BY NIALL SHERRY
ALL PIX BY DANNY LAHART
Goals galore as Dicksboro claim silverware
A sunny UPMC Nowlan Park was the venue last Sunday for the Permanent TSB U19 A Hurling Championship final between Dicksboro and Thomastown.
Going into the game, Michael Walsh’s charges were heavily fancied to take the honours, and they duly obliged with an 11-point victory over their opponents.
To be fair, the score line was probably a little harsh on Thomastown, who kept in touch with the ‘Boro right up to the final quarter, but goals proved to be their undoing.
Thomastown got off to a good start, when midfielder and captain, Peter McDonald pointed early on from a placed ball, and the impressive No.9 would go onto be his teams star performer on the day. It appeared that the game plan was based largely on getting McDonald on the ball at every opportunity.
The response from Dicksboro was emphatic. On 5 minutes, and after some great team play, the ball arrived with centre-forward Liam Moore, who batted the ball to the net, leaving keeper Luke McNena helpless, as he raised the first of three green flags for his side.
County minor star and captain Harry Shine then opened his account from a placed ball with almost 7minutes on the clock, to give his side a one-point lead. That man McDonald then equalised with a lovely score from play. Dicksboro midfielder, James Carroll, who was heavily involved throughout proceedings then popped over a well-worked score on 11 minutes, to restore his team’s lead, before Thomastown’s only scorer in the game so far, McDonald was adjudged to have been fouled by his marker, and a free was awarded, which – yes you guessed it, he slotted between the posts.
‘Boro midfielder, James Carroll then picked up the ball nicely, before arrowing a lovely pass to his corner-forward, Cillian Hackett, who pointed from a tight angle to register a lovely score. The Maroon & whites wasted no time in troubling the umpires again, when Liam Moore popped over a well-struck point, despite coming under serious pressure from the Thomastown defence, and appearing to have little space to get his effort away. The next Dicksboro attack, almost resulted in a second goal, had it not been for the alertness of Thomastown keeper McNena. Harry Shine, collected the ball close to the end line, before heading towards goal, only to be thwarted by the netminder. Shine didn’t dwell on the miss, and on 16 minutes he converted another free, to leave the ‘Boro up by 3 at the first water break, 1-5 to 0-5.
When play resumed, Peter McDonald showed that he was in fact human, when he missed from a placed ball. Soon after McDonald strode forward before off-loading to wing-back Naoise Dempsey, who with the wind behind him, struck from far-out the pitch, only to see his speculative effort drift wide. Thomastown then nearly hit the net, but were denied by a good save from ‘Boro keeper, Brian Minogue. Luckily for the attacking side, referee Cahill was playing a good advantage, and despite the save, pulled the play back and awarded the free, which McDonald scored from, to reduce the deficit to just two points.
Despite playing against a very strong wind, Harry Shine then pointed from a long-range free, before his full-forward Nick Doheny pointed, following superb build-up play from his fellow Dicksboro forwards. From the resulting puck-out, Peter McDonald ran onto the breaking ball before striking a stunning effort left-handed which was well-received by the Thomastown supporters in attendance. Shine then pointed from another free, some 50 yards out, before his nemesis McDonald did likewise as the first period entered stoppage time. There would still be time for one more score from Thomastown, when centre-forward Luke Connellan fired over a lovely point to leave just 2-points between the sides at the short whistle, the ‘Boro 1-8, Thomastown 0-9.
The second half was only a minute old when Shine took a nice pass from James Carroll, but pulled his effort just wide of the post. Nick Doheny then played a lovely ball to Eoin Dalton, who duly slotted between the posts for the first score of the second period. The next goal chance came shortly afterwards. Liam Moore who had been getting on lots of ball in the first half, collected the ball before heading straight down the middle of the pitch towards goal. When he got to the 21-yard line, he unleashed a pile-driver of a shot, which smashed against the crossbar and rebounded to safety.
Thomastown, now playing against the wind, got their first score of the half when McDonald and their only other scorer, Luke Connellan exchanged passes, to allow the former to point from about 50 yards out on the left-hand side. Six minutes into the half, Dicksboro defender Liam Treacy was pulled-up for a tug on the attacker’s arm, and McDonald punished the indiscretion by pointing the placed ball.
