Colleges Fitzgibbon Hurling League – St Patrick’s 2-11, UCD 0-16: A late rally from St Patrick’s of Drumcondra denied UCD the perfect start to the season, reports Brian Carty.
A sterling second-half performance from St Patrick’s Richie Hogan, during which he scored 2-6, consigned UCD to their first defeat of their Fitzgibbon League campaign, losing out on a score-line of 2-11 to 0-16.
In a game played in terrible conditions, credit must go to both teams for providing such a competitive, exciting game. Indeed, such was the weather that clean catching and striking was often impossible, turning the game into a dog-fight at times.
With both teams short of regular players due to injury and other extenuating circumstances, it was UCD who started brighter. They found themselves 0-3 to nil up after four minutes, with Cian McBride, Joey Maher and PJ Nolan finding the target.
It was a period of great reward for UCD, although St Patrick’s began to find their feet there after. Two fine scores from midfielder, John Joe Farrell, and a pointed free from Richie Hogan brought the sides level. Nothing was to separate the teams at this stage.
However, UCD continued to attack the St Patrick’s goal, and raced into a two-point lead courtesy of the impressive PJ Nolan. The defence stood tall, with David Lyng and Neil Pendergast in particular, cutting out everything that Pat’s threw at them.
Nonetheless, the Drumcondra side continued to battle, and points from Mark Bergin and Richie Hogan (free) brought the sides level, before Keith Burke pointed a free right at the interval, to put College ahead at the break 0-6 to 0-5.
The competiveness of the first half continued in the new half, with both teams giving it hell to leather despite the wet conditions. A beauty of a score from Burke opened proceedings, extending UCD’s lead to two points. However, St Patrick’s refused to die, with Richie Hogan cancelling out that point soon after.
Indeed, the second half was the Richie Hogan show, the Kilkenny star chipping in with 2-6 in the half and proving just why he is one of the most highly-rated young hurlers in the game at the moment.
Two points in quick succession from Hogan brought the sides level after 40 minutes, before Stephen Nolan put UCD ahead again with a long-range free (0-9 to 0-8). Hogan continued his accuracy, as both teams upped the physicality stakes with a series of frees slowing down what was generally a free-flowing game.
The tight nature of the match continued, as Hogan put Pat’s ahead for the first time, only for PJ Nolan to respond almost immediately (0-10 apiece).
While a Hogan free edged Pat’s ahead after 48 minutes, UCD proceeded to dominate thereafter, with David Langton, substitute Eoin Power, Stephen Nolan and Burke (both frees), bringing UCD three points up (0-14 to 0-11).
However, the victors refused to die, and with the game in the balance, Hogan netted a 21-yard free, on the stroke of full-time, to level up proceedings. The excitement didn’t end there, with Keith Burke catching Paddy Carroll’s resultant puck-out and expertly pointing, bringing UCD ahead once again (0-15 to 1-11).
However, Hogan continued to steal the show, bursting through UCD’s defence and masterfully finding the net, bringing his side two points up. UCD frantically tried to respond as time rapidly declined, with Joey Maher’s point at the death all they could muster in a 2-11 to 0-16 defeat.
UCD: Paddy Carroll; Eoin O’Shea, David Lyng, Oisin Gough; Neil Pendergast, Stephen Nolan (0-2 frees), Colin Gleeson; Jack Gilligan, David Langton (0-1); James Foley, PJ Nolan (0-4), Shane Rackard; Joey Maher (0-2), Keith Burke (0-5, three frees), Cian McBride (0-1).
Subs: Eoin Power (0-1) for Foley, Paddy Burns for Lyng, Tim Hennessy for Rackard, Joey Lawlor for Gleeson, Shane Kilkenny for Power.
St.Patrick’s: M.Murphy; J.Byrne, E.Boggan, D.Wafer; M.Kelly, S.Campion, C.Lawlor; JJ Farrell (0-2), M.Bergin (0-1); R.Hogan (2-8, five frees, 1-0 penalty), S.Scallon, S.White; B.Timmons, C.Henry, M.Casey.