ST SYLVESTER’S 2-11
ROUND TOWER (C) 1-10
TWO old friends met along the Parnell Park sideline on Saturday evening. Both were wearing bainisteoirs bibs.
Emmet Carroll, the Boden Bolt, played for Dublin when Tommy Naughton was in charge of the Dubs. Emmet is making a good fist of his entry into management as Clondalkin’s Tower men can look forward to life in the Senior B ranks next season.
But it was Tommy who went home with the six numbers as Syls emerged from a pulsating contest that had the big crowd on the edge of their toes.
Syls had the sharper start, but Tower stormed back after the Kit Kats. It made for a show-stopper of a second half.
And it was only deep in injury-time when the Super Syls could at last relax as the sun began to dip in Donnycarney.
“The lads showed unbelievable courage,” said Tommy. “They went behind, but they still came back. This success is no more than they deserved.”
Tommy feels the echo of this triumph will linger long into the future. “It’s fantastic for the club. And the good thing is that the hurlers are coming through from the underage structure. The club has the hurlers to stay at senior level. Getting out of Division 3 is another day’s work.”
The ex-Dublin boss had kind words for his former pupil. “Emmet has done a wonderful job at Tower’s. Both Syls and Tower’s are now senior. Senior hurling is where you want to be. It’s up to both clubs now to make the best of it.”
Sylvester’s full-forward Martin Ormonde was central to the success. It wasn’t just his points. It was more his general attitude and application. He was always showing for the sliotar. A genuine leader. Midway in the second period, he went deep, grabbed the sliotar by the scruff of the neck and took a fabulous point into the scoreboard end.
The Saints centre-half-back, Daire O’Flaherty, was also a commanding figure, and just when they needed a lift most, Gareth McGrath came off the bench to provide it. And minding the gates of the Malahide Castle was one of the finest and most dedicated ‘keepers on the circuit, Hilary Murray-Hession, Dublin’s Peter Pan of hurling. In front of him stood full-back Ian McCafferty, a man who has given 20 years to the side.
The Hoops were behind by 1-7 to 0-2 at the interval, a steep enough climb.
Eoin Ryan sparked their recovery effort. And they dominated much of the second period. Tower went into the lead for the first time with 10 minutes left, and Syls looked in trouble.
Tower were pouring forward at that stage, but McGrath’s scrambled goal, four minutes from time, proved decisive. And it was Ormonde who ticked on two frees.
Sylvester’s opening goal came from O’Flaherty. He aimed a long-distance 18th-minute free in towards the kitchen. The sliotar skipped past everybody and ended up in the sack.
Ryan’s goal for Tower’s was a bit special. It came eight minutes into the restart. He went off on a blistering run, fending off numerous challenges before, eventually, he, one-handed, batted in the ball.
Tower’s grew in stature after that. And they were level in the 48th minute. Alex Darbey’s point then nudged them in front. The volume on Clondalkin’s Call was raised considerably.
But Syls hung in, defending bravely and changing the climate with McGrath’s golden goal. Out by the coast, hurling was coming home. And the three wise men, Tommy Naughton, Leonard O’Carroll and Pat Keogh were given the freedom of Malahide.
– Niall Scully