Réalt Dearg B 3-5 v 1-9 St. Peregrine’s
Savage workrate was the order of the day at the Field of Drims where the Killer Bs finally got Réalt Dearg’s first competitive victory of the 2018 hurling season. In the aftermath of last week’s unseasonal snowfall, and with a host of fixtures across the county falling prey to postponement and cancellation, the sod in Drimnagh Castle was well-tested on this Sunday afternoon. While conditions underfoot were certainly challenging, it did not dampen the Stars men’s desire to kick-start their season with a much-needed victory.
The ball was fiercely competed for in the opening exchanges by both sides, the Penguins also looking to put a first entry into the W column on the league table. While the scoring in those exchanges may have been low, the entertainment level was continually high as only absorbingly combative hurling games can be. Junior hurling it may be, but the desire and passion on display (evidenced by some notable examples of single and even double fist-pumping on occasion) was of inter-county standard.
With scores difficult to come by, some class and guile was needed to break the deadlock. In the fashion of the truly cock Dub that he is, this was duly provided by Kevin Deady first-timing a centre to the net following some beautiful approach work on the left wing. The corner-back’s attempt to exact retribution shortly afterwards with a crunching shoulder to the chest was only met with some devilish taunting from Danger for the rest of the game. Some more luxurious hurling minutes later yielded a second major. Ed Kavanagh expertly picking out Colm Walsh, unquestionably man-of-the-match on the day, with a carefully measured short puck-out. Walsh in turn found the looping run of Rory O’Loughlin who collected without breaking stride, turned the full-back inside-out before unleashing an unstoppable effort into the far corner. Three strikes and you’re picking it out.
The second half continued in the same tete-a-tete fashion with the 5 point cushion held at the changeover giving the Stars men some breathing space. Never quite managing to shake off the Peregrine’s challenge, the sight of Martin Murphy entering the fray, after his new Sat Nav had finally picked up the coordinates for the Stepaside training pitch on Wednesday evening, was a welcome sight. Murphy’s contribution of 1-1 over the final 10 minutes helped the Stars men over the line in the end, but not after some nervy moments which yielded a goal and a point for the Penguins themselves from frees dropped in as time petered out.
While this game was won by being ahead on the scoreboard in the end, in another way, it was won by the never-say-die attitude and willingness to take punishment displayed all over the pitch by the Réalt Dearg men. The hurling mantra that defence starts in the full forward line was never better evidenced than this display of force by the Stars vanguard. Tormentor in chief was Shane Murphy who continually harassed and harried for even the slightest sniff of possession, giving his direct opponent a torrid time all through. While Murphy didn’t get the goal his tenacity deserved, he certainly set the standard of work-rate which prevailed throughout the team. At the back, Kieran “Mushie” O’Brien swatted away any potential danger like flies on a sunny afternoon. Captain DOC led by example driving ball-after-ball away from the dangerzone and the aforementioned Colm Walsh took to the unfamiliar wing-back position like the proverbial duck-to-water.
The defensive display was tinged with some sadness however as it was possibly the last occasion we will get to see the swashbuckling Brad Harte embarrassing “nippy” and not so nippy corner forwards. His imminent return to the People’s Republic will result in the loss of one of the clubs most seasoned campaigners, a man who has contributed handsomely to the development of the club on and off the field over many years. His meting out of special punishment to Fancy Dan-types sporting Underarmour-style tights will be most-favourably remembered.
Réalt Dearg B: Ed Kavanagh, Brad Harte, Kieran O’Brien, David O’Connell, Colm Walsh, Ciarán Gough, Ronan Moloney, Tomás O’Mahoney, Brian Gavin, Shane Casey, Niall Mullane, Tom Kehoe, Shane Murphy, Rory O’ Loughlin, Kevin Deady
Ciarán Brennan, Gavan Manifold, Martin Murphy, Brendan Walsh, Colm Gahan