Allianz HL D1: Spoils divided at Fraher Field
Allianz Hurling League Division One Group B
Waterford 2-19 Dublin 3-16
By Dermot Keyes at Fraher Field
“All exit gates are now open,” the Fraher Field public address declared with two of the second half’s six additional minutes yet to be played.
Given the drama produced by defending champions Waterford and Dublin during a tumultuous second half, not a supporter budged.
Over the years, this pairing has rarely spoiled the milk and in the wake of last night’s drama at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, this end-to-end encounter was another fly in the eye for the ‘only the League’ brigade.
Under pleasant sunshine and in the most benign of Dungarvan breezes, the sides went in level at the break despite Dublin trailing by 1-5 without reply after 17 minutes.
Stephen Bennett’s free opened the scoring for Waterford following a foul on Jamie Barron just nine seconds after Liam Gordon’s throw-in.
Inside the second minute, Bennett dispatched a penalty after Michael Kiely was impeded by Paddy Doyle, who was black carded for his indiscretion. Three minutes later, Bennett converted his second free from 50 metres to send Waterford five clear.
Rapidly converted points impressively registered by Jack Fagan, Tom Barron and Jamie Barron left Waterford in command after 12 minutes, with three early Dublin efforts falling short into the grateful grasp of Deise goalkeeper Shaun O’Brien.
The visitors finally opened their account after 17 minutes through Donal Burke’s halfway line effort, with Joe Flanagan, assisted by Alex Considine, doubling Dublin’s account barely a minute later.
In the 21st minute, Jamie Barron ought to have put Waterford out of sight as he bore in on goal. With the unmarked Michael Kiely free to his left just yards from goal, Barron opted to shoot, with Dublin keeper Seán Brennan diving to his left to prevent the hosts from racing into a 10-point lead.
Sixty seconds later, Stephen Bennett turned another free between the country end posts to extend Waterford’s lead only for Cian Boland to immediately reply with an point struck from 45 metres. Micheál Donoghue’s men roared back into contention from their next attack, as Cian O’Sullivan exchanged passes with Alex Considine following Conor Prunty’s misjudging Shaun O’Brien’s puck-out.
Stephen Bennett rapidly converted frees in the 26th and 27th minutes before Dublin midfielder Chris O’Leary incredulously pulled a 29th minute shot wide following a superb catch and goalward surge.
Alex Considine steered a superb effort over Shaun O’Brien’s crossbar from wide on the left before Bennett tagged on his sixth free from another free after 31 minutes. Moments later, Donal Burke scored Dublin’s free of the afternoon to leave a goal between the sides and by the 33rd minute the sides were level.
Steering off Conor Gleeson’s shoulder, the lively Cian O’Sullivan bulleted the ball into the roof of Shaun O’Brien’s net as Dublin’s superb recovery gained further momentum. Tom Barron and Donal Burke (a free) traded points prior to the half-time whistle as the teams headed in all square.
Things heated up during a ding-dong second half, with Michael Kiely opening the scoring barely a minute after the restart. Conor Burke mustered a rapid reply for the Dubs before Stephen Bennett landed a beautifully struck free from the lip of the stand on 42 minutes. Burke converted his three free from Dublin’s next attack before Stephen Bennett tucked away his second penalty after 46 minutes following Daire Gray’s illegally stymied Michael Kiely’s run.
Moments after Austin Gleeson and Dessie Hutchinson had been introduced by Davy Fitzgerald, Alex Considine, this time wide on the right, once again found his range, with the impressive Cian Boland pointing a matter of seconds later.
Austin Gleeson scored the first of four vital points in the 52nd minute to send Waterford two points clear. But that lead was wiped out just 90 seconds later after Cian Boland’s superb catch saw him grounded yards from goal by Jack Fagan, already on a yellow card. A black card was followed by a red for Fagan, with Donal Burke making no mistake from the penalty, sending Shaun O’Brien the wrong way.
A spiky enough affair saw Waterford reduced to the baker’s dozen when Stephen Bennett received a straight red card in the 61st minute following an altercation with Paddy Doyle. Austin Gleeson (a free) and Boland traded points in the 64th and 65th minutes before Gleeson restored parity with a 66th minute free.
Three minutes from the end of regulation time, David Burke landed another free following another foul on Boland only for Jamie Barron to brilliantly cancel that effort out in the 69th minute.
A match which went from slow burn to fully blooded saw Waterford eke out a two-point lead by the 72nd minute following white flaggers from Austin Gleeson and Jack Prendergast, brilliantly played in by Dessie Hutchinson.
But there was no danger of Dublin going quietly as they drew level through the excellent Eoghan O’Donnell and the ever reliable Donal Burke.
In the 75th minute, Michael Kiely darted free to latch onto Austin Gleeson’s cross-field free and register his second point of the day.
But the honours were deservedly spoiled after Paul Crummey was brought down by Shane McNulty. Donal Burke steered the ball over the bar to ensure a share of the keenly contested points.
Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 2-7 (2-0 pen, 7fs), Austin Gleeson 0-4 (3fs), Michael Kiely 0-2, Tom Barron 0-2, Jamie Barron 0-2, Jack Fagan 0-1, Jack Prendergast 0-1.
Scorers for Dublin: Donal Burke 1-7 (1-0 pen, 5fs), Cian O’Sullivan 2-0, Cian Boland 0-3, Alex Considine 0-2, Joe Flanagan 0-1, Conor Burke 0-1, Conor Donohoe 0-1, Eoghan O’Connell 0-1.
Waterford: Shaun O’Brien; Conor Gleeson, Conor Prunty, Shane McNulty; Jack Fagan, Micheál Harney, Calum Lyons; Darragh Lyons, Paddy Leavey; Jamie Barron, Reuben Halloran, Tom Barron; Kevin Mahony, Stephen Bennett, Michael Kiely.
Subs: Carthach Daly for Darragh Lyons (18), Austin Gleeson for Reuben Halloran and Dessie Hutchinson for Kevin Mahony (both 49), Jack Prendergast for Paddy Leavey (56), Patrick Curran for Tom Barron (75).
Dublin: Seán Brennan; John Bellew, Eoghan O’Donnell, Paddy Doyle; Conor Donohoe, Conor Donohoe, Conor Burke, Daire Gray; Fergal Whitely, Chris O’Leary; Donal Burke, Joe Flanagan, Cian Boland; David Keogh, Cian O’Sullivan, Alex Considine.
Subs: Ronan Hayes for Cian O’Sullivan (half-time), Paul Crummey for Ronan Hayes (41), James Madden for David Keogh (45), Cillian Costello for Joe Flanagan (56), Andrew Jameson-Murphy for Alex Considine (59, blood), Ronan Smith for Fergal Whitely (73).
Referee: Liam Gordon (Galway)