Al too easy for wily St Pat’s in campaigner opener

ST PAT’S-Mater Dei know they’ll face much stiffer tests than this further down the road, but they’ll still be pleased with themselves for getting their Fitzgibbon Cup campaign off to such a positive start.

They had far too much craft and guile for a game but limited UUJ and in the end won the game at a canter.

It was a perfect illustration of just how big a difference snappier wrists and quicker speed of thought makes in a game of hurling.

Jordanstown fought their corner from first whistle until last but simply couldn’t cope with the home team’s ability to create space with the minimum of effort and then take their scoring opportunities ruthlessly.

Even against a stiff breeze in the first half, the Dubliners comfortably held the upper hand and when they led by 1-9 to 0-5 at the break, you knew the match was as good as over.

Their goal was scored by their own keeper, Eoin Reilly, who ran the length of the field Davy Fitzgerald-style and smashed an unstoppable penalty to the UUJ net. From then on, the self-belief drained from UUJ.

St Pat’s-Mater Dei always looked like they had another couple of gears in them for most of the game, but when they did really hurl hard in brief bursts, they were very impressive.

Six unanswered points early in the second half put to bed any ambitions their Belfast hosts might have had about staging a comeback and after that St Pat’s were able to hurl at their leisure and without really extending themselves.

The gap in class between the teams was significant, though UUJ players like centre-back Nathan Curry and full-back Francis Neeson deserve a lot of credit for battling hard for every ball right to the very end. They werefighting against the tide though, and in the closing stages of the match St Pat’s upped the ante once more and fired an unanswered barrage of 1-5 to put a gloss on the final scoreline.

The goal was a fine effort from wing-forward Canice Maher, another Kilkenny man, who lanced the ball to the bottom right-hand corner past a helpless Eoin Gillen.

Credit too goes to substitute Brendan Timmon who scored two of those last five points in an impressive 10-minute cameo appearance that might earn him more significant game-time against GMIT next Wednesday.

Scorers for St. Pat’s-Mater Dei: P Keogh 0-8 (6f, one sideline), L Ryan, JJ Farrell both 0-4, C Maher, E Reilly both 1-0, B Travers, B Timmons both 0-2, A Dermody, G Spollen both 0-1

UUJ: P Henry 0-6 (4f), P McGill 0-2, B Cashman, D Hamill both 0-1

ST. PAT’S-MATER DEI: E Reilly (Laois); D Wafer (Kilkenny), A Murphy (Kilkenny), N Ring (Dublin); W O’Shaughnessy (Wexford), M Quilty (Dublin), C Whelan (Waterford); L Ryan (Kilkenny), B Travers (Wexford); C Maher (Kilkenny), JJ Farrell (Kilkenny), A Dermody (Westmeath); I Duggan (Kilkenny), P Keogh (Carlow), G Spollen (Offaly.

Subs: N Breen (Wexford) for W O’Shaughnessy (45), B Timmons (Tipperary) for A Dermody (50)

UUJ: E Gillen (Antrim); S Dobbin (Antrim), F Neeson (Antrim), N McAuley (Antrim); L Hawkins (Derry), N Curry (Armagh), J Downey (Derry); O McCloskey (Derry), P Murphy (Wexford); P McGill (Antrim), P O’Neill (Down), D Hamill (Antrim); P Henry (Derry), B Cashman (Cork), M Devlin (Antrim).

Subs: D McGurk (Derry) for S Dobbin (30), A Clarke (Down)for B Cashman (37), S Logue (Derry) for M Devlin (45), C Gillen (Antrim) for L Hawkins (47), J Hughes (Down) for N McAuley (59).

Referee: A Stapleton (Laois).

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