St Pat’s masterful defence lays base

by James Hendicott

ST PATRICK’S Palmerstown stormed to a Division Seven hurling feile title on Sunday at Parnell Park, completing the weekend with the astonishing record of having conceded only one point in nearly three hours of tournament play.
The Under-14s came through Group B in the division, building on solid defensive foundations and led by captain Jack Hanlon. On days one, they turned over St Jude’s (0-5 to 0-0), Beann Eadair (4-6 to 0-0) and Setanta (2-11 to 0-0) before earning a final group match bye against a Crumlin team forced to withdraw from the competition.
With no semi-final in the division, they went into the finale still without having conceded a point, a record they maintained until the second period.
A point from Sam Jones opening the scoring against the Na Fianna B, before a goal from Adam Devitt after ten minutes put the reds firmly in charge.
St Pat’s were also to have a first half penalty opportunity and missed a handful of other good chances on top of a Jack O’Leary point that put them 1-2 to 0-0 up at half time.
Playing into the wind in the second half, Pat’s struggled for the first time in the tournament, with goalkeeper Cathal Flood forced to push away a couple of decent Na Fianna goal chances, and Conor McDonagh evening up the second half tallies at 0-1 each, after Na Fianna scored the only point against the Palmerstown club in the entire weekend.
Things could have been far tighter, however, with solid defence keeping Na Fianna from capitalising on a second half St Pat’s management characterised as “hanging on under serious pressure”.
The final scoreline – 1-3 to 0-1 in St Pat’s favour – represents a convincing triumph for the west Dublin panel built over the course of the weekend, and convincing evidence that they’re more than capable of going on to play at a higher level through building on foundations laid down with all-over-the-park defence.

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