Curran, Dillon brightest of `Stars'


IN the sixth annual Blue Stars exhibition matches, staged for the third year with their customary aplomb by new county champions Ballyboden St Enda's, the pendulum swung back towards the Blue Stars (awarded on the basis of club performances in Dublin) after last year's double win by the county teams.

Dublin lost the hurling match and were pegged back for a draw in the football, after a last-minute point by Paul Curran - the only player to have won a Blue Star in each of the scheme's six years - which capped a fine midfield display by the Texaco Footballer of The Year.

New Dublin manager Mickey Whelan was able to run the rule over a large number of players, including a fine assortment of prodigal on the Blue Stars from the already rehabilitated Eamonn Heery and a substantial-looking Joe McNally, brought in as a substitute to McNally's brother `Nipper' and Niall Guiden on the county side.

Of the less familiar aspirants, Kenny Lawlor of St Anne's impressed with four first-half points.

"On the Blue Stars side, Mick Dillon a late replacement for Keith Barr, whom misfortune has frequently prevented from taking part in this fixture put in a good performance, but, sadly from Whelan's point of view, the Kilmacud captain is currently a member of the Wexford football panel.

Trailing by three points, 0-11 to 2-8 at half-time - the Blue Stars' two goals coming from Sean Cahill and Brian Stynes - Dublin were quickly back into contention at the start of the second period after a goal by Robbie Boyle.

Dublin had the better of exchanges and looked to have secured a narrow win until Curran's late intervention - facilitated by referee Jim Roche's slowish watch - secured the first draw since the exhibition series began five years ago.

The Blue Star hurlers won more comfortably than the margin of two points, 4-9 to 1-16, suggests, as Dublin pulled back a goal late in the match. Ger Ennis gave the most eye-catching display and scored 2-4 from the right corner forward position.