Underdogs Lisdowney produced a shock result in Freshford on Saturday when they pounded out a good win against highly fancied Dicksboro in the North under-21 hurling championship Roinn A, the score being 1-9 to 0-11, writes Jim Buggy.
The city team contested the minor and senior finals in recent weeks, and many believed the momentum would help carry them through to the next round. However, with Cillian Buckley and Kevin Kenny missing, the ’Boro attack lacked a cutting edge.
Lisdowney gave an inspired performance to clinch their place in the semi-final, the darting Kevin Sweeney and the sweet striking Aaron Fogarty playing huge parts in their progression. It was Fogarty who pointed the game’s first score from a placed ball. Dicksboro struggled to convert from the start, hitting five wides in the opening six minutes.
Darragh Buggy fired over the ’Boro’s first, his pace taking him away from the Lisdowney defence. Michael Kenny replied, using some great skill to round his marker and slot the ball over the bar. Fogarty landed a long range free but Darragh Buggy was looking sharp, his second point and his second attempt splitting the posts.
Lisdowney were on top, however. Their centre-back, Sean Phelan struck a great score from distance before Fogarty converted his third free. Martin Gaffney, who had struggled on the frees thus far, pointed with a well worked move before a booming free by Fogarty went straight between the posts from all of 90 yards.
He added another soon after and Lisdowney were four in front. Dicksboro tried to close the gap coming up to the interval, but their volley of shots never seemed to find goal. This meant that Lisdowney held onto their lead at the break, up by seven points to Dicksboro’s three.
The winners whirlwind performance in the first half caught Dicksboro unawares, and Lisdowney had taken full advantage of the surprise. Kevin Sweeney was controlling the attack from midfield, his work rate matched only by Dicksboro’s Ollie Walsh. Just two of the ’Boro players had scored, with a large number of wides being racked up in that half.
The losers started the second half brighter. Martin Gaffney pointed from a close range free. Sweeney was fouled and Fogarty then pointed. Ollie Walsh responded quickly with a tidy strike. Aaron Fogarty gave Lisdowney a huge boost when, after 40 minutes, he caught Laurence Carroll’s sweet delivery and sprinted towards goal.
His bouncing shot skidded into the bottom right corner of the net, putting his side six ahead. Point by point, Dicksboro fought their way back into the game. Gaffney firstly converting a placed ball. Kevin Nolan shot over with Ollie Walsh winning and converting a free soon after. Martin Gaffney shot over again.
There was just two between them. A Fogarty free gave Lisdowney some breathing space, but Dicksboro were hot on their trail. Walsh was now dominating the middle third, but their forwards still weren’t scoring. Walsh converted another free, having assumed responsibility from Gaffney.
With time almost up, Walsh tried to drop in a free from afar, his shot dropped precariously over the bar, however, much to Lisdowney’s relief. His attempt a minute later from a difficult free on the sideline when the ball sailed narrowly wide was desperately unlucky, meaning that Lisdowney earned an impressive victory.
Having never relinquished the lead from the 10th minute, Lisdowney were deserved winners in what was a hard fought and physical contest, as can be expected in the freezing cold and biting wind of November.
Lisdowney - Eoin Walsh, Michael Lennon, Niall Kenny, Ciaran Bergin, Eoin Lyons, Sean Phelan, Pat Carroll (0-1), Laurence Carroll, Kevin Sweeney, Michael Kenny (0-1), George Healy, Jamie Bergin, Edward Kenny, Aaron Fogarty (1-7, seven points frees), Jack Dunphy.
Dicksboro - Aaron Duggan, Mikey Hayes, Danny Kenny, Evan Cody, Jamie Lynch, David Glynn, Rory Glynn, Ollie Walsh (0-4, three frees), Robbie Fitzpatrick, Eoin Gough, Martin Gaffney (0-4, three frees),
Kevin Nolan (0-1), Stephen Farrell, Jessie Waters, Darragh Buggy (0-2).