Sunday 20 January 2019

Minor star Burke's major impact for Blues

Dublin’s Cian O’Sullivan celebrates his first half goal in last night’s Bord na Móna Walsh
Cup clash at Parnell Park. Pic: Sportsfile.
Dublin’s Cian O’Sullivan celebrates his first half goal in last night’s Bord na Móna Walsh Cup clash at Parnell Park. Pic: Sportsfile.

Donal Burke and Cian O'Sullivan were winning Leinster medals for the Dublin minor hurlers last July.

Fast-forward to a frost-bitten January night in Donnycarney, and the same teenage duo were hurling up a Walsh Cup storm for Ger Cunningham's Sky Blue seniors.

To date, at least, they have made a quick and confident transition to the big boys club. More than any of their more seasoned colleagues, they laid the groundwork for last night's 11-point win over a battling UCD - a victory that tees up nicely what is sure to be a winner-takes-all collision away to Davy Fitzgerald's Wexford next Thursday.

Na Fianna's Burke led the way with 1-10 (0-4 from play), his final act of a prodigious night's work coming with a clinically dispatched penalty on 65 minutes.

By then, the two Group 3 points were already in the bag after the hosts recovered from a slumbering start (they trailed by 0-5 to 0-2 after a dozen minutes) to establish a seven-point cushion at the midpoint, 1-15 to 0-11.

Riding shotgun alongside Burke in the full-forward line, O'Sullivan left his own telling imprint on that first half with a sublime touchline score during a sequence of seven unanswered Dublin points.

His next intervention, on 31 minutes, was even more eye-catching as the Brigid's man soared above his marker, Rory Dwan, turned and made a beeline for goal.

His shot, angled and emphatic, nestled in the bottom corner for his second goal in as many games after his earlier green flag against Carlow. O'Sullivan didn't resurface for the second half; evidently his manager had seen enough.

In truth, facing the wind, there was no way back for Nicky English's Belfield crew.


They rallied for a while on the restart, twice reducing the deficit to five points. Oisín O'Rorke - 'borrowed' from the Sky Blue camp for the duration of this pre-season tournament - left his calling card for Cunningham with a sprightly third quarter during which he landed two razor-sharp points and earned a brace of converted frees.

O'Rorke finished the game with 0-4, three from play, even if Waterford U21 ace DJ Foran (with 0-11, eight from frees) was their most dangerous forward.

A quartet of Dubs also reached the 0-3 mark from play - Niall McMorrow in the first half was later joined by Caolán Conway and the Quinn twins, Alex and Ben, as the latter especially finished with a jet-heeled flourish.

walsh cup: dublin 2-26 ucd 0-21

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