Ger O’Meara. Keith Wilson underlined that class is permanent in the number six shirt, and there’s also the considerable presence of Liam Ryan, Peadar Carton and Graham Morris.
RAISING THE FLAG
And then there was Flynner at his flying best, who had the umpires waving more flags than the Guard on the old Dublin to Cork train. Jude’s are not bad at raising the flags themselves. They got a nice little collection against the South West in O’Toole Park. Jude’s were dancing in the first half, even waltzing. Killian Nealon, Ronan Joyce, Sean O’Connor and Sam Lehane got some iced diamonds. But it was all about defending with grit in the second half. Ross O’Brien is a treasure and Danny Sutcliffe’s second half goal was worth it’s weight in gold. Jude’s have a nice, elegant style about them, while the experience of O’Toole’s just drips off the page.
LAST TIME CHAMPIONS — O’Toole’s 2002. St Jude’s: Never.
LAST YEAR — O’Toole’s: Quarter-final. St Jude’s: Didn’t make quarter-final.
THIS YEAR — O’Toole’s: Beat Lucan Sarsfields 1-21 to 1-16. St Jude’s: Beat Dublin South West 1-18 to 2-8.
Dublin South West v Lucan Sarsfields (O’Toole Park, Saturday, 4.0)
SEAN LANE runs the South West with Michael Moylan, Danny Murphy and Billy Keating. They can be well pleased with their second-half parade against Jude’s. It was an admirable recovery. That outing will have gelled the team. There was a genuine club spirit about them. John Kelly can make an impact and the dancing feet of David O’Callaghan always avoid the puddles. The South West came very near to singing in the rain against Jude’s. The McCann’s of Mark’s, Sean and Fran, weren’t slow with their donation, while there’s profit in the sticks of Eoin Moran and Danny Murphy. Pat Kearns is a respected ‘keeper, and the first touch of Maghnus Breathnach is still velvet. Lucan have come so close to sampling the fare in the big top. Semi-finalists for the Past two years. Tommy Somers is a jewel. He’ll pot them from anywhere. Mick May and Johnny McCaffrey inject energy, and there’s also the input of Peter Kelly, Aidan Roche and Padraig O’Driscoll. The South West will be looking to start well. It’s a tricky one for Lucan.
LAST TIME CHAMPIONS — Dublin South West: Never. Lucan Sarsfields: Never.
LAST YEAR — Dublin South West: Didn’t make quarter-finals. Lucan Sarsfields: Semi-final.
THIS YEAR — Dublin South West: Lost to St Jude’s 1-18 to 2-8. Lucan Sarsfields: Lost to O’Toole’s 1-21 to 1-16.
VERDICT: Lucan Sarsfields
Faughs v St Vincent’s (O’Toole Park, Saturday, 5.30)
A GOOD result for Faughs against Crumlin. They deserved it. They never stopped grafting. The commitment pleased John Thompson. More than most, John knows what’s required on the Championship road. Johnny Small is still delivering. He’s all about character. He missed a short putt early on against Crumlin. They are always easy from the couch. But like King Henry, he banished that from the jotter and played a considerable part in the noble draw where the sharp reflexes of Cathal Heavey earned 2-1. Dublin’s Maurice O’Brien was also at the heart of it all, as was Conor McCann and Mick Connolly. The Donohue brothers, goalkeeper Trevor and full-forward Paul, also took turns in emptying the dishwasher. The speedy Saint, Stephen Loughlin, will take watching. He hit 3-3 against the South East. And his quick feet took him to the North, South, East and West of Donnycarney.
Ronan Fallon was his measured self at centre half-forward. Ruairi Trainor, Damien Russell, Diarmuid Connolly, Declan Qualter and Carl Meehan have been there, done that. It will take a good side to beat the Vinnie’s. And Faughs are not a bad one.
LAST TIME CHAMPIONS — Faughs: 1999. St Vincent’s: 1993.
LAST YEAR — Faughs: Senior B Championship finalists. St Vincent’s: Quarter-final.
THIS YEAR — Faughs: Drew with Crumlin 3-10 to 2-13. St Vincent’s: Beat Dublin South East 4-16 to 1-6.
VERDICT: St Vincent’s
Dublin South East v Crumlin (O’Toole Park, Sunday, 10.30)
ANOTHER early call to the first tee for Crumlin. A splendid match against Faughs. A draw wasn’t the result they wanted, but there was much to build on. Young Peter Elliott was most accurate from the placed ball. Kevin Byrne made two terrific saves, and there’s always the calibre of fellas like Noel Purtell, Colm Hennebry, Jamie Maher, Ronan Potts and the Cullens. Every hurler could learn from Shane Martin. The sliotar rarely disobeys a Martin order. He makes the game look easy. Against Faughs he scored a goal that was as delicious as a Mr Kipling. Tommy Naughton knows a good hurler when he sees one. It’s good to see Tommy back rocking. He has wise company, Tom O’Mahony and Stephen McNamara. It was a difficult opening night against Vincent’s. But there were some good moments. Among those providing them were goalie, Shane O’Connor, Jack Gilligan and the always artful Fergal Chambers.
LAST TIME CHAMPIONS — Dublin South East: Never. Crumlin: 1979.
LAST YEAR — Dublin South East: Didn’t make quarter-final. Crumlin: Semi-final.
THIS YEAR — Dublin South East: Lost to St Vincent’s 4-16 to 1-6. Crumlin: Drew with Faughs 2-13 to 3-10.
Written by Niall Scully (Provided by www.herald.ie)