Goals win games, they say, and one in each half helped significantly when O’Loughlin Gaels put the disappointment of an opening round defeat behind them to beat Dicksboro by 2-15 to 0-13 in the senior hurling league.
Both sides entered the contest at Nowlan Park on Saturday hurt by injuries, writes John Knox. However, the enforced reshuffle left the Gaels with that bit more in hand, and after Mark Bergin converted a 65 to earn them the lead (0-2 to 0-1) in the ninth minute they led all the way home.
The ’Boro, losing championship finalists last season, are now two down in terms of results and they are not playing well.
This wasn’t a high class affair, yet their good performers were few and far between with Michael Fagan and Ollie Walsh about the only two who could be satisfied with their contribution.
Improved their position
After the Bergin lead point mentioned above, O’Loughlin’s improved their position with a contribution from the lively Jack Nolan, who was gifted a score when picking up a wayward clearance by a ’Boro defender. The first goal arrived next.
The telling move was started by Kilkenny star, Brian Hogan, who was sited at centre-back having played at full in the previous game. Hogan made a strong burst up the field from the city end, and beyond midfield laid off the ball to county panellist, Mark Kelly.
Tore through defence
The latter tore through the opposing defence, and sent a vicious dipping shot into the bottom right corner of the losers net.
The losers were 0-1 to 1-3 behind. By half-time they were no better or worse off when the score was 1-8 to 0-6.
However, Dicksboro had failed, despite being backed by the wind, to put any meaningful pressure on the opposition. O’Loughlin’s on the other hand looked more threatening. They went close to scoring a second goal in the 21st minute when David Burke brought a spectacular diving save from ’keeper, Aaron Duggan, at the expense of a 65.
The second half action opened with a point for O’Loughlin’s from under-21 player, David Burke, who literally ran riot during this period. He walked off with 1-4 to his credit, all claimed during this half.
Martin Gaffney and Burke, and then Ollie Walsh and Mark Bergin (free) all traded scores as the losers showed a bit more drive. Heading towards the end of the quarter they had made no headway, with the score now 1-12 to 0-9.
When Dicksboro put three scores together through Tom Manning and Martin Gaffney at the double by the 48th minute they looked threatening for a brief period. Then goal No. 2 buried them.
David Burke was the one who produced the killer strike. He followed up on a vicious drive by Mark Kelly which the goalie did well to block, but Burke punched home the loose ball form close range.
With the score at 2-12 to 0-11 it was game over, and the good work of Brian Hogan, Kelly, Burke, Paddy Butler, Niall Bergin and Mark Bergin had earned just reward.
Scorers: O’Loughlin Gaels – Mark Bergin (0-9, seven frees, two 65s’); David Burke (1-4); Mark Kelly (1-0); Paddy Butler, Jack Nolan (0-1 each). Dicksboro – Martin Gaffney (0-7, frees); Ollie Walsh (0-3); Tom Manning, John Fagan, Cillian Buckley (0-1 each).
O’Loughlin Gaels – Stephen Murphy, Eoghan Grant, Anthony Forristal, Eddie Kearns, Jason Quay, Brian Hogan, Niall Bergin, Paddy Butler, Jack Nolan, Sheamie Cummins, Mark Bergin, Niall McEvoy, David Burke, Mark Kelly, Martin Comerford. Subs – Daniel Lenihan, Alan Geoghegan, Shane Parsons, Brian Dowling.
Dicksboro – Aaron Duggan, Kieran Cuddihy, Danny Kenny, Enda Malone, Michael Fagan, David Glynn, Kevin Nolan, John Fagan, Ollie Walsh, Martin Gaffney, Cillian Buckley, Tom Manning, Cillian Starr, Shane Maher, Derek O’Gorman. Subs – Eoin Fennelly, Mikey Hayes.
Referee – Eugene Ryan (Fenians).