Championship heartache for Thomas Davis hurlers

SCOIL UI CHONAILL .................................. 1-11

THOMAS DAVIS .......................................... 0-11

By Daire Walsh

THOMAS Davis suffered championship heartache in a rain-drenched Parnell Park last Saturday afternoon as they fell to a three-point defeat at the hands of Scoil Ui Chonaill in the Dublin Senior ‘B’ Hurling decider.

Eoin McKay’s goal on 41 minutes sparked Scoil's challenge into life and they subsequently pushed on for a gutsy victory in Donnycarney.

Thomas Davis v Scoil Ui Chonaill 02

Dean Gibbons gets his shot away for Thomas Davis. (Photos by Paddy Barrett)

Half-forward Robert Kennedy was their star performer over the course of the contest - contributing a magnificent haul of 0-10.

Kevin Ward and wing-back David Keogh flew the flag throughout for Davis’, but they ultimately fell short in their latest quest for silverware.

Following their tension-filled triumph at the expense of Na Fianna at the intermediate grade just under two years ago, the Kiltipper outfit were once again aiming to put their name up in lights.

While both teams were already guaranteed a place in the Senior ‘A’ Championship for 2020, it did little to curb the competitive edge on display.

Ward and inside forward David Byrne got the ball rolling for Davis’ with back-to-back points, before Barry Cushen and Kennedy (free) responded for Scoil in a pulsating opening.

Daire Kerr and the dependable Kennedy proceeded to trade scores as the play progressed, though the worsening conditions inevitably led to sloppy passages at either end of the field.

Scoil looked set to claim a stranglehold on the stroke of 10 minutes, when Shane Sheridan was fouled close to goal. Yet, Davis’ netminder Sean Blanchfield was equal to Cushen's resulting penalty - much to the relief of the travelling southside faithful.

With Leitrim hurler Zak Moradi (a Lory Meagher Cup winner with the Connacht side in June) serving as a livewire presence, Davis’ established a familiar rhythm in attack. Either side of a monstrous Keogh effort, Ward added frees to create some daylight between the teams.

Kennedy was proving his own worth as a dead-ball specialist for Scoil - his 50-metre strike keeping the Clontarf Road brigade within touching distance. Nevertheless, the combined forces of Sean Reilly and Ward ensured Thomas Davis brought a 0-8 to 0-4 cushion into the interval.

They had operated with the aid of a strong breeze throughout the opening period and a determined Scoil were confident of using the elements to their advantage. Despite leaking an early score to Kennedy, Davis’ remained in the driving seat on the restart.

Ryan Deegan was a powerful operator at centre-back, while Sean O’Brien was also keeping a tight rein on former Dublin football panellist Andy Bunyan.

Scoil threw a spanner in the works, however, as midfielder McKay scrambled home after Ruari Cody had initially been denied by Blanchfield.

They eventually levelled matters through Kennedy, whose influence was becoming more pronounced with each passing minute.

Ward dissected the posts to squeeze Davis’ back into the ascendancy, only for a sublime purple patch from the elusive Kennedy to give Scoil the upper hand heading towards the home stretch.

Four points in quick succession for the impressive attacker - including two from open play - presented them with a seemingly decisive 1-10 to 0-10 buffer.

Ward offered Davis’ hope late on with a pointed free, but Kennedy sealed the deal for Scoil Ui Chonaill with a final effort deep into second-half stoppage-time.

SCOIL UI CHONAILL: D Mottram; A Cronin, C Coady, K Linane; P Conlon, P Morrissey, P Kinsella; B Cushen, E McKay; R Kennedy, N O’Flynn, J Redmond; R Cody, A Bunyan, S Sheridan. Subs: C Hardiman for Sheridan (37), J Ryan for Bunyan (50), J Conway for Redmond (62).

THOMAS DAVIS: S Blanchfield; S Kennedy, S O’Brien, J McDonnell; D Keogh, R Deegan, D Joyce; E O’Toole, D Kerr; S Reilly, K Ward, Z Moradi; C Cooney, D Gibbons, D Byrne. Sub: J Dalton for Gibbons (43).

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