Michael Walsh then looked to his bench to freshen things up, Sean Maher replaced Eoin Dalton and would make some telling contributions in the remainder of the final. Dicksboro then moved the ball through the lines before passing to Aaron Murphy, who struck a beautiful worked point.
It appeared that Dicksboro were now employing a 2-man full-forward line, leaving just Cillian Hackett and Aaron Murphy inside. The hard-working Nick Doheny along with Liam Moore and Harry Shine were all roaming from much deeper positions and getting on plenty of possessions.
After some carless play in the Thomastown defence, substitute Sean Maher pounced on the loose ball and pointed, leaving the ‘Boro 3-points ahead, 1-11 to 0-11. From the next play, referee Cahill awarded a free to Thomastown, which Peter McDonald stood over, a long way from the Dicksboro posts. To his credit, he had the distance, but unfortunately not the accuracy and his effort went behind and wide, as the whistle sounded for the second water break.
The Dicksboro mentors must have had some inspiring words for their players, as they would go on to outscore their opponents 2-6 to 0-3 during the final period. Aaron Murphy got on the ball and stuck a nice pass to Sean Maher, who notched his second score his entering the fray. The deadly Harry Shine then effortlessly popped over another free, to extend his sides lead to 5 points, 1-13 to 0-11.
Thomastown appeared to be finding it even more difficult against the wind, to manufacture scoring opportunities, compared to the ‘Boro in the first half. Some nice play between Luke Connellan and Zach Bay Hammond, ended with the latter striking over a well-worked point, but almost immediately, Dicksboro hit back. Substitute Mikey Raggett played a nice pass to Liam Moore, who struck a great point.
If the 5-point lead wasn’t enough, Dicksboro made sure shortly afterwards. On 52 minutes, influential midfielder James Carroll picked up the ball before hitting his corner-forward, Cillian Hackett with a lovely pass. Hackett worked his way along the end line, before picking out Aaron Murphy who finished to the net from close range, to extinguish any remaining faint hopes of Thomastown glory. The man that started the move for the ‘Boro’s second goal, James Carroll, then got on the score board when he collected a pass from Hackett, before pointing.
The ‘Boro were rampant. Another goal chance came, this time it fell to Cillian Hackett, who saw his goal-bound effort blocked and put behind for a ‘65, which Shine struck over. Peter McDonald continued his one-man battle and struck from another placed ball. It was goals that his side needed, but the Dicksboro defence, led by Niall Rowe and Stevie Dermody continued to stand firm as they had done throughout the game.
Dicksboro final point would come from substitute, Mikey Raggett, their 17th of the game. Thomastown were then awarded a free, which captain, Peter McDonald attempted to goal from, but his fierce effort was deflected over by keeper Minogue. Harry Shine then put the icing on the cake, when he picked up a loose ball before rifling past Luke McNena for his side’s third major of the day. The hard-working Naoise Dempsey then took a nice pass on the run before registering the final score of the game.
The long whistle then sounded; Michael Walsh’s team were U19 County Champions.
Final Score: Dicksboro 3-17, Thomastown 0-15.
>> SHERRY SAYS………..
This is a mighty fine Dicksboro team. Harry Shine and Liam Moore will take many of the plaudits, but for me, it was maybe lesser-known names that caught the eye in their sides win over a gallant Thomastown outfit.
Under the watchful eye of their No.3, Niall Rowe, the Dicksboro defence gave away very little to the opposition. For me, the performance of corner-back, Stevie Dermody was phenomenal. I lost count of the number of balls he won over the course of the game.
The half-back line of Charlie Nolan, Tom Carroll and the hugely talented Timmy Clifford controlled proceedings. This allowed midfielder James Carroll to get on lots of ball and pick some great passes to the danger men inside. Cillian Hackett was a constant menace throughout.
Some of this panel will be involved in the county U20’s panel next season, and that can only bode well for Mr. Lyng & Co.
A word on the performance of Thomastown captain and midfielder, Peter McDonald. This young man has all the qualities to be a future senior star. His placed ball accuracy was exceptional. His drive and ability to get up and down the pitch was great. He never gave up. He will have a big role to play in getting his club into the senior ranks again.
Comhghairdeas Dicksboro. A well-deserved victory.
*Last week we carried a match report on the senior camogie county final. The report was written by Aoife Lanigan & edited by our sports editor. Apologies for any confusion caused.