St Sylvester’s 1-15 Clanna Gael Fontenoy 1-4
SUPERSONIC Syls — stylish, slick and sure as they became the Ayrfield aristocrats — Dublin Junior ‘A’ Hurling champions by a distance. A happy journey home to Malahide. . . . and into the Intermediate Championship.
Lovely hurling, and a lovely night for it on Blunden Drive. A decent enough crowd at the O’Toole’s HQ and no argument at the end of it.
Syls in charge from pillar to post. They were solid in all departments, especially at the back.
Clanns had an accomplished half-back-line. Their midfield worked hard, but in attack, there was hardly a crumb to be found.
The Sylvester’s defence was just too solid. And they have one of the most experienced goalkeepers in the business, Hilary Murray-Hession.
Hilary’s eyes never left the sliotar all evening. He was so accomplished under the dropping ball, and his clearances were spot on.
Right corner-forward, Cormac Connolly, did well for the Ringsend club. He got a nice collection of tidy points.
His best came seven minutes into the second half. Way out on the touchline, he controlled the ball sweetly with his first touch before turning and lofting over the black spot.
Clanns could have done with a few more like that. They had no complaints at the end.
“Sylvester’s were the superior team,” noted joint mentor, Robert McCarthy. “We are a young side and it was a good experience to have reached the final. Playing in games like that is what it’s all about and we’ll learn from it.”
Leaving the venue to head onto the Malahide Road, the Sylvester’s convoy were sounding their horns in unison. Journey’s end had brought much satisfaction.
“A serious effort went into this. The lads worked hard all year,” reflected co-manager, Padraic Duffy, who came off the bench late on. “Last year we lost in the semi-final by a point. It was a game we should never have lost. It was our aim to make up for that and we are delighted that we are now back in the Intermediate Championship.
“It’s been three years since we were last there, and we intend to build on this now. We have plenty of young players coming though and we have experience too, so there’s a good mix there.”
Referee, Harry Lambe, kept the river flowing. No fuss. He used all his vast experience. He let them get on with it. And for the most part, he could have lent his whistle to Roger Whittaker.
Syls were 10 points to one ahead at the break. One of those points could be classed as an ‘own point’ when Colm O’Connor’s sideline from the right flew over the bar off a Clanns helmet.
Sylvester’s possessed some slick forwards. Among them were David Keogh, Tom Reddy and their chief teller, Martin Ormonde, the ideal target man.
Centre half-forward, Conor McCafferty, also showed guile. In the first seconds he rocked the Clanns bar with an absolute belter.
The sliotar was travelling so fast that it could well have ended up having its supper down in Parnell Park.
It was Ormonde who got the Sylvester’s goal in the 50th minute when his free from the left drifted and dipped all the way into the far corner.
Their night’s work had been done at that stage.
Well before the finish, Clanns were lofting in frees short in the hope of nicking a goal. On the hour it worked as John O’Leary’s strike met a deflection to creep just inside the right-hand post.
Gerry Harrington came out with the Cup. It was going to be a long weekend in the Tidy Town.