herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

NA FIANNA SHADE SAINTS BY POINT

Na Fianna 2-9 St Peregrine's1-11

GOING up the majestic Griffith Avenue, Louis Armstrong came on the radio singing 'What A Wonderful World.'

On the Mobhi Road, both sides were on the pitch doing their sound checks.

Na Fianna manager, Colum King, spent 17 years playing senior hurling for the club.

His father, Paddy, was a founder member of Na Fianna. And Colum would play for Dublin.

A Boggan Boy. You could just imagine Jimmy leaning over the railings in Glasnevin on Saturday evening talking about the great Jimmy Doyle.

Tom Ryan was in the building. He was a central figure in the Dublin Poc Fada.

Many of these lads would have impressed on Howth Hill.

They weren't afraid to have a pop from distance.

The tempo was sharp. The wrists were as soft as putty.

Some of the fielding came from the top floor. And the first touch was golden.

The result was only the small print.

For much of the way, it looked like Peregrine's were going to prevail. But two late goals decided it. The hour produced so many highlights. There were polished Peregrine's performers in Shane Sweeney, their accomplished defender and captain.

Eoin Comerford excelled at right half-back. Neil McCarthy is a cultured centre half-back. He had to leave the stage ten minutes into the second half with a hand injury.

Cillian Byrnes and Dave McGovern toiled to good effect in the engine room, while Colm Foley's pace and accuracy shone in attack.

Colm is a hurley maker (65hurls.com). And on this enchanting evening, he was making the timber talk.

Na Fianna's Cian Reilly had a splendid match. So did young Mark Sewell alongside him in defence.

The Baxter brothers, Conor and Andy, made a notable contribution, while Andy Flaherty flourished.

Peregrine's scored their goal on 20 minutes at the Ballymun end as

Comerford found Colm Foley, and his stringing shot made the net dance.

Earlier, Mark Sweeney had thundered the sliotar against the home bar.

McGovern's point was the pick of the crop. He was out on the left, and under pressure, but his strike still found the sky-light.

The nimble feet of Peadar ó Laoire were also making an impact. He was denied a goal just before the tea by the Blakestown number one, Ciaran O'Sullivan.

Peregrine's started the second half like Jack Hobbs. They had points from Declan Cody, Colm Foley and Mark Sweeney. But Na Fianna kept toiling away, helped by clever use of the bench.

A vital goal came six minutes from time. Flaherty's long delivery landed right at the Peregrine's kitchen door.

Luke Fenton got a touch on it, and Hugh Fenlon completed the job.

Cillian Byrnes and Mark Sweeney responded with points for Peregrine's. It looked like they would be enough to get the win.

But two minutes into stoppage time, Fenlon was fouled, and a penalty was awarded.

Up stepped Flaherty. A one-on-one with O'Sullivan.

Flaherty's form suggested that he wouldn't miss. He didn't.

p SCORERS - NA FIANNA: A Flaherty 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-2f, 0-1 65), H Fenlon 1-0, P ó Laoire 0-2 (1f), E Campbell, M O'Brien, E O'Leary 0-1 each. ST PEREGRINE'S: C Foley 1-2 (0-1f), C Byrnes 0-2 (2f), D McGovern, M Sweeney 0-2 each, E Comerford, B Kelleher, D Cody 0-1 each.

p NA FIANNA: J Walsh; C Reilly, L Burns, M Sewell; C Healy, E Cassidy, C Baxter; A Flaherty, A Baxter; P ó Laoire, E Campbell, M O'Brien; D Brosnan, H Fenlon, E O'Leary. SUBS: D Kennedy for Brosnan (40); N Loftus for P ó Laoire (40); L Fenton for E ó Laoire (45).

p ST PEREGRINE'S: C O'Sullivan; S Sweeney, B Goodwin, K Foley; E Comerford, N McCarthy, J Fitzmaurice; C Byrnes, D McGovern; D Cawley, F Byrnes, B Kelleher; C Foley, D Cody, M Sweeney. SUB: A Larkin for McCarthy (Inj, 40).

p MENTORS - NA FIANNA: C King, N Loftus, F Gray, W Kelly. ST PEREGRINE'S: M McCarthy.

p REF: Colm McCarthy (St Vincent's).

p WIDES - NA FIANNA: 12 (4+8); ST PEREGRINE'S: 15 (8+7).

p CONDITIONS: Overcast, mild breeze rustling, nice surface, electronic scoreboard.

p PLAYER OF THE GAME: Cian Reilly (Na Fianna).

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