BY NIALL SHERRY, SPORTS EDITOR
St. Canice’s Credit Union Senior Hurling League-Championship 2023
O`Loughlin Gaels 1-17 Dicksboro 1-20
Venue: Pairc Sheamuis Stiophan
Referee: Michael O Sullivan
Dicksboro made it two wins from two in this year’s St. Canice’s Credit Union Senior Hurling League-Championship Group B when they defeated O’Loughlin Gaels by 3 points in an entertaining game at Pairc Sheamuis Stiophan last Friday night.
Many Gaels see these two teams as the most likely to wrestle the County title away from Shamrocks Ballyhale and ‘Boro boss Michael Walsh will be delighted with his sides start to this year’s campaign. Playing against a very strong wind in the opening period, the men from Palmerstown got two early scores, both from the placed ball via underage star Harry Shine.
Brian Hogan’s side got off the marker after about 3 minutes, courtesy of a free from captain Mark Bergin. The impressive Cillian Hackett struck over a fine point from play before a further brace of frees from the deadly Bergin drew the sides level after 13 minutes. O’Loughlin’s were dealt a blow when the lively Luke Hogan had to leave the field with a hand injury. Harry Shine then popped over another placed ball to edge the ‘Boro ahead halfway through the first half, before the same player got the first yellow card of the evening.
Aidan Nolan then rifled over a lovely effort from play before six scores on the bounce for O’Loughlin’s saw them take the lead. First up was a free from Mark Bergin, this was built on with two more points from Jamie Ryan and Stephen Murphy. Corner forward Conor Kelly then sent over a quality shot to highlight the strong wind that Brian Hogan’s side were playing with. Young wing-back David Fogarty hit a sublime effort before Conor Kelly struck his second of the day.
Michael Walsh’s side hit back with points from Harry Shine and Liam Moore, but O’Loughlin’s responded with efforts from Jordan Molloy and Paddy Butler to leave the half time score O’Loughlin Gaels 0-12, Dicksboro 0-7.
The Palmerstown outfit got the scoring going in the second period with a beautiful Bill Sheehan effort off his left-hand side near the sideline. The accurate Bergin then popped over another placed ball before Timmy Clifford benefited from a turnover to split the posts for the ‘Boro. Harry Shine was then fouled by the returning Mikey Butler, and Harry pointed the free to make it a 3-point game. Four further Dicksboro points followed, a second each from Bill Sheehan and Cillian Hackett, then two nice scores from Andy Gaffney and Ollie Walsh to leave the men in maroon in the lead.
The talented Liam Moore then raised a green flag for the Boro to make it a 4-point lead before Mark Bergin notched another free to get them back in the contest. Harry Shine and Mark Bergin then swapped points before a quick brace from Dicksboro’s full-forward Mark Nolan made it a two-score game. Jordan Molloy then notched his second of the day before Tom Kenny struck back for the ‘Boro to keep Hogan’s men at arm’s length.
O’Loughlin’s needed a goal and they eventually got one via sub Jack Nolan. Dicksboro tagged on another point to leave two between the sides entering the last couple of minutes. No.14 Mark Nolan then sent over his 3rd effort of the day to leave a goal between the sides before the long whistle sounded, final score O’Loughlin Gaels 1-17, Dicksboro 1-20.
St Canice’s Credit Union Senior Hurling League-Championship
>>Sherry Says: Round 3 Preview
Onto round 3 already. Some coaches and managers have spoken about the condensed nature of the fixtures and the impact that this could potentially have on player welfare. O’Loughlin’s manager Brian Hogan expressed his concern at having games 3 weeks on the spin following their first-round victory over The Sash recently.
Having lost narrowly to Dicksboro last weekend, the multiple All-Ireland winner will be keen to see his side return to winning ways when they take on Mullinavat in Hugginstown tomorrow afternoon. Both teams sit on the 2-point marker entering round 3, with one win and one defeat so far this season. The Vegas Boys had an opening round win over Danesfort, but then went down heavily to Tullaroan last weekend, conceding 6-21 in a bruising defeat. Hogan will be hoping that his team can run up a decent score to get The St John’s Park men back into contention, O’Loughlin’s definitely have the forward power to trouble Mullinavat. The ‘Vat will hope that Adam Mansfield and Oisin Knox are on point, while midfielders Ian Duggan and Padraic Gahan can trouble the scoreboard also.
Michael Walsh’s men will make the trip to Pairc Sheamuis Stiophan believing that they can make it 3 from 3 when they take on Danesfort this Sunday afternoon. With maximum points in the bag from rounds one and two, the Palmerstown outfit will look to kick-on again with victory over Willie Coogan’s ‘Fort side. Coogan will be hoping that the likes of experienced hands such as Richie Hogan and Paul Murphy will set the tone for the attacking trio of Ben Whitty, Robbie Walsh and Cathal Kearney to cause the ‘Boro rearguard problems, as they seek to get the first win of this campaign under their belts, having lost to Mullinavat and Clara in Group B.
Tim Dooley’s Bennettsbridge outfit will face another tricky task when they meet James Stephens in Danesfort tonight. While this Bridge side may be in a transition period, John Donnelly & co will be keen to remain competitive in this year’s competition. Having got the better of Erins Own in round one, Dooley’s charges went down by 3-points to GBC last Saturday. Brian Cody’s Village team come into this round 3 game with a win and a defeat to show for their efforts thus far. Running out comfortable winners against GBC, their round two encounter with Glenmore in Thomastown last Sunday saw them lose out by the bare minimum in a tightly fought match.
Glenmore go into the third set of games in good form, having seen off two of the so-called bigger names in the opening two rounds in the form of Shamrocks Ballyhale and James Stephens. Next up for Bob Aylward’s team are the men from Castlecomer, who bounced back defeat to Bennettsbridge with a share of the spoils against Pat Hoban’s Shamrocks side. Alan Murphy, fresh from a MOTM performance against The Village, will look to continue his good form when they travel to St John’s Park to meet Erins Own. Sean Dempsey will look again to the likes of Jack Buggy, Dan Coogan and Michael Brennan to keep the scoreboard moving.
Current holders Shamrocks Ballyhale got their first point on the board as they go in search of a sixth County title in succession when they played out an entertaining draw against Erins Own at Tom Ryall Park last weekend. A later major from Sean Demsey’s side ensured a share of the spoils for the men Castlecomer. Pat Hoban will hope his charges can get the first win of this season’s campaign when they face-off against Eugene Cloonan’s Graigue Ballycallan team in Callan tomorrow afternoon. We know Shamrocks tend to start campaign’s slowly, but you get the feeling that the 9-times All-Ireland club winners will want to grab maximum points from this round three fixture. The men from Tom Ryall Park will look to Ryan’s Billy and Sean, Killian Eagan and Billy O’Neill to trouble the Shamrocks defence.
Tullaroan will look to build on their big round two win over Mullinavat when they take on Clara in Urlingford tonight. Having battled well against O’Loughlin Gaels in round one, The Sash will look to Shane Murphy to continue his good form and along with Mossy Keoghan and Gearoid Dunne, make the opposition defence work hard at the home of Emeralds later. Shane hit 3-4 last time out and looked very lively throughout the game, as Ken Coogan’s charges picked up their first win in the campaign. Martin Byrne will hope his Clara side can contain the undoubted threat that The Sash poses, and then look to Chris Bolger and Paul Cody to lead by example.