IT WAS a contest up to about the 40th minute mark and then O’Loughlin Gaels simply cut loose in spectacular fashion before racing away to score their second win in the senior hurling league, writes John Knox.
The teams were together at 0-13 each at Nowlan Park on Sunday before O’Loughlin’s worked a dream move to edge back in front. Brian Hogan fielded a short dropping ’Boro free over the head of ’keeper, Stephen Murphy on the goal line.
The Kilkenny star transferred possession quickly to Eddie Kearns, who in turn transferred to busy midfielder, Alan Geoghegan, who directed the ball to point scorer, Martin Comerford (0-14 to 0-13) in front of the opposing goal. Without a ’Boro man touching the ball, the winners worked it the full length of the field.
It was match winning time for O’Loughlin’s. During the following six minutes the losers coughed up two goals to Danny Loughnane (44th and 48th minutes) and a very good point from 55 metres on the left sideline to Mark Bergin.
From a position where things had been all square, wind assisted O’Loughlin’s had suddenly sprinted 2-16 to 0-13 clear. The game was over!
No warning of collapse
The close first half exchanges hadn’t warned of a collapse or take over by either side as parity was shared four times during the opening quarter, and a mere two points separated them at the rest.
The ’Boro, with the help of five points – four frees – from the sweet striking Martin Gaffney and three each from Derek O’Gorman and Oisin Walsh, their best players, showed in front at the rest. That trio, plus Ollie Walsh, had put in a good shift, but generally they lacked a cutting edge.
When O’Loughlin’s got use of the wind they befriended it quickly. While Eoin Geogh extended the ’Boro lead with an early point, O’Loughlin’s were back on terms by the 33rd minute thanks to scores from Mark Bergin (free), Mark Kelly, a very fine effort from 55 metres on the left sideline, and Martin Comerford (0-12).
Jack Nolan worked the ball in nicely from the right corner before shooting O’Loughlin’s in front, but they were reeled in by a reply from Gaffney following a foul on Oisin Walsh (0-13 each).
The game was nicely poised, or so we though. Within minutes it was all over, the power hurling of Brian Hogan, Alan Geoghegan, who struck an ocean of ball at midfield, Eoghan Grant, Mark Kelly, Martin Comerford and 12-point man Mark Bergin grinding the ’Boro into submission.
The O’Loughlin’s defence bolted the shutters, as a Dicksboro take of one point during the closing 20 minutes would suggest. In the end the big victory came much easier than expected for O’Loughlin’s, which had to be the most disturbing aspect as far as those trying to plot a course forward for the ’Boro are concerned.
Scorers: O’Loughlin Gaels – Mark Bergin (0-12, 11 frees); Danny Loughnane (2-0); Conor Bergin, Brian Dowling, Martin Comerford (0-2 each); Mark Kelly, Jack Nolan (0-1 each). Dicksboro – Martin Gaffney (0-7, six frees); Oisin Walsh, Derek O’Gorman (0-3 each); Eoin Geogh (0-1 each).
O’Loughlin Gaels – Stephen Murphy, Alan O’Brien, Andy Kearns, Eddie Kearns, Eoghan Grant, Brian Hogan, Niall Bergin, Alan Geoghegan, Mark Bergin, Brian Dowling, Mark Kelly, Conor Bergin, Jack Nolan, Martin Comerford, Danny Loughnane. Subs – David Burke for M. Comerford; Davy Broderick for Loughnane; Paddy Butler for N. Bergin.
Dicksboro – Cillian Breathnach, Danny Kenny, Kieran Cuddihy, Michael Fagan, David Glynn, Cillian Buckley, Enda Malone, Martin Gaffney, Ollie Walsh, Derek O’Gorman, Oisin Walsh, Paul O’Flynn, Cillian Starr, Shane Maher, Eoin Geogh. Subs – Kevin Kenny for Starr; Tom Manning for Maher; Philly Hogan for Oisin Walsh.
Referee – Maurice Flynn (Mooncoin).