Cian points way to 'C' glory for Raheny
Goals in either half by Donal Ryan proved pivotal as Raheny withstood a brave St Brendan's challenge to claim the Dublin Junior 'C' Hurling Championship title by 2-14 to 1-13 at O'Toole Park last Sunday afternoon.
Raheny looked well set as they enjoyed a four point lead at the interval but a stunning third quarter by St Brendan's turned the game on its head before the winners restored their control to eventually prevail after a titanic tussle.
Central to Raheny's victory was the free-taking excellence of Cian Daly, with the wing-forward accruing ten crucial points from placed balls to ensure that his side remained a scoring threat throughout while the poaching skills of Ryan handed Raheny momentum at vital stages of the contest.
St Brendan's will rightly feel that they enjoyed sufficient chances to claim the title themselves but after they played superbly immediately after the break to take control of the contest, some defensive lapses in concentration ultimately proved their undoing.
Both teams took time to settle initially with scores from play at a premium as Raheny spurned a number of chances to open the scoring before John McInerney landed the first point of the game when converting a long-distance free in the 5th minute.
A second point for St Brendan's arrived three minutes later, this time from the stick of Shane Foley before Daly eventually got Raheny off the mark as he pointed a 10th minute free.
Despite Foley restoring his side's two point advantage, Daly was beginning to find his range as both sides were correctly punished for some ill-disciplined tackling in the early stages.
The first score from play arrived as late as the 15th minute when Sham Harrington drove through the heart of the Raheny defence before splitting the posts from forty metres.
Crucially, Raheny responded in the best possible manner as Ryan's jinking run culminated in an innocuous looking shot that deceived Richie Barry in the St Brendan's goal for the game's first major on 17 minutes.
St Brendan's looked the more convincing outfit at this stage with Stephen Brophy showing well at centre-back and they restored parity by the 24th minute following well-worked scores by Foley and full-forward Kevin Meaney.
However, they struggled for the remainder of the half with Ronan Barrett regaining the advantage for Raheny following a smart pass from Fergal Smyth before Daly added three late frees to secure a 1-8 to 0-7 interval lead for the Dublin 5 outfit. Any thought that the four point margin would prove sufficient to quell a St Brendan's comeback were immediately dispelled after the break as Raheny struggled to hold their vibrant opponents in the third quarter.
McInerney added an excellent point from play in the 33rd minute and the initiative switched completely to St Brendan's as Foley's two frees were sandwiched by Eddie Aherne's smart score.
A brilliant point by McInerney maintained that momentum and despite the same player hitting a 40th minute penalty wide, the classy forward benefited from some increasingly lax Raheny defending to propel his team into a two point lead.
Naturally, Daly came to his side's rescue, halting the slide with another free in the 42nd minute and the teams were level a minute later when centre-back Kevin Walsh added a glorious point from distance for Raheny.
The game-defining score arrived at the end of the third quarter as Ryan's wonderful pick-up was matched by an audacious flick with the outside of the boot that nestled in the far corner of Barry's net for Raheny's second goal of the game.
With Darragh Pelly becoming progressively influential, Raheny built on their lead through three points by Daly and a cracking score from wing-back Jack Hanley to seemingly build an impregnable lead with five minutes remaining.
However, a grandstand finish was prompted by McInerney's goal from a free in the 56th minute but Steve Furton's superb save from a penalty a minute later ensured Raheny would hang on, to the delight of team manager Shane Walsh.
Scorers: Raheny: C Daly 0-11 (10f), D Ryan 2-0, K Welsh, J Hanley, R Farrell 0-1 each; St Brendan's: J McInerney 1-4 (1-1 f), S Foley 0-6 (5f), S Harrington, E Aherne, K Meaney 0-1 each.
Raheny: S Furtan; T Hamill, C Groves, B Fogarty; C Donegan, K Welsh, J Hanley; C Gillen, J Coughlan; C Daly, R Farrell, D Pelly; D Ryan, S Carr, F Smyth. Subs: J Ryan for Smyth (half-time), N Sullivan for Farrell (42), E Mullane for Fogarty (53).
St Brendan's: R Barry; C O'Meara, M Kinsella, O Daly; M Kelly, S Brophy, J Walsh; T Purtill, E Kelly; W Harrington, S Foley, S Harrington; E Aherne, K Meaney, J McInerney. Subs: S Muldoon for Kelly (half-time), G Muldoon for Aherne (52).
Mentors: Raheny: Shane Walsh, Kevin Broderick St Brendan's: Cian Walsh, John Brennan, Ollie Flynn.
Referee: Fergus McGreevey (St Oliver Plunkett's/ER)
Wides: Raheny 8 (6+2) St Brendan's: 6 (2+4)
Conditions: Glorious sunshine in Crumlin.
Player of the Game: Cian Daly (Raheny)