Division 2 Hurling League – Round 1
Sunday, April 2 2017
Fulham Irish 2-7 vs St Declan’s 0-5
Fulham Irish’s 2017 season kicked off last Sunday at their home ground in The Scrubs where they faced St Declan’s in round one of the league.
The game sawthe welcome return of Pat O’Mahony from a year-long absence because of an injury, a return to the panel for Kevin McHugh and the naming of four new players for this season on the team.
The referee threw the ball in and both teams put pressure on the ball carrier as possession switched between each side as tried to get the first score on the board.
However, it was St Declan’s who managed to scoop up a loose ball and record the first point of the game with five minutes played.
Irish needed to step up a gear and it was Mick Harte who picked up a ball from just outside the halfway line to fire the sliotar straight between the posts to get Fulham on to the score sheet.
This inspired Fulham who stepped up a gear, and with Mick Harte now dominating midfield, started to push on.
Irish had their first chance on goal on the 11th minute, but this was put wide.
Niall Larkin, in his first start for Fulham, was a constant nuisance as he made life difficult for his marker and the goal keeper, putting both under pressure when they had the ball.
This eventually resulted in a wayward clearing puck by St Declan’s landing into the path of Mike Broder who pointed for his first score.
St Declan’s responded well and continued to work the ball from the backs, avoiding any path to the midfield as they could not contain Harte’s control in this area.
On the 21st minute, St Declan’s went near to record a goal, but were denied a score by Irish’s goal keeper, Davy Gray.
St Declan’s managed a consolation score, recording a point a few minutes later.
With only five minutes in the first half to be played, a low ball from Eoin McCarthy saw Larkin who beat his marker and he went for goal, but got underneath his shot and the ball went over the bar for a point.
The goalie sent a quick ball up from the restart but Mick Harte read the play, caught the ball and fired this back over the bar to record his second score.
The whistle went for half time and Irish were up by 3, Fulham Irish 0-5 to St Declan’s 0-2.
St Declan’s took the first score in the second half with a well-worked point from their half back line. Irish tried to respond and Luke Slyman managed to lose his man and had a chance on goal, but the effort went wide.
Within minutes, Slyman had a second chance on goal with a lovely pass from McCarthy, only for the shot to be deflected by the St Declan’s full back.
Irish pushed hard again, and with a long ball up field dropping behind the back line, Larkin again put pressure on the St Declan’s goalie, only for the goalie to lose the ball which land in front of Keith Greene, who, on his second attempt, scored a goal.
St Declan’s needed to put in a response and this they did with a quick point, and they continued to drive forward to close the gap.
A high ball into Irish’s back line saw the referee signal a free out to Irish, however St Declan’s had managed to break Irish’s defence and shot the sliotar in the back of net. The goal was ruled out however because of the free indicated by the referee, much to the dismay of St Declan’s.
By now Irish were showing their experience dealing with the threat of St Declan’s, and a score by Kevin McHugh kept Irish ahead by 5 points.
A further attempt at the St Declan’s goal was taken by Pat O’Mahony but the goalie managed to deal with the threat.
On 56 minutes, Larkin again hassled the St Declan’s backs and the goalie and this time managed to be on the end of the breaking ball and record his first goal for the club.
The game was all but over as the pace dropped off for the final couple of minutes.
A win for Fulham to get their season off to a good start and hard luck to St Declan’s.
It was good to see both teams play in the spirit of the game with hardly any fouls and no cards being shown for both clubs which was a credit to both teams.
Fulham Irish: Davy Gray, John McHugh, Don O’Connell, Stephen Martin, James McSwiney, Fergus O’Regan, Eamon Sullivan, Mick Harte, Mike Broder, Luke Slyman, Pat O’Mahony, Eoin McCarthy, Keith Greene, Kevin McHugh, Niall Larkin, Eamon Wade, John Connole and George Baker.