CHRISTY RING CUP ROUND 1 REPLAY
By Ian Baker in St Conleth’s, Newbridge
The London hurlers were ‘sickened’ when they allowed Kildare to force a draw in the first round of the Christy Ring Cup in Ruislip but according to manager Fergus McMahon, winning the replay in decisive fashion in St. Conleth’s Park, Newbridge, last Saturday (9th May) was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Such was the veracity of the London performance, supporters may be asking: ‘Did Kildare jump or were they pushed?’ The accounts from Kildare are that they let themselves down. But, if half-forward and man of the match, Martin Duggan’s 3-03 is to be considered as a measure of their downfall, Kildare were certainly pushed from grace.
Yet, if the manner in which Duggan was gifted his goals can be illustrated through an understanding of a Kildare defence resembling all the gumption of a donkey possessing a yo-yo who’s not quite sure how he got it and less sure what he’ll do with it, Kildare jumped aimlessly into defeat. On the contrary though, the displays by corner-back Conor Hickey, half-backs Martin Ryan and Derek Morkham, and any number of their forwards demonstrated London’s desire to win.
Interestingly, London trailed Kildare in the 21st minute when Duggan scored his first goal, as Kildare’s Mark Delaney swept The Lilies away in a cacophony of frees early on. But all the signs were there for a London victory.
London’s Martin Duggan latched onto abysmal Kildare play-acting mascaraing as defending to score his second goal in the 30th minute. At the break London held a 2-08 to 0-09 lead.
London had opened up a six point lead by the 50th minute, but wherein, with the introduction of Declan Flaherty and the positional switch of Bernard Deay paying dividends, Kildare cut the gap down to two points (2-15 – 0-19) by the 60th minute.
Again, London’s Martin Duggan benefited both from Kildare’s dramatization of defending and a Michael Ivors moment of magic, which, when he hand-flicked a ball over the defence, meant that Duggan’s third 64th minute his goal resoundingly brought the curtain down on a theatrical Kildare side.
SCORERS: LONDON: M. Duggan 3-03, P. Phelan 0-6 (4f, 1 ’65), M. O’Dwyer 0-2, D. Morkham 0-2, N. Brophy, M. Ryan (f) and M. Ivors 0-1 each
KILDARE: M. Delany 0-10 (8f), B. Deay 0-2, M. Flaherty 0-2, G. Keegan 0-2, M. Moloney, K. Whelan and P. Divilly 0-1 each
LONDON: James Barrett, Conor Hickey, Luke Gaule, Kieran Fitzpatrick, Christopher McAllinden, Martin Ryan, Derek Morkham, Enda Cooney, Neil Rogers, Mark O’Dwyer, Nollaig Brophy, Martin Duggan, Michael Ivors, Peter Phelan, Bernard Gaffney.
Subs: Luke Hands for Gaffney (43m): Enda Collins for McAllinden (51m): Kevin Coen for Brophy (66m): Philip Murphy for Ivors (71m)
KILDARE: Paul Dermody, Niall O’Muineacháin, Mark Grace, John Doran, Dinny Stapleton, David Young, Eanna O’Neill, Kevin Whelan, Mark Moloney, Jonathon Byrne, Leo Quin, Paul Divilly, Bernard Deay, Evan Dempsey, Mark Delaney
Subs: Niall Kenny for Quinn (blood 11m): Fiachra O’Muineacháin for Grace (h/t): Gerry Keegan for Whelan (38m): Declan Flaherty for Quinn (47m): Niall Kenny for Delaney (60m)
MAN OF THE MATCH: Martin Duggan (London)
If goals win games, then three goals certainly claim the man of the match award. Duggan rocked Kildare with a solo 3-03 and the performance to boot. Enough said.
But while the stick-work forwards always get the acclaim, corner-backs rarely do. Conor Hickey gave an outstanding performance while shipping some hefty challenges for his troubles.
SCORE OF THE GAME: Not a great day for standout scores as it was more ‘rough and ready’ rather than ‘fancy Dan’ stuff. But, corner-forward, Michael Ivors’ overarm handpass to release Duggan for his third goal and that clinical finish from 12 yards was both a decisive and delicate score.
TURNING POINT: Martin Duggan’s first goal in the 24th minute both punished Kildare for their mistakes and took the lead, while his second goal six minutes later again highlighted a Kildare defensive error in the most punishing aspect.
MISTAKE OF THE MATCH: Kildare (extra defender)
The tactic of playing a spare man in defence, taking a player out of the full forward line, then pumping inaccurate long balls to outnumbered forwards, and then to give away three goals, was the mistake of the game. By the time it was rectified, Kildare’s Paul Divilly was sent off.
For the full match report, see this week’s Irish World.