Plunkett's/ER and Faughs take steps towards Senior 'A'
Last Friday night in Parnell Park confirmed the finalists for the Dublin Senior 'B' Hurling Championship final as St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh and Faughs overcame Kilmacud Crokes and Thomas Davis in contrasting manners.
In doing so, both teams booked their place in the 2019 Senior 'A' championship, a prize that was just reward for the impressive displays of both teams this year.
Plunkett's were pushed all the way by a talented Kilmacud second team, requiring extra-time before eventually pulling through by 2-22 to 1-24 while Faughs recovered from a disappointing start to eventually to pull through by 2-18 to 1-13.
The Templeogue outfit found themselves five points down inside the first eight minutes with Seán Reilly in fine form for Thomas Davis but a Conor O'Shea goal in the 19th minute helped Faughs to find their collective feet as the sides entered the break deadlocked at 1-5 apiece.
After Ciarán Nagle and David Keogh traded points at the start of the second-half, Faughs landed a decisive blow when Chris Bennett converted a 34th minute penalty.
Their opponents never dropped their heads as they kept in contention through a brace of points from Kevin Ward but with O'Shea taking his personal tally to 1-4 by the end of the evening, Faughs increased their advantage as the contest evolved thanks to scores by Bennett, Peter Shaw, John Prendergast and Fergal Heavey to secure a seven-point victory.
Earlier in the evening, Plunkett's needed to dig deep to keep their title ambitions alive as they pipped Crokes in a thrilling encounter that reflected the quality of this particular championship.
Stuart Mullen continued to roll back the years with another central performance for Plunkett's, accumulating eleven points over the duration as the Navan Road side enjoyed a 0-10 to 0-7 interval advantage.
Kilmacud fought back superbly with Plunkett's managing to force extra-time on a 1-15 to 0-18 scoreline thanks largely to a goal from Brian McDonald.
Of equal importance for the winners were the three superb saves made at pivotal times by goalkeeper Bill McCormack that kept his side in the hunt and with Seán Clerkin scoring the decisive goal in extra-time, Plunkett's held on with Niall Murray in exceptional form at midfield.
"It's a massive thing for the club to get back to the top table and we're just delighted to be in the final," said Plunkett's manager Derek Brennan.
"It is testimony to all the hard work that is being done at underage level in the club with our current minor team playing in Division 1 of the league and in the 'A' championship.
"This is only our third time in the 'A' championship in sixteen years and it was great to have such a large crowd from Plunkett's cheering us on," he added.