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Monday 5 December 2016

Plunkett's secure Leinster glory with great authority

leinster shl division 4 final

St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh were crowned the Leinster Hurling League Division 4 champions after defeating Leixlip by 1-14 to 0-9 in O'Moore Park, Portlaoise last Sunday lunchtime.

The AHL4 side played against the breeze in the first-half and they would have been delighted to trail by just 0-8 to 0-5 at the break.

Their confidence proved well-placed in the second-half as they assumed complete control of the decider, restricting the Kildare outfit to just a solitary point after the turnaround.

"It is a great achievement for all the players involved on the panel," said Plunkett's manager Derek Brennan.

"We were very strong all through the game and the impact of all our substitutes was very positive and allowed us to dominate in the second-half," he added.

Seán Beecher's introduction at half-time proved telling for Plunkett's and there were also noteworthy contributions from Mike Malone, Diarmuid McGrath and Ian Connaughton. Of equal importance was the influence that Stuart Mullen exerted on the tie as the sharp-shooter moved from his customary full-forward position to midfield and his ability to pick out passes helped Plunkett's to trim their arrears and eventually assume the upperhand of this provincial decider.

Mullen chipped in with his usual quota of fine scores and he received valuable support in the scoring stakes from both Brendan Bennett and Eoghan Whelan.

At the opposite end of the field, the Navan Road side were in excellent form at the back with Barry Hallihan and Cormac Finn typifying their solidity while Mick Munnelly was hugely influential at centre-back.

In midfield, Daniel Bagnall and Seamus O'Connor worked tirelessly to exert a stranglehold on their direct opponents and their efforts were rewarded as McGrath netted five minutes from time following great work from Malone.

The win completed another success after three leagues and three championships that have been secured by this particular side over the past five years.

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