FORMER Kilkenny star, Martin Comerford proved to be the heart-breaker in this city derby and a fine first half take of 2-1 by the roving attacker piled the agony on relegation haunted Dicksboro in the senior hurling league in Nowlan Park on Saturday.
Victory earned championship kings, O’Loughlin’s runners-up spot in the table and a place in the Shield final against St Martin’s (Muckalee).
The winners hit the front as early as the sixth minute, and they led all the way home from there. The ’Boro held the lead twice during the opening minutes thanks to scores from Eddie O’Donoghue and David Ryan, but Comerford soon put a stop to their gallop.
The towering full-forward shot his first goal in the sixth minute to put his side 1-2 to 0-2 ahead. While the teams swopped points after that, O’Loughlin’s began to open up a bit of a lead when Mark Bergin (2) and Brian Hogan added points.
The ’Boro halted the slide when Ollie Walsh pulled back a good point in the 16th minute (1-5 to 0-4), but the recovery was only temporary.
The easy moving O’Loughlin’s, who inter-changed their forces almost at will without interrupting their fluency, plundered two more scores through the neat striking Mark Bergin and Maurice Nolan to keep a firm grip on things.
Even at this early stage Dicksboro looked under a lot of pressure. The opposition continued to pile up the points.
In the 27th minute Martin Comerford got through for his second goal which carried his team in a very strong interval lead of 2-11 to 0-7.
The scoring rate dropped after the change, but things didn’t improve all that much for the losers, who added a mere three points. O’Loughlin’s always looked to be playing within themselves, especially so after Danny Loughnane shot their third goal in the 45th minute.
By that stage the divide had stretched to a serious 3-14 to 0-8. It was game over for intermediate champions, Dicksboro, who face a tough battle to avoid the drop.
Scorers: O’Loughlin Gaels – Martin Comerford (2-2); Mark Bergin (0-5); Maurice Nolan (0-3); Danny Loughnane (1-0); Conor Bergin, Mark Kelly (0-2 each); Brian Hogan, Alan Geoghegan (0-1 each). Dicksboro – Eddie O’Donoghue (0-4); Ollie Walsh (0-4); David Ryan (0-2).
O’Loughlin-Gaels – Stephen Murphy, Brian Kelly, Brian Hogan, Eddie Kearns, Alan O’Brien, Andy Kearns, Niall Bergin, Mark Kelly, Maurice Nolan, Alan Geoghegan, Mark Bergin, Niall McEvoy, Conor Bergin, Martin Comerford, Danny Loughnane. Subs –
Dicksboro – Cillian Breathnach, Michael Rafter, Kieran Cuddihy, Philip Hogan, Kevin Rafter, Michael Fagan, Enda Malone, Derek O’Gorman, Ollie Walsh, Paul O’Flynn, Tom Manning, Eddie O’Donoghue, Cillian Starr, Adrian Stapleton, David Ryan. Subs – Conor O’Loughlin, Evan Guilfoyle, Michael Hayes, Conor Maharaj.
Referee – Eamon Mansfield (Cloneen).