Both sides danced around but neither could land the knock-out blow to pull away in this airtight fourth round senior hurling game, writes Jim Buggy.
A Richie Hogan inspired Danesfort looked good throughout, but it was Dicksboro who started brighter as Ollie Walsh opened the scoring. Danesfort weren’t long in responding. They took the lead in some style.
The potent Richie Hogan caught the ball at full-forward and promptly hung it up in the top corner of Darragh Holohan’s net. Hogan pointed a free and Danesfort were three ahead in the blink of an eye.
Ollie Walsh and Paul O’Flynn combined for the latter to score a point. Richie Hogan turned playmaker as he found Cathal O’Neill with a swinging cross field delivery, creating space for the centre forward to fire over.
It was the younger Gaffney brother, Andrew, who engineered the game’s second goal. He struck a ball into the square, and the formidable Shane Maher forced it over the line in a scramble.
Richie Hogan responded, and moved to wing forward, he won and pointed a free. An excellent ’Boro move put them back in front as Stephen Farrell executed the final strike.
Hogan and O’Flynn traded equally impressive scores, and a point by Robert Walsh drew the sides level for the fourth time. A brace of frees from Richie Hogan put Danesfort two ahead in an entertaining first half.
Evan Cody had charged forward at every chance, and another gallop form corner back set up Shane Maher for the final score of the half. Danesfort led at the break by 1-9 to 1-8. All their attacking play was going through Richie Hogan.
Only one of their 10 scores had not involved the Kilkenny star.
It was Hogan who kicked off the second half, winning and pointing a free before setting up corner forward Cillian Treacy to slot over. Dicksboro looked unsettled as the second half began, and a number of wides made them uneasy.
It was Shane Maher who pulled them out of the slump with a well taken effort 10 minutes in. A foul on Treacy allowed Hogan to point, but the second half action looked much slower than the first.
Dicksboro looked flat and their opponents were taking advantage of it, none more so than Cathal O’Neill who raced through to grab his third point. Andrew Gaffney had assumed the free taking duties from Cillian Buckley, and the rangy forward duly pointed his first in the 48th minute.
Richie Hogan wriggled through the ’Boro defence once more but was taken down and awarded a 20 metre free which put his side 1-14 to 1-10 ahead with only 10 left.
Stephen Farrell quickly reduced the deficit once more as he caught Darragh Holohans dropping puck-out and swiftly pointed. An effort form Shane Maher looked to be a certain goal but his shot cannoned off the post and substitute Kevin Kenny fired over.
Shane Maher had been Dicksboro’s biggest threat all afternoon, and his touch was perfect as he took the ball down well to point and leave a single score between the teams.
Richie Hogan added a free with four minutes remaining, and that proved to be their final score of the game as they struggled to retain possession therafter.
Two frees by Gaffney levelled the sides for the fifth and final time. The fate of both will rest on their final games, with the ’Boro facing James Stephens and Danesfort in against Erin’s Own.
Scorers: Danesfort - Richie Hogan: (1-10, 0-9 frees); Cathal O’Neill (0-3); Cillian Treacy, Robert Walsh (0-1 each). Dicksboro - Shane Maher (1-3); Andrew Gaffney (0-5, 0-3 frees); Paul O’Flynn, Stephen Farrell (0-2 each); Kevin Kenny, Ollie Walsh, (0-1 each); Cillian Buckley (0-1, free).
Danesfort - Patrick Tynan, Gavin O’Keeffe, Liam Forristal, Darren Booth, Tony Woodcock, Paddy Hogan, Philip Walsh, Jim Phelan, Paul Murphy, David Forristal, Cathal O’Neill, Richie Hogan, Cillian Treacy, Robert Walsh, Oisin Daly. Subs - Paddy Hickey, Colm Phelan.
Dicksboro - Darragh Holohan, Evan Cody, Kieran Cuddihy, Robbie Fitzpatrick, Michael Fagan, Danny Kenny, Eoin Gough, Ollie Walsh, Cillian Buckley, Martin Gaffney, Oisin Walsh, Paul O’Flynn, Stephen Farrell, Shane Maher, Andrew Gaffney. Subs - Kevin Kenny, Conor Doheny.