DANESFORT, winners of the Leinster and All-Ireland junior club titles in the past, took a confident first step in the provincial intermediate club hurling championship when they scored a big win in their opening engagement on Sunday.
The dark and dreary conditions of Tailteann Park, Navan were lit up by newly crowned All-Stars Richie Hogan and Paul Murphy against Kildlakey (Meath).
Richie Hogan was on fire up front, bagging 0-12 of Danesfort’s total while Paul Murphy marshalled everything in defence. The contribution from this dynamic duo, combined with an excellent all round team performance, earned Danesfort passage through to the Leinster semi-final against Mt Leinster Rangers (Carlow).
Kildalkey were no push over. They fired everything that was in the tank at the opposition in the early stages. First blood was drawn by the Meath men with a point from free by star forward, Noel Kirby. Richie Hogan replied almost immediately with a pointed free.
Kept in touch
Kildalkey had another point in the 9th minute from midfielder Tony Fox. However, Danesfort replied with three quick points in succession from Oisín Daly, Stephen Duncan and a Richie Hogan free. Kirby kept his side in touch with another long range free in the 15th minute.
In a day of storms, it was the Danesfort defence which weathered the Kildalkey offensive with Tony Woodcock clearing his line time and again with an excellent display of fielding skills, helped in no small measure by a tenacious Gavin O’Keefe and Liam Forristal, who has returned from injury having missed the local championship.
Hogan added a point from a 20th minute free before Paul Murphy made an inspirational run from his own half back line before shooting a score from 30 metres. Hogan and Kirby swopped scores in the closing stages of the half, with Hogan registering another point just before the whistle having got on the end of an Oisín Daly pass.
These exchanges left the half-time score at 0-8 to 0-4 in favour of Danesfort.
The losers let rip after the turn and they forced the ball across the line from a melee in the Danesfort square. A Noel Kirby free levelled matters in the 36th minute and it seemed to be game on with the local supporters becoming more vociferous and really getting behind their team.
Defence to fore
However, the Danesfort defence came to the fore with Philly Walsh and Michael Cunningham obliterating their opposition and Oisín Daly commanding everything that broke around midfield. Danesfort then hit a purple patch. They slammed over seven unanswered points between the 38th and 48th minute.
Richie Hogan ran riot. He put his name on six of the scores, Oisín Daly was the other contributor.
In the final stages Kildalkey were chasing a lost cause. They had no answer to the power of a full-blooded Danesfort team performance.
Richie Hogan, Paul Murphy and Robbie Walsh, who had a blistering second half, closed out the game by shooting good points. Kildlakey hit back for two points before the final whistle to leaving Danesfort comfortable winners.
Danesfort - F. Manogue, P. Walsh, Ciaran Treacy, M. Cunningham, T. Woodcock, P. Murphy (0-2), G. O’Keeffe, L. Forristal, B. O’Connor, D. Forristal, O. Daly (0-2), S. Duncan (0-1), D. Booth, R. Hogan (0-12, six frees), R. Walsh (0-1). Subs - Cillian Treacy for D. Forristal; P. Forristal for S. Duncan.
Referee - Pat Murphy (Carlow).