Dublin Minor Hurlers just lose out by a point in Minor Semi Final

November 8, 2018

CLARE 0-20 DUBLIN 2-13

Dublin’s dream of reaching their first All-Ireland MHC final was extinquished in agonising fashion in Sunday’s semi-final at Croke Park.

Dublin had a poor opening quarter and had played second fiddle for periods of the game they were full of running and coming strong at the finish before time ran out on them as the Banner County progress to face Kilkenny in the decider.

Inside the opening 18 minutes of the game Clare opened up a 0-8 to 0-1 lead. They should have led by more but their accuracy in front of goal let them down at times while Dublin keeper Eamon Dillon made a great reflex save to force a point-blank goal effort from Darragh Keane over the crossbar and corner-back Conor Murphy did a brilliant marking job on the highly rated David O’Halloran who came on as a sub for Clare in this year’s Munster U21HC final.

As the half progressed the Dubs began to grow in belief and points from Emmet O Conghaile, Ciarán Kilkenny, an excellent point from Glenn Whelan, and free from the Cusack Stand sideline from Dean Flood brought the Dubs back into contention.

Five minutes from the interval Jamie Shanahan punished the Dublin defence with a point when they might have cleared their lines but Dublin rallied before the break superb scores from Kilkenny and Cormac Costello, after he had made an excellent fetch before arrowing over on the run.

Clare took control on the restart and grabbed three unanswered points in quick succession with the influential Niall Arthur on target with two frees and Cathal Malone firing over from long range.

However, good goal-poacher’s instinct from O Conghaile, when he swept the sliotar to the net after Clare keeper Ronan Taaffe fumbled a Costello sideline cut, saw Dublin close the gap to two points, 0-12 to 1-7.

Clare responded with points from Colm Galvin and an Arthur free to re-establish their lead.

The introduction of Clare sub Aaron Cunningham had a telling effect on the outcome as he scored two points inside a minute as the Munster champions led 0-17 to 1-10 with seven minutes to play.

But Dublin were not giving up and Costello finished expertly to the corner of the net off his left side after an aerial delivery from sub Robert Hardy broke into his stride to leave the minimum between the counties, 0-17 to 2-10.

Crucially though Clare got the next three scores before Dublin threw everything into the dying minutes with scores from Flood, a John Hetherton free, and driving effort from Hardy leaving only a point in it at the finish.

SCORERS – Clare: N Arthur 0-8 (0-5f), D Keane 0-3, T Kelly, A Cunningham 0-2 each, D O’Halloran, J Shanahan, C Malone, C Galvin, P Collins 0-1 each. Dublin: D Flood 0-4 (0-3f), E O Conghaile, C Costello 1-1 each, C Kilkenny 0-3, J Hetherton 0-2 (0-2f), G Whelan, R Hardy 0-1 each.
CLARE – R Taaffe; H Vaughan, P Flanagan, S Morey; E Boyce, K Lynch, S O’Halloran; C Galvin, T Kelly; C Malone, P Collins, J Shanahan; D Keane, N Arthur, D O’Halloran.  Subs: A Cunningham for Malone (45), A Mulready for O’Halloran (54).
DUBLIN – E Dillon; C Murphy, E McKenna, S McClelland; C Moffatt, D Sutcliffe, B Quinn; D Kelly, B McCarthy; F Heavey, C Kilkenny, G Whelan; C Costello, E Ó Conghaile, D Flood. Subs: N Maguire for Kelly (27), J Hetherton for Whelan (37), R Hardy for McCarthy (42), N Ryan for Flood (58).
REF – E Hassen (Derry).