Leinster Schools Juv Hurling A League SF: Dublin South edge tense derby
A BRACE of second-half goals from Shane Lawlor were crucial at O’Toole Park on Monday evening as Dublin South booked their place in the Leinster Schools Juvenile Hurling ‘A’ League decider following a thrilling encounter with rivals Dublin North.
Given their status as Group Two winners, South were slight favourites to progress, but playing with the aid of a strong breeze, North (who lost last year’s final to the same opponents) developed an early two-point advantage courtesy of scores from John Sammon (free) and Conor Berrigan.
South responded with similar efforts from Seán Kinsella and Matthew Dunne, but Martin Rabbitte’s charges quickly regained the ascendancy. Midfielder Conor Scully caught the eye with a terrific point, before a fortuitous strike from distance by centre-forward Mark Sweeney slipped through the grasp of South netminder Eddie Gibbons for the opening goal of the contest.
The combined forces of Dunne and Tom Ahearne helped Cian Waldron’s side to initially keep in touch, but thanks to an outstanding individual goal by North inside forward Conor Berrigan, as well as three points from centrefielder Liam Dunne, North held a 2-7 to 0-6 interval cushion.
The strength of the wind meant that South were still in contention, though, and in a fruitful 20-minute spell after the restart, they turned the tie on its head. North extended their lead to eight with a point from Craig Berrigan, but after Coláiste Eoin’s Pádraig Puirséil cancelled out this contribution, Lawlor’s first goal on 34 minutes kick-started a memorable revival.
Boosted by this three-pointer, South restored parity seven minutes later with two points apiece from Ahearne and Dunne, and when Lawlor followed up Ahearne’s 0-2 salvo with another magnificent goal 11 minutes from time, they looked set to saunter towards the finishing line.
North finally halted this scoring blitz with two close-range Sammon frees, however, and despite conceding another point to Lawlor, Scully’s 54th-minute deflected goal left North just two points in arrears.
Indeed, Sammon’s fourth score of the day did raise the possibility of extra-time, but Dublin South ultimately held out for a hard-earned success.
Scorers – Dublin South: S Lawlor 2-1, T Ahearne 0-7 (3f, 3 ‘65’), M Dunne 0-4, S Kinsella, P Puirséil, A O’Toole 0-1 each. Dublin North: C Scully, Conor Berrigan 1-1 each, J Sammon (3f), L Dunne 0-4 each, M Sweeney 1-0, Craig Berrigan 0-1.
DUBLIN SOUTH: E Gibbons; C Mooney, C Foley, J Kelly; I O’Heither, J Dalton, H Svinglinkas; T Ahearne, S Kinsella; P Pursell, C Nagle, C Behan; M Dunne, S Lawlor, D McBride. Subs: A O’Toole for Dunne (41), C Hogan for Behan (53), F Ryan for McBride (56).
DUBLIN NORTH: L Foley; C O’Brien, C Murphy, D McLoughney; D Bohan, D Hewson, T Kinnane; C Scully, L Dunne; J Meagher, M Sweeney, Craig Berrigan; K Byrne, J Sammon, Conor Berrigan. Subs: E Gleeson for Byrne (21), J O’Connell for Gleeson (37), S Foran for Conor Berrigan (48), E Forbes for McLoughney (53).
Ref: J Brennan (Thomas Davis).