Setanta Colm Breathnach gets ahead of Whitehall Colmcille Cormac Costello. Photo: Garrett White
Setanta 2-12 Whitehall Colmcille 2-11
A LAST-GASP free from Lúcás Ó Ceallaigh sealed a dramatic comeback as Setanta clinched the Dublin Intermediate Hurling Championship final following their one-point win over Whitehall Colmcille at Parnell Park last Saturday afternoon.
Setanta trailed by seven points as the game entered injury-time but a stunning conclusion in which they accrued 2-2 in the space of five minutes turned the game on its head, given Whitehall’s dominance for the large part.
It was Fiontán Mac Gib who handed Setanta a lifeline when reacting quickest to net after Darren Renihan’s free had been saved and another Renihan free whittled Whitehall’s lead to three points with five minutes of added time played.
There was a sense of inevitability about what followed with Ó Ceallaigh using his scorching pace to race clear down the right and his low finish beyond Brian Fox brought the sides level with Colmcille looking to regroup for extra-time.
Sadly, from their perspective, that opportunity never arose with Ó Ceallaigh coolly slotting over from forty metres following an infringement on Jason Ó Buachalla, completing a compelling finale to a high-quality contest.
Such drama seemed unlikely for much of the game as Whitehall looked far sharper from the opening whistle and although they fell behind in the 2nd minute to an Ó Ceallaigh free, they soon restored parity courtesy of Eoghan O’Donnell.
Stephen Walsh and Donal Breathnach traded scores as the half progressed with Colmcille enjoying a slight advantage with John Bridgeman picking up a wealth of ball in the middle third.
After Dara De Búrca had levelled matters for Setanta in the 16th minute, Bridgeman inadvertently registered the game’s opening goal when his lengthy delivery from midfield landed untouched into the net, with Ciarán O’Connor inconveniencing the Setanta defence.
To their ultimate cost, Whitehall racked up a series of wides and although O’Donnell added another excellent point approaching the break, Seán Ó Riain popped over the score of the game with an audacious run and shot in injury time to reduce his side’s arrears to just two points (0-7 to 1-6) by the interval.
Despite playing against the breeze after the turnaround, it was Whitehall who resumed in the ascendancy with Seán Gray converting a 65 in the 32nd minute before their lead was increased further two minutes later.
Gray was once again spot on, with his powerful low penalty down the middle exacting full retribution after O’Donnell was clumsily tripped as he looked to race through on goal. The impressive Bridgeman added a point soon after as Whitehall looked in complete control thanks to the defensive efforts of Seán Scallan, Jamie O’Brien and Conor O’Neill.
Ó Ceallaigh kept chipping away from placed balls as Setanta continued to hurl with great discipline and Dean Memery, Colm Breathnach and Seán MacDiarmada began to influence the game with greater authority.
Given their lead, it was of scant surprise to see Whitehall retreat towards their own goal and they paid the ultimate price as that late Setanta flourish at the death prompted unbridled jubilation among the Poppintree faithful.