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Naomh Fionnbarra booked their place in Division 1 of the Dublin Adult Hurling League for 2015 as they narrowly overcame Crumlin by 1-27 to 2-22 in their AHL2 Promotion play-off final in Bray last Sunday morning.

Their superior fitness proved crucial in the closing stages with Crumlin suffering injuries to key personnel in extra-time that seriously dampened their ambitions by the final whistle.

In a contest that ebbed and flowed throughout, credit must be assigned to referee Tony Lambe who officiated with common sense and diligence throughout, contributing to the free-flowing and enjoyable encounter as a consequence.

Not for the first time, Eamon Dillon proved the key marksman for Finbarr's with the Dublin senior panellist accruing a personal tally of 16 points.

roving

However, it was the contribution of Ger Dodrill that was most significant, especially in the latter stages with the roving centre-back adorning a superb individual performance with four critical scores in added time.

Given the quality on offer on both sides, a tight, high-scoring game was anticipated and it was duly delivered as both sides attacked from the opening whistle with Dillon landing an early psychological blow with an excellent score in the second minute.

Although Alex Quinn levelled matters soon after, Naomh Fionnbarra were by far the more fluent team initially and they inched two points clear by the eighth minute after a brace of scores by Dillon.

Crumlin showed little cohesion in attack initially and they fell further behind after successive scores by Dodrill and Carl Turner before from nowhere, they restored parity in the 18th minute and twins Ben and Alex Quinn combined for the latter to release Colm Hennebry, who fired to the net at the second attempt.

Momentum

Two frees by Peter Elliott added to Crumlin's momentum and their lead was stretched to three points by the 26th minute after superb individual scores from Ben Quinn and Jamie Maher.

Far from letting the game ebb slowly away, Finbarr's responded in determined fashion with full-back Pato Whelan especially solid and three points shared by Dillon and Dodrill ensured parity on a 1-9 to 0-12 interval scoreline.

There was a slight fall-off in the scoring upon the restart but the contest remained enthralling as Dillon continued to avail of most opportunities that came his way while Elliott and Alex Quinn did likewise for Crumlin.

The Cabra outfit looked to have struck a significant blow when Robert McCarthy bundled home in the 43rd minute and his point soon after left Finbarr's three points to the good.

However, a defensive lapse within five minutes offered encouragement to Crumlin and Hennebry showed great determination to somehow contrive to find the net despite the close proximity of a phalanx of Fionnbarra defenders blocking his way.

Crumlin appeared set for a return to the top flight when Elliott and Ben Quinn added late scores to leave their side two points clear but a brace of Dillon frees in added time ensured a 2-16 to 1-19 stalemate after 60 minutes.

A wonderful Elliott point inched Crumlin ahead within six minutes of extra-time.

But Dodrill was beginning to avail of the increasingly lax and fatigued Crumlin defending and he landed two telling scores to leave the sides locked at 2-19 to 1-22 at half-time in extra-time.

Dillon once again inched his side into a narrow lead in the 73rd minute and a wonderful team score that involved four Finbarr's players culminated in Gerry O'Reilly doubling his side's lead.

Kevin Byrne replied for Crumlin but the ubiquitous Dodrill seemed destined to prove the match-winner as he fired another sublime score to reaffirm his side's position of dominance.

An Adam McGreal free ensured a nervy conclusion to affairs but Dodrill prompted joyous scenes from the large Fionnbarra following with the final score of a pulsating clash to break Crumlin hearts.

Scorers - Naomh Fionnbarra: E Dillon 0-16 (0-9f, 0-1 '65'); G Dodrill 0-6; R McCarthy 1-1; C Turner 0-2; R Curley, G O'Reilly 0-1 each. Crumlin: P Elliott 0-7 (0-5f, 0-1 '65); C Hennebry 2-0; B Quinn 0-5; A Quinn 0-4; A McGreal 0-3 (3f); A Curtis (f), J Maher, K Byrne 0-1 each.

Naomh Fionnbarra: E Sweetman; S Donohie, P Whelan, B Hyland; A Costello, T Costello, J Bailey; G McAuley, S Commons; R McCarthy, G O'Reilly, C Turner; G Dodrill, E Dillon, R Curley. Subs: T Lynch for Bailey (40), E Fogarty for Commons (51), D Langan for Turner (57).

Crumlin: A Doyle; C Martin, L Kinsella, P Devlin; P Elliott, J Cullen, J Maher; C Murphy, B Quinn; A Quinn, S Martin, K Byrne; A Curtis, C Hennebry, S Ryan. Subs: C Gough for Curtis and A McGreal for Maher (half-time), P O'Brien for C Martin (43), Maher for B Quinn (64), Quinn for Hennebry (68).

Mentors - Naomh Fionnbarra: Niall Brady, Séamus McGrattan, Lee McKeogh, Richie Horgan. Crumlin: Denis Byrne, Gavin O'Donovan, Rodney Elliott.

Referee: Tony Lambe (St Vincent's).

Wides: Naomh Fionnbarra 17 (7+5+5) Crumlin 8 (6+1+1).

Conditions: Fine all-weather surface and dry day led to free-flowing game.

Player of the Game: Ger Dodrill (Naomh Fionnbarra).


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