Réalt Dearg 2-22 v 0-7 O’Tooles
The official record will show that this was Réalt Dearg’s first foray into the Dublin Junior B championship. A particularly robust challenge from (redacted by club counsel) ensured that a premature end was put to proceedings in Cloghran on the previous Tuesday evening. The club would like to extend its well wishes to Whitehall for the speedy recovery of their stricken full-forward and look forward to acquaintances being renewed when the game is refixed. No doubt though that the Men in Black were about to embark on a perfectly-timed comeback to gain a maiden victory when the tardy responsiveness of the North Dublin ambulance service was put to the test in the fading spring light. Any questions or queries as to the nature of the events which are alleged to have occurred or indeed not to have occured that evening can be directed to the appropriate legal representatives.
So with no more to be said about all that, attention turned to Drimnagh on Sunday morning where the Stars men were scheduled to entertain O’Tooles...and what brilliant entertainment it proved to be in the end. But it so very nearly was another false dawn. A gloriously bright early spring morning awaited all who attended Drimnagh Castle for the 11 am start. That said, it looked like patrons would be disappointed as only ten O’Tooles men had arrived by the scheduled throw-in time. Pre-match entertainment had to be confined to the home dressing room. Ciaran Gough’s utter perplexion at being informed he had contacted management to say he wasn’t able to attend drew considerable mirth - even requiring a consult of his own phone to confirm his own recollection of events. Mossy O’Mahoney’s homage to John McEnroe sporting a fetching white headband was also noteworthy. His ability to take part being questioned drew the inevitable “you cannot be serious” response. 5 stitches a mere flesh wound to the lion-hearted Wexfordman.
Frantic phone calls and consultation of Dublin championship bye-laws took place to consider contingencies. They just about had their desired effect as at precisely 11:27, with three minutes to spare, fifteen bodies were rustled up to take on the RD challenge. The Stars men did not take too kindly to the delayed start. Pent up energy from an extended pre-match stay in the dressing room, and an equally extended warm-up which ensured limber bodies and sharp minds meant the Stars were in the mood to quickly vanquish the motley crew assembled to take them on.
Playing into the strong and freshening breeze, Réalt Dearg started in whirlwind fashion. The late-arriving Northsiders were not allowed settle into their surroundings with any degree of comfort. The return of the fleet-footed Conor Maharaj to the starting lineup added much needed thrust and guile to the stars attack. On the opposite wing, Podge Buckley’s direct running caused endless problems for the O’Tooles’ rearguard. Buckley would end the day with three points to his credit, all of which could have been three-pointers with a little luck and a slight recalibration of trajectory, the efforts combining for a net total of approximately seven inches over the crossbar. Indeed, Buckley’s route one running directly resulted in the big score of the first half with a well timed lay-off creating a gilt-edged chance for Jamie O’Hara which was..ahem..”clinically” executed.
The Stars 1-7 to 0-3 lead at half-time was largely the result of exceptional workrate all through the team, with the half back line proving to be virtually impervious to any pressure from the O’Tooles men. A particular highlight was David O’Connell’s flagrant pilfering of the sliothar off an opponent while mid solo, just one example of a typically combative display from DOC. Paudie O’Regan at midfield getting his first competitive outing in Drimnagh Castle put in a equally robust showing linking defence and attack, while also getting on the scoresheet in an all-action display.
Any hopes the O’Tooles men had of a comeback were swiftly snuffed out within seconds of the restart. Tom Kehoe, laser-like in his free-taking all day, most certainly picked his spot from all of 50 yards out to raise RD’s second green flag of the day. A barrage of points from Maharaj, Jamie O’Hara and Robbie Madden quickly followed such that the white flag of surrender was beginning to be raised by the opposition. Indeed such was the ferocity of the Stars attack, the back four were merely spectators for much of the second half. Colm Gahan, making his debut in goal was not required to touch the ball from play throughout the game, maybe just as well for the O'Toole's men.
So a first Junior B victory in the bag for the Stars men, maintaining an undefeated start to the season in competitive action. That said, sterner tests await. No added incentive is required for the next day out as we head to Shanganagh Park to take on last year’s county final opponent’s Cuala.
Réalt Dearg A: Colm Gahan, Mike Richardson, Cathal Hester, Brian Gavin, David O’Connell, Niall Mullane, Tomas O’Mahoney, Brendan Walsh, Paudie O’Regan, Conor Maharaj, Ciarán Gough, Podge Buckley, Jamie O’Hara, Tom Kehoe, Robbie Madden