JUDE'S SET BAR
St Jude's7-14 Setanta3-8
St Jude's produced a dominant display to claim a deserved victory over a brave Setanta by 18 points in their Dublin Minor Hurling League Division 2 encounter at Tymon North last Sunday morning.
The contest was especially tight in the opening quarter but the hosts pulled clear towards the end of the first-half and despite their opponents never dropping their heads in the second-half, St Jude's were able to increase their advantage by the final whistle.
With Setanta only able to field 14 players, their inability to make changes proved to their detriment with the hosts able to freshen things up with the introduction of some talented substitutes.
The home side's supremacy was found down the spine of their team with centre-back Leigh Kelly delivering an inspirational and highly influential performance while Dublin minor football panellist was equally prominent at midfield for the winners.
In attack, Mark Maguire's class in the air was a source of great possession for the hosts with Maguire creating numerous chances in addition to chipping in with 2-2 over the hour.
In a contest reduced to fourteen players apiece at the start, it was the hosts who opened the scoring inside the first minute as inside forward John Carty converted a close-in free.
Both sides struggled for fluency in the early stages as they came to terms with the less than pristine playing surface but Setanta managed to restore parity in the seventh minute as Ryan Clarke tapped over a free of his own.
The reply from St Jude's was immediate with Maguire making a wonderful fetch before passing to Keith Elliot who fired over a tremendous score to regain his side's lead.
Two frees inside three minutes by Clarke allowed the visitors to enjoy a marginal lead by the 11th minute but the towering Hayes drew the hosts level two minutes later to reflect the evenness of the initial exchanges.
The Poppintree outfit, cheered on throughout by Under-21 star Seán Murray, looked to have landed a significant body blow at the end of the first quarter as the impressive Lee Whelan highlighted his predatory instincts when poking home after Jack Cadell had batted down Ryan Swift's lengthy delivery.
Swift added an excellent point soon after but Setanta's lead didn't last too long with full-forward Robert Fitzgerald kicking home in the 18th minute from Elliot's pass before Hayes restored the St Jude's lead with a well-taken goal two minutes later.
The visitors only managed one
further point through Clarke for the rest of the half while in contrast, the hosts were able to tag on points through Hayes and Stephen Dowling before Maguire's late goal ensured a 3-8 to 1-5 interval lead for the Templeogue club.
Any hopes of a comeback for Setanta were quickly dispelled in the second-half as substitute Eoghan O'Malley and Maguire netted inside the opening five minutes to leave St Jude's with an unassailable advantage.
Far from crumbling from this precarious position, Setanta showed admirable courage through the efforts of Swift, Troy McDaid, Nollaig Proudfoot and Sean Mulholland and they received some reward for their endeavours as Whelan scored an excellent point in the 38th minute to kick-start their second-half scoring.
An excellent solo goal from Kelly, in which he raced through the away defence pushed St Jude's further clear but Setanta replied in kind as Jordan Mac Brádaigh rattled the net with an excellent pulled finish in the 47th minute.
Mulholland then added a brace of sublime points from play to add further momentum to Setanta's play and Mac Brádaigh's second goal inside six minutes showed the visitors at their best.
However, their deficit proved too great to erase with Hayes and Maguire tagging on points at the opposite end before the contest ended on a particularity positive and high-class manner with Hayes rattling home a cracking finish two minutes from time to complete the scoring.
p Scorers - St Jude's: C Hayes 2-6 (0-4f), M Maguire 2-2, L Kelly, R Fitzgerald, E O'Malley 1-0 each, S Dowling 0-2, F Clarke, J Nugent, J Carty (f), K Elliot 0-1 each. Setanta: J Mac Brádaigh 2-0, R Clarke 0-4 (4f), L Whelan 1-1, S Mulholland 0-2, R Swift 0-1.
p St Jude's: J Cadell; M Healy, S Colgan, E Mulligan; D Costello, L Kelly, C Power; F Clarke, C Hayes; K Elliot, M Maguire, S Dowling; R Fitzgerald, J Carty. Subs: K Graham for Power (25), E O'Malley for Fitzgerald and R Wallace for Carty (half-time), G Ford for Healy (37), D Byrne for Dowling (40), J Nugent for Elliot (45), P Kavanagh for Mulligan (52).
p Setanta: E Mac Nichol; N Proudfoot, S Phipps, T McDaid; F O'Broin, S Mulholland, E Ó Muirí; R Swift, E Swan; N Whelan, C Fallon, J Mac Brádaigh; L Whelan, R Clarke. p Mentors - St Jude's: Robert Hardy, Graham Nolan, Martin Hayes, Nigel Bolger. Setanta: Billy Memery
p Referee: JC Ryan (St Mark's)
p Wides: St Jude's 14 (6+8) Setanta 4 (2+2)
p Conditions: A glorious sunny morning but pitch incredibly bobbly in patches.
p Player of the Game: Leigh Kelly (St Jude's)