Stars do simple things well

 

First things first. Yesterday was not a day for hurling, and the conviction that such wintry days are best utilised by replaying old videos of the beautiful, ancient game in all its summer glories was reinforced.

A soft, uneven sod (although, in fairness, the St Vincent's club performed wonders to ensure that the double-bill could take place at all) was a handicap that wasn't entirely nullified by the surprisingly mild weather for this game. And, yet, the Blue Stars - containing many Dublin regulars - did many good things in a match which was curtailed by agreement to 50 minutes to save the pitch.

This was a day to perform the simple tasks adequately. Indeed, the very first move of the match was the essence of simplicity when, a mere 17 seconds after the throw-in, Keith Flynn guided Dave Sweeney's long pass to the back of the net past Brendan McLoughlin to give the Blue Stars a lead they were never to relinquish.

Dublin's cause, it must be said, wasn't helped by wholesale prematch changes, the result of injuries, 'flu and other tales of woe. One positive outcome was that the county team picked up the services of Tomas McGrane, who'd originally been included in the Blue Stars substitutes.

McGrane it was who pounced for Dublin's first goal, in the 17th minute, which reduced the deficit to one point; however, the Blue Stars had stretched their lead to three points by the break, thanks to a Stephen McDonnell point and, after McLoughlin had pulled off a truly wonderful save from a Ger Ennis shot, another point from the mercurial Kevin O'Donoghue.

The Blue Stars cut their total of wides in the second half and Shane Ryan, who was later to play in the football match, showed strength, perseverance and astuteness to crash home his side's second goal in the 35th minute. However, by the time his second, and Dublin's third, goal came in the 48th minute (two minutes from time), the writing was already on the wall as McCann (2), Niall Butler (2) and Sweeney had all grabbed points for the Blue Stars.

BLUE STARS: G Ryan; E Kelly, L Walsh, C O'Dwyer; D Finn, P Brady, D McMullen; C Ring (0-2, free, 65), D Sweeney (0-1); S McDonnell (0-2), D McCann (0-3), N Butler (0-2); G Ennis (0-1), K O'Donoghue (0-4), K Flynn (1- 0). Subs: J Finnegan for O'Dwyer (half-time); D McLoughlin for McDonnell (38 mins).

DUBLIN: B McLoughlin; D McCormack, T O'Donoghue, R Breen; D Spain, P Harney (0- 1), L O'Donoghue; S Duignan, S Perkins; S Dalton, L McKeogh, K Horgan; T McGrane (1- 2, two frees), S Ryan (2-2), C Fetherstone. Subs: D Maguire for McLoughlin (half-time); E McCarroll (0-1) for McKeogh (half-time); McLoughlin for Horgan (31 mins); McKeogh for McCormack (47 mins).

Referee: A Mac Suibhne (St Judes).