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Saturday 16 December 2017

New Dubs boss Cunningham sees Jude's down O'Toole's to book place in their first final

Dublin SHC Semi-final

Ger Cunningham takes over from Anthony Daly, who completed his sixth year in charge this season (Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE)
Ger Cunningham takes over from Anthony Daly, who completed his sixth year in charge this season (Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE)

EVEN before the throw-in, it was history for Jude's - their first Dublin Senior Hurling Championship semi-final.

And now they'll have to get measured for the suits. They'll be the perfect fit.

Much of Saturday's pre-match talk centred on the new sheriff in town, Ger Cunningham.

And the big man would have been impressed with this Parnell Park production.

A former Dublin manager, Marty Morris, came through the turnstiles. A Larriers' Lion-heart. His brother, Joey, is the O'Toole's chief. Among those with him in the dugout is Peadar Carton senior, one of the best Dublin hurlers of them all.

The sun was shining into the main stand. A decent crowd in. The pitch resembled Wimbledon.

Top Cat, James 'Shiner' Brennan, ran the line better than Johnny Cash. O'Toole's looked splendid in their Elverys jerseys.

There's never a free lunch against the Blunden Boys, and that was the case here. Jude's had to earn every crumb.

And that they did. Their defending in the second half was superb. They showed the resolve that the Ayrfield men had build their house on through the decades.

Time and again, little scrums formed near enough to the Templeogue gate-lodge. And Jude's were winning most, if not all, of them.

The hour matched the conditions. Conor Carton was sinking the putts. Philly Brennan was majestic. A highlight was the save the Tymon 'keeper, Graham Nolan, made from Peadar Carton on 21 minutes.

Speeding

Peadar looked certain to score as he let fly from close enough range. The sliotar was speeding for the right-side of the sack at the church end, but Nolan made a miraculous stop.

That moment was up there with the splendid second-half sideline of the Jude's midfielder, Paul Maguire, as he arrowed over from the left.

O'Toole's had much of the first-half play. They led at the break, 0-10 to 0-8. The contest had been level three times before the Kit Kats.

And it was level four times following the interval as the excitement, and the stakes, grew.

O'Toole's held the advantage until the 44th minute, 12 points to 11.

Fionn ó Riain Broin equalised with a free.

Jude's got the next two scores - a Danny Sutcliffe point from play and another Ó Riain Broin free.

But back came O'Toole's with a point from play by Christy Mulligan and a Conor Carton free.

Four minutes left and 0-14 each. Then, in a superb piece of play, Rob Hardy, the accomplished Jude's right half-back, intercepted the sliotar in mid-air and delivered a precise pass to Sutcliffe, who flashed the ball over the bar with all the style of an All Star.

In added-time, with O'Toole's in the last-chance saloon, Michael Carton cut in from the left and managed to slip the sliotar across the Jude's goal. But, once again, the Jude's steel-shutters did their job.

And with that, the final whistle sounded, and a huge cheer erupted that was heard back at the Spawell roundabout.

The Jude's footballers will now try to emulate the hurlers as they prepare for Saturday's SFC semi-final against St Plunkett's.

Scorers - St Jude's: F Ó Riain Broin 0-5 (4f); D Sutcliffe 0-3; P Maguire (1 sl), R Joyce 0-2 each; T Devlin, M Maguire, S Larkin 0-1 each. O'Toole's: C Carton 0-10 (6f, 1 65, 1pen); G O'Meara, A Morris, M Carton, C Mulligan 0-1 each.

ST JUDE'S: G Nolan; J Kennedy, G McManus, C Mangan; R Hardy, P Aylward, A O'Beirne; N Mangan, P Maguire; E McLoughlin, D Sutcliffe, R Joyce; F Ó Riain Broin, T Devlin, M Maguire. Subs: S Larkin for Aylward (25); J Ryan for N Mangan (42); J McManus for Larkin (inj, 52).

O'Toole's: B McLoughlin; R Walker, K Ryan, Paddy Carton; O Darcy, P Brennan, G O'Meara; G Morris, A Morris; C Carton, M Carton, Peadar Carton; P Bradshaw, L Ryan, C Mulligan. Subs: M Cunningham for Bradshaw (ht); C Kimmage for L Ryan (57).

REF: G McGrath (Setanta).

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