Ó Ruairc haul kills off Commercials threat
Late points from Colm Ó Ruairc saw Setanta deservedly claim the Dublin Junior 'E' Hurling Championship title following their nerve-jangling two-point victory over a brave Commercials at O'Toole Park last Saturday afternoon.
Not satisfied with managing the Ballymun club to the Dublin Senior 'B' final earlier this month and subsequent promotion to Senior A Status for 2015, Ó Ruairc's contribution on the field proved decisive as Setanta finished strongly to claim a well-merited success.
Commercials will rue not building on a positive display in the opening-half that saw the Rathcoole outfit on level terms despite playing into the teeth of a stiff breeze.
However, their failure to build on that solid platform will add frustration to their obvious disappointment with some questionable decisions in the final stages undermining their title ambitions.
Despite falling behind to an excellent score by Séamus Ó Murchú in the third minute, Commercials could feel justifiably pleased with their start as they comfortably repelled most Setanta attacks with a large degree of comfort.
A free from Ó Ruairc three minutes later doubled Setanta's advantage but chances were at a premium initially as Commercials used Seán Power as a defensive sweeper to telling effect, cutting out a large degree of ball in the process.
Slowly but surely, they presented an attacking threat of their own and they finally opened their account at the end of the first quarter through a John Morris free.
Although Eoghan Mac Gib restored his side's two-point lead soon after, Setanta found themselves behind in the 18th minute as Fionn Claffey gathered possession before releasing the in-rushing Ken Linnane for a superb finish into the top right-hand corner of Seoirse Ó hEára's goal.
If Ó hEára was blameless for that goal, he was slightly more culpable three minutes later when allowing Claffey to block his attempted clearance to push Commercials three points clear.
Crucially, Ó Ruairc began to influence matters as the half progressed and after a brace of long-range frees had trimmed his side's deficit, further scores from the lively Darren Ó Gáibhín and Ó Ruairc ensured parity on a 2-2 to 0-8 scoreline at the break.
Setanta's defence impressed after the turnaround with Eric Mac an Eala, Gearóid Mac Donnchaidh, Glen Eribo and the skilful Stiofán Mac Eochaidh to the fore and they inched ahead through a 37th-minute score from Micheál Mac Seincín.
Although the impressive Oisín Mac Aodhagáin replied for Commercials, Setanta played the more compelling hurling in the third quarter and deservedly pulled two points clear by the 42nd minute after successive scores from Brian Ó Lochlainn and Ó Ruairc.
However, Mac Aodhagáin proved hugely influential for the ensuing 10 minutes, striking two excellent points from play in addition to his second free of the afternoon while Seán Power's superb score looked to have handed Commercials a marked advantage.
To their credit, Setanta kept their composure despite the concession of those scores with captain Micheál Ó Ceallaigh a driving force in the middle third as another Ó Ruairc free reduced their arrears in the 54th minute.
With both sides visibly tiring, the error count increased on both sides but the numerous turnovers only added to the excitement as Ó Ruairc nervelessly converted his seventh free of the day two minutes later to ensure a dramatic finale.
Mac Aodhagáin's bravery in electing to go for goal when handed a close-in free was not rewarded with his powerful drive veering narrowly wide of the upright while Setanta took full advantage as Ó Ruairc added a wonderful point from play as we entered injury-time restore their lead.
A generous amount of injury time afforded Commercials sufficient time to force extra-time but it proved fitting that Ó Ruairc should land the insurance score with his 10th point of the hour ensuring another landmark win for Setanta.
Scorers - Setanta: C Ó Ruairc 0-10 (8f); M Mac Seincín, B Ó Lochlainn, E Mac Gib, S Ó Murchú, D Ó Gáibhín 0-1 each. Commercials: O Mac Aodhagáin 0-4 (2f); K Linnane, F Claffey 1-0 each; S Power, J Morris (f), J Cullinane 0-1 each.
Setanta: S Ó hEára; E Mac an Eala, G Mac Donnchaidh, A De Creag; P Ó Riain, G Eribo, S Mac Eochaidh; M Mac Seincín, M Ó Ceallaigh; S Ó Murchú, C Ó Ruairc, D Ó Gáibhín; S Ó hEodhsa, E Mac Gib, B Ó Lochlainn. Subs: C Mac Thomáis for De Creag (half-time), S Ó Doibhlin for Ó Gáibhín (51), D Hart for Ó Riain (56), T Mac Íomhair for Mac Gib (58).
Commercials: A Kenny; D Madden, C Walsh, P Scanlan; C Ó hÁilín, G Walsh, A Watters; O Mac Aodhagáin, K Linnane; J Furey, J Cullinane, J Morris; F Mac Aodhagáin, F Claffey, S Power. Subs: N Carroll for F Mac Aodhagáin (half-time), A Haggerty for Morris (40), C Conlon for Watters (60).
Mentors - Setanta: John Conaty, Mícheál Ó Muireagáin, Pádraig Ó Maoilstéighe. Commercials: Fionn Mac Aodhagáin, James Watters, John Morris.
Ref: Shay Hurson (Lucan Sarsfields).
Wides - Setanta: 7 (4+3); Commercials: 6 (3+3).
Conditions: Brief showers and breezy enough.
Player of the Game: Colm Ó Ruairc (Setanta).