IT WAS fourth time lucky as far as Dicksboro were concerned, but the city side had Eddie O’Donoghue to thank for finally notching up a win in the senior hurling league.
Midfielder O’Donoghue grabbed 1-9 as the ’Boro got the better of Tullaroan, another side chasing their maiden win in the competition, in Freshford on Sunday evening. Eight of his haul came from frees, but it was another placed ball score that proved decisive.
Both sides were still in the hunt for the spoils after 50 minutes when Michael Rafter launched a long free towards the dressing-room end posts. Adrian Stapleton did well to catch the delivery, but was hauled down before he could shoot.
Standing over the penalty, O’Donoghue could have taken his point to stretch his side’s lead to four. He didn’t entertain the thought, aiming low and firing an unstoppable shot to the Tullaroan net.
Mountain to climb
It wasn’t game over by any stretch, but a six-point deficit (1-16 to 0-13) with less than ten minutes left gave Tullaroan a big mountain to climb.
The game had almost started in a similar fashion for Tullaroan, who took their time to settle. A hat-trick from Eddie O’Donoghue left them three points down after six minutes before Martin Walsh opened their account with a point.
Although they had some good spells – Mark Walsh’s point came at the end of an excellent passing move involving Stephen Maher, Martin and Tommy Walsh – Tullaroan found themselves chasing the game by the 22nd minute.
Playing with conviction, the ’Boro scrapped for their scores. Led by midfielders Derek O’Gorman and O’Donoghue they drove at Tullaroan. David Ryan (0-2) and Adrian Stapleton profited at the end of some good moves, while O’Donoghue also bagged some frees to go five clear with eight minutes to go until half-time.
Tullaroan tried hard to whittle that gap down, grabbing points through Jimmy Coogan and Stephen Maher, but every time they tacked on a point Dicksboro hit back in similar fashion. Ollie Walsh led the charge, hitting a good point after swiping possession from a cluster of Tullaroan players. Paul O’Flynn and Mark Walsh swapped injury-time points, but that still left the city side five clear (0-12 to 0-7).
Dicksboro looked confident at the start of the second half, but they encountered a stubborn Tullaroan.
Chasing the game they upped the ante, hitting the ’Boro with four swift points, the pick of which saw the fleet-footed Martin Walsh sidestep his marker and split the scoreboard end uprights.
The city side were troubled by that run – they made life even tougher on themselves by conceding frees which allowed the Tullaroan defence to relieve pressure – but they did enough to keep their noses in front, courtesy of Martin Gaffney and Adrian Stapleton, who shook off a first half injury to get back into the game.
Brink of victory
That O’Donoghue penalty pushed Dicksboro to the brink of victory, but Tullaroan weren’t finished yet. Although two more O’Donoghue frees left them chasing a seven-point game they refused to yield. Martin Walsh gave them hope when he diverted a Stephen Maher 65 past ’Boro ’keeper Cillian Breathnach, but it was too little too late. SCORERS: Dicksboro – Eddie O’Donoghue (1-9, 0-8 frees, 1-0 pen); David Ryan, Adrian Stapleton, Paul O’Flynn (0-2 each); Derek O’Gorman, Ollie Walsh, Martin Gaffney (0-1 each). Tullaroan – Martin Walsh (1-2); Mark Walsh (0-4); Jimmy Coogan (0-3, 0-2 frees); Stephen Maher (0-3, frees); Tommy Walsh, Padraig Walsh (0-1 each).
Dicksboro – C. Breathnach, P. Henderson, K. Cuddihy, P. Hogan, K. Nolan, M. Fagan, M. Rafter, D. O’Gorman, M. Gaffney, T. Manning, E. O’Donoghue, O. Walsh, A. Stapleton, P. O’Flynn, D. Ryan. Subs: C. Starr for Stapleton, Stapleton for Manning.
Tullaroan – R. Holland, E. Campion, M. Maher, R. Cleere, K. Coogan, S. Maher, D. Dowling, C. Kenny, Martin Walsh, P. Walsh, T. Walsh, Mark Walsh, J. Coogan, M. Simpson, P. Buggy. Sub: R. Maher for K. Coogan.
Referee – J. Direen (O’Loughlin Gaels).