A TREMENDOUS goal, in creation and execution, by young Dicksboro forward, Kevin Kenny in the 41st minute all but finished this first round senior hurling championship game in Thomastown on Sunday as a competitive spectacle, as the ’Boro won by 2-15 to 0-12, writes Barrie Henriques.
For sure there was still life in the game, and there were still huge blobs of great enthusiasm, but as a contest the edge was dulled by Kenny’s goal. Up to that Dunnamaggin had some hope. They had a doggedness that created a nervousness within Dicksboro. But that lead somehow or other was considered by many neutrals, and probably many Dunnamaggin supporters, as a wall to high to climb.
I was well impressed by this young Dicksboro outfit as they took the game to Dunnamaggin with great courage, and not too little skill. Their half-back line of Mick Fagan, David Glynn and Robbie Fitzpatrick were immensely positive and focussed under the huge David Herity puck-outs. Young Fitzpatrick, though small in stature, and very young as well grew into the game with every strident step. He even surpassed his first half display with his workload in the second.
Looked the part
At midfield, the winners had Cillian Buckley. The senior All-Ireland medal winner looked every inch a MacCarthy Cup winner. His determination, pace and get-out-of-jail card qualities were immense. Always available to colleagues, always willing to travel the hard yards, he never hesitated. He is one hell of an athlete.
Many of the same qualities could be laid on the mat in front of Michael Fagan’s doorstep. He too was outstanding.
The most glaring difference between the sides was the abilities or lack of ability to score when in a position to do so. Dunnamaggin had four points from seven forwards, while the ’Boro had 2-13. Martin Gaffney drilled over 1-10, which included two 65s and six frees. The majority of the frees did come from fouls on Dicksboro forwards.
The Dunnamaggin defence was well marshalled by Noel and Canice Hickey. William Phelan and Mark Dowling put in strong shifts, as did Mark Heffernan and Aidan Donovan, but the incessant pressure was inevitably going to take its toll, and did. The first major crack in the defence was seen when Gaffney was sent through by a Buckley flick. His pace took him clear in on goal, and his finish was clinical.
The game flowed with plenty of goalmouth excitement at both ends, and by half-time the winners were only four points to the good when the long feadóg sounded. The Boro first half nervousness dissipated in the second half the minute the ball was fired in.
Did his best
Paul Flynn and Gaffney extended the lead to seven points before we had the Kenny goal. Kenny Moore was trying his best at midfield for Dunna’. Noel Hickey moved out from full-back. Canice Hickey did his best to batten down the hatches. It was all but a fantasy.
Dunnamaggin got their first score in the second half in the 43rd minute. They were never going to win with their biggest threat coming from the midfield. Gaffney and Flynn bagged a few more to complete a fine win for the lads in maroon.
The ’Boro are a nice young team, and now that the dreaded plague of relegation has been parked, their enthusiasm and youthful naivety could take them a step further. Dunnamaggin face the trauma of trying to survive when they face Danesfort in a relegation battle. That is not an easy ask. Their defenders is as good as what is around. Midfielders Kenny Moore and Andrew Hickey will battle, but up front they need big games from a few players like Kieran Bergin, Seoghan O’Neill and Seanie Connery.
Scorers: Dicksboro - Martin Gaffney (1-10, six frees, one penalty, two 65s’); Kevin Kenny (1-1); Paul O’Flynn (0-3); Cillian Buckley (0-1). Dunnamaggin - Ken Moore (0-5, three frees); Canice Hickey (0-2, frees); Seoghan O’Neill (0-2); Willie Phelan, Darren Fitzpatrick, Noel Lahert (0-1 each).
Dicksboro - Aaron Duggan, Kieran Cuddihy, Danny Kenny, Enda Malone, Michael Fagan, David Glynn, Robbie Fitzpatrick, Cillian Buckley, John Fagan, Martin Gaffney, Ollie Walsh, Kevin Kenny, Oisin Walsh, Shane Maher, Paul O’Flynn. Subs - Davy Ryan for O. Walsh (45 mins); Killian Star for K. Kenny (58 mins).
Dunnamaggin - David Herity, Mark Dowling, Noel Hickey, Mark Heffernan, Willie Phelan, Canice Hickey, Aidan Donovan, Andrew Hickey, Ken Moore, Kieran Bergin, Sean Connery, Darren Fitzpatrick, Seoghan O’Neill, Noel Lahert, Peter Kenneally. Subs - Paul Kirwan for S. Connery (39 mins); Paddy Delaney for P. Kenneally (28 mins).
Referee - G. Quilty (Slieverue).