Na Fianna 3-14
St Sylvesters 0-9
Kevin O’Brien reports from Parnell Park
NA FIANNA HAD far too much quality for St Sylvesters in today’s Dublin SFC 1 Group 1 encounter, coasting to a comfortable 14-point win over St Sylvesters.
Even without the county stars Jonny Cooper and Eoin Murchan in their squad – both presumably absent through injury – a Na Fianna victory never looked in doubt.
They’ll face a difficult task to progress to the knock-out stage with county champions Kilmacud Crokes and 2013 All-Ireland finalists Ballymun Kickhams also in this ‘Group of Death’ but this was a positive start for the Mobhi Road side.
St Sylvesters finished with 13 men after brothers Mark and Jack Hazley were dismissed for seperate incidents in the final quarter but the game was long over by that stage.
This was a winning start for Dessie Farrell in his first championship game in charge of his native club after replacing Philip McElwee over the winter.
The former Dublin forward and All-Ireland winning U21 and minor boss is also involved with the Dublin hurlers as performance coach.
Farrell won three county titles with Na Fianna and played his last game for the club in 2008. He’s taken over an extremely talented young team, one fully capable of competing regularly in the latter stages of this competition over the next few years.
Na Fianna exited last year’s competition to Ballyboden St Enda’s in the quarter-finals.
The majority of this side have represented Dublin through various underage grades and while they were without Murchan and Cooper here, they still boasted plenty of pedigree in their team.
Na Fianna forward Conor McHugh.
Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
In Conor McHugh and Aaron Byrne they’ve got the 2017 and 2014 All-Ireland U21 Player of the Year winners, while James Doran, Glenn O’Reilly and David Lacey are also highly-rated forwards who came through the county system.
Na Fianna’s attack blossomed with Byrne and Lacey helped themselves to 1-4 apiece, while at the back they shipped just 0-3 from play in total.
McHugh rattled the St Sylvesters net after a minute and a half, setting the tone for what was to come in the opening period.
Impressive youngster Lacey had four points to his name by the interval, while centre-forward McHugh fired in a 12th-minute rocket that left his side 2-4 to 0-3 to the good.
They pushed nine clear by the break and St Sylvesters had goalkeeper Mick Shiels to thank for a save from a goalbound Lacey strike that would have pushed Na Fianna ahead by double-figures.
Lacey grabbed his goal shortly after the restart to essentially put the game beyond doubt. After a lull in action St Sylvesters were reduced to 14 men when Mark Hazley was sent-off for an off-the-ball incident just five minutes after his introduction off the bench.
O’Reilly, David Quinn, Sean Caffrey and Odhran O Maoleidigh added scores as Farrell ran the bench in the final quarter. McCarthy’s four frees brought his tally to 0-7, while St Sylvesters lost Jack Hazley to a red card in stoppage-time to compound their misery.
Scorers for Na Fianna: Conor McHugh 1-4 (0-1f), David Lacey 1-4 (0-1f, 0-1 45), Aaron Byrne 1-0, Glenn O’Reilly 0-2 (0-1f), Killian Deeley, Sean Caffrey, Odhran O Maoleidigh and David Quinn 0-1 each.
Scorers for St Sylvesters: Michael McCarthy 0-7 (0-6f), Andrew Hartnett and James Walsh 0-1 each.
16. Stephen Murray
6. Aengus Farrell
2. Daragh Kennedy
4. Emile Mullen
of the team
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22. Paul O’Hanlon
18. Dean Ryan
5. Niall McGovern
8. Killian Deeley
25. John Lawless
12. Glenn O’Reilly
11. Aaron Byrne
10. James Doran
13. Sean Caffrey
14. Conor McHugh
15. David Lacey
27. David Quinn for Lacey (45)
23. Odhran O Maoleidigh for McHugh (inj, 48)
19. Donal Ryan for Lawless (52)
28. Michael Deegan for Caffrey (53)
26. Alisdar Fitzgerald for McGovern (56)
20. Eoin O’Dea for Doran (56)
1. Mick Shiel
4. John Peacock
3. Conor Quinn
2. Andrew Cunningham
5. Dan Deneher
6. Fionn Carney
7. Ronan Palmer
8. Ross Hazley
9. Paudie White
25. James Walsh
12. Alex Wright
11. Andrew Hartnett
10. Daniel Brennan
13. Conor Meaney
15. Michael McCarthy
20. Pearse Gibney for Hazley (ht)
14. Mark Hazley for Meaney (45)
21. Jack Hazley for Hartnett (52)
In the day’s earlier meeting in O’Toole Park between Ballyboden St Edna’s and Clontarf, the southside club prevailed by a single point, 0-11 to 0-10.
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Michael Darragh Macauley’s Ballyboden, who were defeated by eventual champions Kilmacud Crokes in last year’s semi-final, trailed by three points at half-time but powered to victory against Jack McCaffrey’s side in the second-half.
Elsewhere, Raheny and Thomas Davis finished level at 1-7 to 0-10. Eoin Keogh grabbed the goal for Raheny.
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