Games and seasons can come down to very fine lines, and Fenians (Johnstown) could yet regret a lost opportunity on this occasion when all the figures are added up at the end of the senior hurling league/championship season.
The losers ran up a none too healthy 14 wides during this lively contest in Freshford on Friday, and still they were there chasing a win at the finish. It took a brave body block by Dicksboro defender, Kieran Cuddihy, against Fenians sub, Donal Wilson in the dying seconds to stop the losers scoring a goal.
Had Wilson been given a clear view of the target when threatening from 10 metres on the right at the village end, he could easily have scored the goal that would have earned the Fenians an invaluable win in a season that is shaping up to be difficult. Luck was with them when they avoided relegation last season.
Things aren’t looking great for the Northerners now. They are anchored at the foot of the table without a point on the league table.
This was Dicksboro’s second win. That they got it was down, to a large degree, to the brilliance of county star, Cillian Buckley, who was their ‘do everything’ man.
Buckley was the free taker; the line ball taker; the main possession winner. The three scores he registered represented his team’s biggest individual take.
The ’Boro have put wins back-to-back going into the eight week break until round four (July 11/12). With matches to come against Danesfort and James Stephens they have the chance to secure their future in the top flight, at least.
The breeze backed Fenians were busy from the off. With John Broderick and Willie Brennan shading the midfield exchanges, and Conor Tobin slowly finding his way as the free taker, they found themselves 0-6 to 0-1 in front after Tobin landed a huge point from an 80 metre free in the 20th minute.
Think of how well off they might have been? They registered five wides before Willie Brennan landed their first score in the eight minute.
The ’Boro’s lone score during that period was a point from Martin Gaffney, the first one of the match. Shane Maher did test goalie P.J. Ryan on one occasion, but there was little besides in terms of a threat up front from the city side.
The winners made late gains through Cillian Starr (2), when first placed by Buckley and then after he ran on to an inch perfect pass from Shane Maher.
They were vital gains, and they cut the interval deficit to 0-3 to 0-6 when things could have been a lot worse.
Within six minutes of the change around the Fenians advantage was wiped out by their rivals. Buckley, Paul O’Flynn, after a lovely delivery from star defender, Michael Fagan, and Ollie Walsh scored to make it a level game at 0-6 each.
The next four scores were equally divided. In the 46th minute Dicksboro struck for home. Shane Maher snapped up a goal after dogged defending by Fenians kept out his initial effort, and also an attempt by Martin Gaffney (1-8 to 0-8).
A neat point from Ollie Walsh added impetus to the winners efforts, but they enjoyed luck at the other end when Mark Webster crashed a shot against an upright before Donal Wilson blasted the rebound wide.
Cillian Buckley led the ’Boro into safer territory when he ran on to a pass from Danny Kenny before pointing, and he added the last score too following a foul on Paul O’Flynn.
The Fenians mined a late goal through Conor Tobin (free) following a foul on J.J. Delaney, who joined the attack. Their late bid to get even more from the game was beaten off, however.
SCORERS: Dicksboro - Cillian Buckley (0-3, one free); Shane Maher (1-0); Cillian Starr, Paul O’Flynn, Ollie Walsh (0-2 each); Oisin Walsh, Martin Gaffney (0-1 each). Fenians - Conor Tobin (1-4, goal free, three points frees); Willie Brennan (0-2); John Broderick (0-2, one free); Diarmuid Broderick (0-1).
Dicksboro - Aaron Duggan, Kieran Cuddihy, David Glynn, Robbie Fitzpatrick, Michael Fagan, Danny Kenny, Enda Malone, Ollie Walsh, Cillian Buckley, Martin Gaffney, Oisin Walsh, Paul O’Flynn, Cillian Starr, Shane Maher, Derek O’Gorman. Sub - Conor Doheny.
Fenians - P.J. Ryan, Eoin Phelan, J.J. Delaney, Luke Hughes, J.P. Grehan, John Henderson, Cathal Ryan, John Broderick, Willie Brennan, Pa Duggan, Conor Tobin, Diarmuid Broderick, Sean Brennan, Danny Dermody, Mark Webster. Subs - Rory Phelan, Donal Wilson.
Referee - Eamon Mansfield (Cloneen).