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18th Sep 2023

Pat Gilroy works the oracle once more as he steers his home club to Dublin senior hurling semi-final


The final group matches in the Go-Ahead Dublin Senior 1 Hurling Championship took place on Saturday afternoon with St Vincent’s claiming top spot in Group 2 following their comfortable 3-26 to 1-13 win over Faughs at O’Toole Park.

The win secured a semi-final berth for the Marino outfit, who were in control from the opening whistle, with John Hetherton accruing fourteen points over the hour for Vinnies.

Hetherton and James O’Brien exchanged points in the early stages before St Vincent’s opened up a lead thanks to points from James Mulcahy, Daniel Peel, Conor Burke and Hetherton.

Liam Mostyn and Conor O’Shea kept the Faughs deficit at a manageable level as the half progressed but a goal from Darach McBride just before the break extended the Vinnies lead to 1-16 to 0-7 by the turnaround.

It was Hetherton that heaped further misery on Faughs as he converted five frees early in the second-half, to augment three points from substitute Neal Billings, with Rian McBride netting in the 55th minute to enhance his team’s position.

Faughs managed a goal of their own through David Croke approaching added time but Cian McBride followed the lead of his brothers when adding a third goal late on to cement his team’s progress to the last four.

“Yeah, we’re happy. It was a tough group, so to get through to the semi-final directly is great,” said their manager Pat Gilroy to Dubs TV.

“We’ve worked hard on all the games and gradually we’ve been getting better so happy with it.

“It’s good progression from the last day. We were expecting to be in a quarter. It’s probably a four week gap, we’ll get a couple of challenge matches now. The lads love hurling so getting matches is what it’s all about. If you told us at the start of the year, we’d be very happy.”

Meanwhile in Parnell Park, holders Kilmacud Crokes eased into the quarter-finals as they overcame southside rivals Cuala by 2-23 to 0-16.

Fergal Whitely handed them a dream start as he netted inside the opening minute while three points from play by Michael Roche pushed Crokes 1-14 to 0-8 clear by the interval.

Two Liam Murphy points and a Conall O’Toole score offered Cuala brief hopes of a comeback early in the second-half but Whitely pounced for a second goal from Roche’s pass in the 38th minute to effectively settle the issue.

Murphy ended up with eight points to his name but Kilmacud were content to tag on points at regular intervals as Oisin O’Rorke top scored with a personal tally of 0-12.

The curtain-raiser in Donnycarney saw Na Fianna make the most of their numerical advantage when defeating 14-man Ballyboden St Enda’s by 3-15 to 1-16.

The contest was delicately poised approaching the break but a moment of ill-discipline from influential midfielder Niall Ryan was punished with a red card, allowing their opponents to dictate play after the break.

It was Ballyboden that impressed initially through points from Ryan, Niall McMorrow and Aidan Mellett but a sluggish Na Fianna seized the initiative following Sean Currie’s 17th minute goal.

AJ Murphy’s three points from play in the first-half helped Na Fianna trail by just 0-9 to 1-5 at the turnaround and Currie added four points in the third quarter to leave his side six points clear.

A Pearce Christie goal in the 47th minute should have acted as a springboard for a St Enda’s rally but their defence was marked absent from the resultant puck-out with Ciaran Stacey firing home impressively.

Three points by substitute Timmy Hammersley kept Boden in the hunt but an excellent Sean Baxter goal sealed a five-point win for Na Fianna with the margin not large enough to overtake Ballyboden into second place in Group 2.

Those results confirmed that Kilmacud will face Na Fianna in what is a repeat of the last two county finals while Ballyboden will encounter Cuala, as teams look to join St Vincent’s and Lucan Sarsfields in the last four.

The final match in Group 1 helped decide the relegation play-off pairings as St Brigid’s and Whitehall Colmcille played out an entertaining 3-17 to 1-23 draw in O’Toole Park.

Cian O’Sullivan netted twice for St Brigid’s but Whitehall stayed in touch thanks to six points from Eoghan O’Donnell and five scores by the impressive Niall O’Connor.

Paddy Spellacy scored the Colmcille goal and with Sean Kellett excelling at the back, Whitehall earned a deserved first point in the group thanks to a late point from Mikey Noonan.

Whitehall will play Faughs in the relegation play-off while St Oliver Plunkett/Eoghan Ruadh will meet St Brigid’s with the losers of both games dropping down to SHC2.

Go-Ahead SHC1 Group 1: Kilmacud Crokes 2-23 Cuala 0-16; Whitehall Colmcille 1-23 St Brigid’s 3-17.

Go-Ahead SHC1 Group 2: Ballyboden St Enda’s 1-16 Na Fianna 3-15; St Vincent’s 3-26 Faughs 1-13.

GO-AHEAD SENIOR 1 QUARTER FINALS: Kilmacud Crokes v Na Fianna; Ballyboden St Endas v Cuala. Lucan Sarsfields & St Vincents progress directly to the semi-finals as group winners.

GO-AHEAD SENIOR 1 RELEGATION PLAYOFFS: Whitehall Colmcille v Faughs; St Oliver Plunkett/ ER v St Brigids.

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