Result: 3 21 to 0 18
Boden through to the semi-final of the Hurling ‘A’ Championship after ‘clash of the saints’ – The Long Fella Reports
An interesting meeting of near neighbours drew a fine crowd to Parnell Park on Friday night last….the prize….the opportunity to make it to the semi-final of the blue ribband event of Dublin hurling. The description of the protagonists as ‘near neighbours’ is of course correct in that the commonly used expression ‘close rivals’ hardly applies. Both sides have done well in their leagues and now sit at the business end of their respective tables. But to put this contest in its proper context, one seasoned Boden supporter opined that ‘we are now in September and as it stands, we have yet to see the full mettle of our men’. The position that Ballinteer were in was different in that they had performed superbly in the championship group stages to put themselves in a strong position to cause a major upset. The stage was set for a fine joust in conditions that were perfect…..and somewhat untypical for the time of year….
The start that St. Johns needed failed to ignite and the worst of scenarios befell their chances after Boden raced into an unassailable lead after the quarter hour mark. The scoreboard read 1.09 to just a brace. Boden’s well honed attack fired into overdrive and putting Paul Ryan’s five points with Conal Keaney’s well worked goal from a narrow angle, the contributions from Conor Dooley, Niall McMorrow, David Curtin and Simon Lambert seemed somewhat modest. Ryan stood out in all of this scoring fest and his hundred percent free-taking contributed just two points of his handful. Johns replied with points from free-taker Danny McCarthy and an individual effort from speedy corner man Barry Mannion. In defence the cross-turf speed of David O’Connor and Luke Corcoran stood out for Boden. Another to impress at this early stage was James Madden who turned his defensive duties into attacking opportunities with surging forward raids,
Johns notched the next brace of scores, Fionnan Collins raiding from the half-back line and another free from McCarthy. Keaney responded for Boden and the following point came from Ryan after O’Connor and Dean Curran combined to create the opportunity. The remainder of the half might have been termed the ‘Ryan-show’ after cousins Niall and Paul shared a series of scores which included a deft ground stroke from the latter. This green flag and another ‘Paul’ closed the half and left Boden with a fourteen point lead on their rivals.
Lunar influences played a significant role in the second thirty. A ninety-five percent bright moon offered additional light behind Gary Maguire’s Boden goal and perhaps even made some small ‘green’ contribution to Parnell Park’s evening flood lights.
This sparked Ballinteer into action and led to their winning of the half by outscoring Boden by two points. They achieved this without a goal but with a ‘steady-eddie’ free-taking performance by McCarthy. Three points in a row from Glenn Whelan, Gavin Byrne and another from Collins brought a series of supportive yelps from the Johns support in the stands. But the next score fell to Boden through Paul Ryan after McMorrow had done the spade-work. Johns Tom Aherne and Niall Ryan traded points and……..would you believe it…..the moon then disappeared…..and the Keaney factor struck again. A good raid down the terrace side led to Paul Doherty lobbing a decent ball over several Johns defenders into the gleeful bread-basket that Keaney offered. His shot wide of Johns goalman Seanie Lane ended this joust as a contest and sent Boden through to the last four of the competition.
The remainder of the hour was ‘stop-start’, but this hardly deflected McMorrow who seemed to be in a good place….his late scores emphasised the better qualities that Boden displayed. However Ballinteer can take away a good feeling from the outing after their spirited second-half display and a fine tally of eighteen points.
Under a ‘watery’ moon Joe Fortune and his selectors reviewed their situation in the middle of the field, happy in the knowledge that they have progressed, but mindful that the next challenge will be against top opponents like St Vincents, or possibly a resurgent Crokes, not to mention the possibility of facing a fully-manned Cuala. (Boden drawn to play Vincents)
Boden lined out with Gary Maguire, David O’Connor, Luke Corcoran, Dean Curran, David Curtin, Stephen O’Connor, James Madden, Simon Lambert, Shane Durkin, Conor Dooley, Conal Keaney, Niall McMorrow, Paul Ryan, Aiden Mellett, Niall Ryan, Paul Doherty, Malachy Travers, Collie O’Neill, Eoghan O’Neill and Finn McGarry……back in action after a lengthy injury.