Now we have come to the knockout stages of the GoAhead Transport Dublin GAA Championships. First up today are the St Brendan's Hurlers, Sponsored by Luas Transdev who travelled to Donabate for a Junior D Quarter Final against St Patricks Donabate. Will we have the same level of drama and excitement today as we saw last Saturday week in Palmerstown? Let's See!
In the opening minute, there was great harrying from Chanelle Pharma Cathal Kelly, who won a turnover on the 45, Michael Harte was involved and Ciaran Ludden pucked the opening score of the match. The Good start continued when Robbie Curley pucked over a free after a foul on Dan 'The Langer Man' O'Brien. But the good work came undone when Donabate emerged with possession from a scramble and spotted a loose player who beat Richie Barry for goal and the lead for the home side 0-2 to 1-0.
Gavin 'The Goal Getter' Muldoon had a shot thought went wide, but the shot took a deflection off a Donabate hurl and a 65 was awarded, but that 65 went wide. Another Muldoon opportunity went amiss when he was fouled 50 meters from goal, but Curley's free in went wide. Also there was two shots that fell short and one missed swing. But The Dark Force still managed to level matters thanks to O'Brien after Shane Foley emerged with possession from a scramble and pass to fellow Cork man O'Brien.
St Patricks Donabate took the game by the scuff of the neck and opened a 5 point lead hitting 1-2, with Route One Hurling used in the goal. Then came the first half water break.
Sean Whyte, injured but donning the bainisteoir bib today, riled his troops and despite hitting three wides, Ciaran Ludden ended St Brendan's scoring famine with a point from play after Vincent O'Flynn got out of a scramble with possession, 0-4 to 2-3.
Indeed it was a brace for Sylane man Ludden with a free in after Padraig Pratt was dragged back when in a good position. But St Brendan's work to get back in the game came undone when a low Donabate ground shot went through a forest of platers legs and hurls and Ritchie Barry was beaten for goal for a third time. Even the goal took the Donabate goal scorer by surprise.
Half time and it was a 3-3 to 0-5 lead for the home side. Oisin Carley, who played for the Footballers last Saturday week, urged the Hurlers to take inspiration from the big ball men in their tremendous comeback and try to get back into this contest.
And Carley word's had the most desirable effect possible when two minutes into the second half when the referee solved a disputed sideline ball by giving a hop ball, won by Carley, into Ludden and found Noel Lane in the right place at the right time to puck the ball into the net and the lead reduced from seven to four points. Mark Kinsella ensured Ritchie Barry was not beaten for a fourth goal with tigerish defending similar to Colm Harte and Jason Clarke for the Footballers last week and one of Kinsella's clearances found Michael Harte and got fouled 65 yards out. Up stepped Robbie Curley to convert the free in and a three point deficit 3-3 to 1-6. Game On!
St Brendan's really got under Donabate's noses when one of their players lashed out on Kinsella and after a bit of after's both men got booked. St Brendan's were really up for the fight and Dan 'The Langer Man' O'Brien won possession from a turnover and found Ludden and a point from play, 3-5 to 1-8, going into the Second Half Swig Of The Magic Bottle.
Ludden made it a two point game when collecting a pass from Chanelle Pharma Cathal Kelly and got tripped in the process, The Sylane man dusted himself down, towelled down the shaft of his hurl (thanks to Dave Lowey for the towel), composed himself and pucked his free over the bar to make it 3-5 to 1-9.
The pendulum was swinging towards The Dark Force when The Wexican Oisin Carley managed to keep the slioter in play with a one armed air stroke, the slioter bounced off the helmet of Gavin 'The Goal Getter' Muldoon, but crucially, into the hand of Ciaran Ludden and once again he was fouled, repeating the same procedure as his last free in, this time, Sean Dardis supplied the towel, the same result ensued and now it was a one point game with 7 minutes to go.
The Home side hit a brace to put three between the sides. Ritchie Barry's puck out was won by Paddy Igoe and found Robbie Curley, who beat one defender, then two, then three and took his spot and pucked the ball into the Donabate net for a level game 3-7 to 2-10. It was clear and obvious that inspiration from the Footballers last week was telling in the Hurlers but can they produce the victory?
Ciaran Ludden went for glory but his shot which looked like had sailed over the right side of the upright was adjudged to have gone wide according to the umpire. The referee, who was in a good position to make a judgement, went with the umpire and waved wide, much to Ludden's annoyance.
St Patricks Donabate brought on fresh legs and they made a significant contribution in producing a late brace of points and a two point lead. Sadly there wasn't enough time for St Brendan's to produce another smash and grab goal like last week as the referee blew for full time and St Patricks's Donabate celebrated as if they won the All Ireland, the Premier League, the World Cup and the One Billion Dollar American Powerball Lottery rolled into one.
While it was heartbreak for St Brendan's Hurlers with defeat and an end to their season, they can still take pride in the manner in the drama they produced and in which the team wiped out the seven point deficit, but will still be asking 'What If?' had Ciaran Ludden's shot declared a point. But still there is something to work on ahead of the 2022 season.
Final Score from Robbie Lawless Park Donabate, St Patricks Donabate 3-9 St Brendan's 2-10