If you were simply talking in terms of a points tally, Tullamore’s Shane Dooley, with 1-8, outscored James Murray of Trim (0-10) yet still ended up on the beaten team. That would only reveal a fraction of the detail here. And not just pertaining to today’s Leinster Club IHC semi final at Pairc Tailteann.
The vastly experienced Faithful County dual player was his side’s only scorer in a scenario unfortunately also all too familiar to his career at inter county level as well. I say unfortunately because throughout my lifetime = in other words the last 40 years – Offaly have been one of the great hurling counties. Exemplars that fighting against the tide in the small ball code can not only be done, but successfully.
That said, the relationship between Meath hurling at their fellow stickmen from the Midlands is an intricate one. I recall one of the landmark days for devotees of the sliotar in the county on the occasion our lads defeated the then All Ireland Champion Faithful men in the National League at Athboy in the Spring of 1995.
There’s then the fact that brethren of the land of peat have contributed handsomely to Meath hurling in times past in the person of Michael Duignan and Cillian Farrell. Yet, as well as that famous day in O’Growney Park – and a draw with Dublin the following week – another of the more memorable days for hurling in the county was the occasion upon which our lads ran the 1995 beaten All Ireland finalists to six points in Croke Park.
To tie in with today’s game, in 1996, David ‘Scobie’ Martin had an outstanding game on Tullamore’s Kevin Martin while, at the other end of the field, Kilmessan’s Anton O’Neill delivered a Man Of A Match performance in curtailing Shane Dooley’s dad, Joe.
So to today’s fare. I know they say a good start is half the battle, but, even allowing for their confidence being buoyed by their epic victory over Danesfort, Trim could never have imagined being a goal and point up after a minute and a half.
Thus it was however after the outstanding Murray flashed over the opening score within 16 seconds of the throw in. Then, the umpire had barely put the white flag down when his colleague opposite was going for the other one. Signifying another deposit into the home team’s credit column.
Yes, Dooley is, as referred to earlier, a gifted dual player, but, Trim aren’t short of them either. None more influential than their skipper James Toher. The midfielder was pivotal to the game’s pivotal move when he found Mikey Cole who then centred for Joey of the same clan who blasted to the net.
Thereafter, five of the red and white’s forwards engaged the flag men as Jimmy Canty’s team led by 1-09 to 0-05 at the midway point before adding a dozen points in Act II.
To say Trim are a team on the up might seem like a strange summation given the club’s venerated status within the annals of Meath hurling but there’s a vibe about the club at the minute which any of their contemporaries would do well to bottle.
Not many will know this but yours truly has a vested interest in the fortunes of, to translate its name as Gaeilge, the heavy town. Furthermore, I will be using every ounce of influence I have to ensure connected contributions to that prosperity are upkept.
However, in the context of the club’s current top hurling ensemble, mention of them being on the up is reference to my belief that there could be much more in the way of success attainable for Canty’s crew.
Starting when they head the Wicklow way in search of provincial glory which would surely be the greatest chapter in their long and illustrious hurling history. No doubt they will respect Bray Emmets and prepare dilligently to tackle them, but they need fear nobody.