Joseph's edge a tense battle in hurling decider
Rush boys dig deep to eventually prevail against brave Old Bawn side
Substitutes Cathal Price and Finbar Harford made telling contributions at St Brigid's GAA on Tuesday afternoon, when St Joseph's, Rush edged past the challenge of Old Bawn Community School in a closely-fought Dublin Schools Junior 'D1' Hurling decider.
After a stunning 50th minute goal from half-forward Jordan McGrath brought the Tallaght outfit back into contention, quick-fire scores by Price and Harford helped Joseph's to weather the storm. Old Bawn subsequently replied with points from Thomas Cummings and Josh Lambert, but it wasn't enough to deny Joseph's a memorable triumph.
Although the Rush team showed a number of positional switches from their tough semi-final encounter against St Finian's CC, the imposing Pádraic Fitzgerald remained on the edge of the square. Indeed, after netminder James Byrne struggled to deal with a low delivery three minutes in, the full-forward was on hand to raise the green flag.
This was a set-back for their southside opponents at such an early juncture, and following a well-worked Luke White point, the Joseph's lead stretched to four.
Old Bawn finally opened their account through a 14th minute pointed free by midfielder Liam Sinnott, however, and even though a neat Fitzgerald point reinforced the superiority of Joseph's, McGrath brilliantly dispatched an unstoppable shot beyond the reach of Shane Comiskey from a right-hand angle.
In a tightly-contested first-half, it looked like this effort would be enough to keep the Old Bawn interval deficit to a minimum. Joseph's had other ideas, though, and thanks to a three-pointer from a Tom O'Neill placed-ball, they brought a four-point cushion (2-2 to 1-1) into the second period.
Yet, despite holding this welcome advantage, Price and Harford were introduced to the fray instead of inside forwards Glenn Weldon and Dylan Halpin upon the resumption.
Initially, Old Bawn held their own with a Sinnott '65', but the prospect of a Joseph's victory increased when a 39th minute Adam Kelly-Kiernan goal was supplemented by points from Price and O'Neill.
However, Old Bawn persevered during the final-quarter, and a 0-3 salvo from the reliable Sinnott, as well as a terrific Cummings contribution from the left-wing, kept the tie firmly in the balance.
A second sublime finish by McGrath threw down the gauntlet to Joseph's, who needed scores from Price and Harford to bring an end to this Old Bawn purple patch. The Dublin 24 boys continued to press late on, but although Cummings and Lambert kept their hopes alive, Joseph's ultimately dug deep for their hard-earned success.
Scorers - St Joseph's Rush: T O'Neill (1-0f), P Fitzgerald 1-1 each, A Kelly-Kiernan 1-0, C Price 0-2, L White, F Harford 0-1 each. OLD BAWN CS: J McGrath 2-0, L Sinnott 0-5 (3 '65', 2f), T Cummings 0-2, J Lambert 0-1.
ST JOSEPH'S, RUSH: S Comiskey; N Grimes, A Benson, S Murphy; P Jones, D Clarke, D Kiernan; J Hussey, D Flynn; A Kelly-Kiernan, T O'Neill, L White; D Halpin, P Fitzgerald, G Weldon. Subs: C Price for Weldon (h-t), F Harford for Halpin (ht), S Finnegan for Jones (39), K O'Connor for Fitzgerald (53).
OLD BAWN CS: J Byrne; C Cooke, R Lynch, K Brennan; E Lambert, D Gilson, R Lambert; L Sinnott, C Prendergast; J McGrath, T Cummings, J Lambert; G Peggs, S De Lappe, D Caffrey. Subs: N Farrelly for Peggs (39), J Landers for R Lambert (44), C McGovern for De Lappe (49), De Lappe for Cooke (55).
REF: T Tansey (St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh).