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Late thrills as Sutcliffe ensures share of spoils in derby clash

Dublin SHC Group 3: Faughs 1-18 St Jude's 1-18

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Danny share of spoils in derby clash Sutcliffe of St Jude’s in action against Faughs during the Dublin SHC match at O’Toole Park. Photo: Sportsfile

Danny share of spoils in derby clash Sutcliffe of St Jude’s in action against Faughs during the Dublin SHC match at O’Toole Park. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Danny share of spoils in derby clash Sutcliffe of St Jude’s in action against Faughs during the Dublin SHC match at O’Toole Park. Photo: Sportsfile

In the end, few in the restricted attendance of O'Toole Park could quibble with the outcome last Saturday afternoon as Danny Sutcliffe landed a late point to ensure an equitable result between these closest of neighbours.

Sutcliffe's leveler arrived in the fifth minute of added time, just twenty seconds after his former Dublin team-mate, Chris Bennett, had fired home a typically clinical finish from twenty yards as the contest appeared to be drifting away from Faughs.

As with any draw, both teams will feel that an opportunity to make an early statement of intent has been lost somewhat but there were encouraging signs for the Templeogue sides despite an understandable element of rustiness in their play.

That was most evident in the third quarter as both protagonists struggled for any fluency after a hugely enjoyable opening half that saw Faughs enjoy the early ascendancy.

Carl O'Mahony served early notice of his threat with a brace of excellent points within three minutes with a more sluggish Jude's team restoring parity by the sixth minute through two Sutcliffe frees.

However, with a slight breeze at their backs, Faughs played the more controlled and incisive hurling as they deservedly added to their tally thanks to points from play by Conor O'Shea, David Croke and Ciaran Brennan.  

One scorching run from Diarmuid McLoughlin aside, that ended with the dual star striking the upright, St Jude's looked bereft of punch up front but showed sufficient drive and improvement after the drinks break to reduce their deficit to the bare minimum (0-11 to 0-10) at the break, with Sutcliffe and Aidan O'Donovan landing rare points from play.   

Smart points at either end from O'Mahony and John Carty within two minutes of the restart hinted at similarly free-flowing fare but the standard dropped for a prolonged period with fatigue an obvious and understandable factor in the Kimmage sun. Passes were misplaced far too easily as Jude's began to enjoy greater control and authority around the middle third, with the dangerous O'Mahony starved of supply as a result.

Successive scores from substitute Fionn Ó Riain Broin and Sutcliffe brought St Jude's level by the 43rd minute and although Fergal Heavey restored Faughs' lead within two minutes, their ambitions suffered a setback when McLoughlin scored a cracking solo goal soon after.

There appeared little danger as he gathered possession forty yards from goal but his searing pace left markers in his wake and the ensuing finish from eight yards left Liam Gleeson helpless in the Faughs goal.  

O'Mahony and Manus Malone traded points as the half progressed as St Jude's looked comfortable without appearing totally confident in terms of their lead.

An excellent Ciaran Mangan point entering injury time pushed St Jude's three clear, an advantage that seemed impregnable given the improved defensive showings of Mark Maguire and Eoin McLoughlin. 

However, O'Mahony's free preceded a thrilling conclusion and a well-worked move down their left eventually saw Bennett receive possession in a central position and the low finish was as polished as it was expected.

Alas, for Faughs, Sutcliffe was to have the final word, saving his team with a majestic effort.  

Scorers - Faughs: C O'Mahony 0-11 (0-8f), C Bennett 1-1, S Doherty 0-2, C O'Shea, C Brennan, D Croke, F Heavey 0-1 each. St Jude's: D Sutcliffe 0-12 (0-8f, 0-1 '65), D McLoughlin 1-0, J Carty 0-2, A O'Donovan, C Mangan, M Malone, F Ó Riain Broin 0-1 each.

Faughs: L Gleeson; S Casey, E McKenna, J Kenny; C Brady, C O'Shea, J McVeigh; J Moore, C nagle; C Brennan, D Croke, F Heavey; C O'Mahony, C Bennett, S Doherty. Subs: C Leahy for Moore (35), G Kenny for J Kenny (45), N Bennett for Croke (49), R Doyle for Doherty (49), R Hennessy for O' Shea (51).

St Jude's: G Hogan; E McLoughlin, E Grant, C O'Keeffe; C Mangan, M Maguire, A O'Donovan; D Kiernan, A Connolly; S O'Brien, D Sutcliffe, C Nolan; D McLoughlin, M Malone, J Carty. Subs: B Moran for O'Keeffe (18), F Ó Riain Broin for Nolan (half-time), K Lahiff for Carty (37), D O'Callaghan for Moran (52), L Hayes for Malone (55).

REF: Paul Faughnan (St Pat's Palmerstown)