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Saturday 14 December 2019

North best in derby duel

Leinster Colleges SH C'ship: Dublin North 1-20 Dublin South 1-16

Dublin South’s Joe Kenny keeps Dublin’s North Cian Boyle in check
Dublin South’s Joe Kenny keeps Dublin’s North Cian Boyle in check

Dublin North produced a late surge at the DCU Sportsgrounds last Thursday to claim victory over Metropolitan rivals Dublin South in the Group Team section of the Leinster Schools Senior A Hurling Championship.

Heading into the final 10 minutes of this clash, North's lead stood at a single point. However, either side of a Ben McSweeney brace, substitute Mark Murphy found the target to propel them over the line.

A Hugh O'Sullivan point was all South could muster in response, despite the best efforts of an industrious attack. It isn't all doom and gloom for Mike Connolly's charges, though, as they will have a shot at redemption against Wexford Schools this Saturday at Ferns COE.

The winners of that game will then face Dublin North for the right to join St Kieran's College, St Peter's College and Colaiste Eoin in Group A of the main provincial championship. Though there was little to separate the sides for the majority of the action, it was North who made the brighter start on a pristine all-weather surface.

Unanswered points courtesy of Castleknock trio Conor Chawke, Cian Boyle and Conor Murray offered them an early platform, before South fired back through a long-distance Foley free. Nevertheless, their northside counterparts continued to play with great confidence.

After Chawke grabbed his second score of the half, a 1-1 salvo from the impressive Boyle moved his side seven points in front (1-5 to 0-1) after 12 minutes. South were struggling to come to terms with their blistering attack, but subsequently developed a powerful purple patch either side of the first-quarter mark.

Supplementing three points for the dependable Foley, Jack Kielty, Adam Drewitt and Pierce Christie raised white flags to leave the bare minimum between the teams. North finally interrupted this scoring sequence with a Joe Flanagan free and his midfielder partner - Darragh McLoughney - cancelled out another Foley free.

South's challenge was beginning to gather serious pace, however, and Kielty angled a superb strike into the top left-hand corner. Rather than being a catalyst for their opponents to push on, the concession of this three-pointer instead served as a wake-up call for North.

Flanagan, Luke Swan, Chawke, Ian Sherry and McSweeney hit five points in quick succession to re-assert their authority. While Sam Stewart replied at the opposite end, Boyle and Sherry singles ensured Dublin North brought a 1-14 to 1-9 cushion into the interval.

Paul O'Brien's side pulled further ahead on the resumption as a Foley point for South was followed by a pair of eye-catching efforts from Boyle. Yet, they were once again on the receiving end of a scoring blitz - which in turn set the game up for a tantalising conclusion.

Foley's dead-ball accuracy was a crucial component of South's play and he made a massive difference upon his switch to the edge of the square. Remarkably, he registered five points in a row between the 41st and 49th minutes - bringing his personal tally to 0-11.

Although the momentum appeared to be with South at this stage, the introduction of Murphy proved key in swinging the pendulum back in North's favour. His point on the stroke of 50 minutes provided them with much-needed breathing space and while a 10-minute barren spell kept North on their toes, consecutive McSweeney 65s effectively sealed South's fate.

O'Sullivan split the uprights deep into stoppage-time, only for Murphy to have the final say for the victors.

Scorers - Dublin North: C Boyle 1-5, B McSweeney (2 '65'), C Chawke 0-3 each, J Flanagan ('65'), I Sherry, M Murphy 0-2 each, D McLoughney, C Murray, L Swan 0-1 each. Dublin South: C Foley 0-11 (9f), J Kielty 1-1, S Stewart, P Christie, H O'Sullivan, A Drewitt 0-1 each.

DUBLIN NORTH: E O'Connor; P Doyle, E Carney, J Kehoe; T Cosgrove, K Byrne, D Clerkin; J Flanagan, D McLoughney; C Murray, B McSweeney, L Swan; C Chawke, I Sherry, C Boyle. Subs: B Dunne for Clerkin (h-t), M Murphy for Sherry (47).

DUBLIN SOUTH: J Murray; F Kilbane, C Burke, J Kenny; D Crowe, A Waddick, C Hogan; S Stewart, R Byrne; C Foley, P Christie, H O'Sullivan; C Nolan, A Drewitt, J Kielty. Subs: C Mooney for Kilbane (15), B Keogh for Byrne (h-t).

Referee: F Gaffney (Na Fianna).

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