Maher the hero for Ballinteer
Corner-forward rampant as John's progress in style
BALLINTEER ST JOHN' 2-15, NA FIANNA 0-8
A JOEY MAHER inspired Ballinteer St John's annihilated a surprisingly below par Na Fianna side at Parnell Park in yesterday afternoon's Evening Herald Dublin Senior Hurling Championship 'A' clash.
The corner forward hit 2-10, 2-2 from play, in a clinical display to which the Glasnevin men simply had no answer.
It must be added however, that Na Fianna were shorn of the services of their Dublin stars Tomás Brady and Joey Boland, both of whom are recovering from surgery for cruciate ligament and shoulder injuries respectively.
The reward for Ballinteer? A quarter-final clash with five-in-a-row chasing Ballyboden St Enda's in two weeks time.
On this evidence, they will be no pushover for the Firhouse Road outfit but will still enter that duel as rank outsiders.
Their performance yesterday was even more impressive when it is considered that four players, Frank O'Donoghue, Donal Gormley, Glenn Whelan and Aodhán Clabby, all player in the minor football championship earlier in the day.
Na Fianna though, will rue a host of missed chances in the first half when they were playing with the aid of the strong breeze. They did take an early lead thanks to scores from Feargal Breathnach and Odhran Ó Maoileidigh but were soon pegged back as Fionán Clabby and Maher sent over a point apiece.
Maher followed that up with a brilliant point from underneath the stand.
The sides exchanged scores thereafter but Ballintter dominated the concluding ten minutes of the opening half.
Aodhán Clabby, a superb individual effort from the impressive Gormley and two frees from Maher gave them 0-8 to 0-4 lead at the break.
Maher hit another brace after the restart along with Aodhan Clabby's second to put them firmly in the driving seat.
Na Fianna registered their first score in almost 20 minutes when Eamon Cassidy raised the white flag.
But at that point Ballinteer were dominant in all sectors and Maher continued to punish the opposition with his unerring accuracy.
He ended the game as a contest with ten minutes remaining when he picked up a loose ball and hammered past Na Fianna net minder Andy Flaherty.
The undoubted man of the match rubbed further salt into the Na Fianna wounds when he scored his second goal in injury time to round off a convincing victory.
SCORERS - Ballinteer St John's: J Maher 2-10 (0-8f), A Clabby 0-2, D Gormley, James Gilligan, F Clabby 0-1 each. Na Fianna: F Breathnach 0-2, W Lyons (0-1f), P Downes, E Cassidy, O O Maoileidigh, A Keogh, D Forde 0-1 each.
BALLINTEER ST JOHN'S: L O'Flaherty; R Collins, C O'Brien, F O'Donoghue; C O Riain, Jack Gilligan, D Gormley; James Gilligan, C Lane; F Clabby, G O Broin, G Whelan; A Clabby, S Lane, J Maher.
NA FIANNA: A Flaherty; S Fitzgerald, E Rutledge, E O'Leary; S Burke, M Quilty, N O Ceallacháin; W Lyons, F Breathnach; P Downes, E Cassidy, C Fainin; O O Maoileidigh, A Keogh, D Forde. Subs: P O Laoire for Keogh (ht), S Behan for Lyons (43), T Bergin for Cassidy (51), M Quinn for Forde (53).
REF: E Mullarkey (Lucan Sarsfields).