Result: 5 28 to 5 25

Collie Basks Well in Donnycarney heat

(after two periods of extra time)

Superlatives are of little use in describing this extraordinary Leinster Club Senior Hurling Semi-final at a sunny Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon. Imagine being the scorer of 2.16 and finish up on the wrong end of this epic encounter. That was the lot of Coolderry’s Brian Carroll. Boden’s top scorer was as usual Paul Ryan, who was unerring from frees and 65s, and with the addition of a few well taken points from play. However the difference between the teams was arguably the ninety minute performance from Collie Basquel. He spent almost the entire time at the point of Boden’s attack and in the process helped himself to a tally of 3.03, not bad for a man that has concentrated on the big ball for some years now. Coolderry supporters felt somewhat hard done by when the referee found several minutes of additional injury and stoppage time at the end of the game. Their side found themselves in front for the one and only time when the clock seemed to be running down to zero, but the man in the middle allowed enough time for Ryan to point from a free close in.

The game opened in a blaze of scoring. Boden’s Niall Ryan latched onto a loose ball in the middle of the field and ran unchallenged for about fifty metres before firing a rasper past Coolderrry’s goalman Stephen Corcoran. The hapless net-minder had hardly drawn his breath when Basquel fired another goal past him after he had grafted to get himself in a good position to score. That was in many ways the strength of Basquel’s performance. He tortured the Coolderry defence to the point that, a few minutes later, he chased down a ‘nothing ball’ which should have been Corcorans to clear to the midfield area. He did manage a clearance but only to the grateful hands of Boden’s Conal Keaney. He accepted the ‘gift’ and fired to the empty Coolderry net. The Offaly champions had their own period of domination and notched six fine points in between the Boden goalfest. Carroll showed why he is one of the most gifted hurlers in Leinster with a truly top drawer showing over the sixty minutes.

By the end of thirty minutes Boden had a seven point lead thanks to some fine outfield scores from Stephen O’Connor and a ‘stormer’ from Shane Durkin. Others to contribute points on the scoresheet were David Curtin and inevitably the unstoppable Basquel. Coolderry fought hard to keep in touch and were rewarded with quality points from Carroll, Daniel Miller and captain Kevin Connolly. In the middle third, Niall McMorrow was always close to the action and his general workrate and distribution was a huge contributor to Boden’s cause. Half Time 3. 08 to 0. 09.

The second half was very much Coolderry’s and they not only clawed the deficit back, but were even thinking about the Leinster final until Ryan’s late free. The early exchanges were even enough and Stephen O’Connor doubled his personal tally with a fine point from out in the country after Keaney and McMorrow had combined to create the space. Durkin matched his team-mate moments later with another super score, McMorrow again the ‘worker’. Curtin was next to score and this time it was his good friend Keaney who provided the pass into space. Then came the Offaly fightback, and within a few minutes their first goal was registered, a kicked loose ball which Boden’s goalman O’Donoghue could hardly have been at the end of. Within five minutes they had their second three-pointer…this time from Declan Parlon. Coolderry also kept piling on the points and were only halted by….you’ve guessed it….Basquel…another peach of a goal when he outran the Coolderry defence. Running down the clock, the score stood at 4.13 to 2.16…a goal in it. Boden substitute Paul Doherty did much for Boden hearts with two magnificent points, the second after Keaney had grabbed high and laid a beauty of a pass. Paul Ryan and Carroll exchanged points to keep just a goal in it. And then the Coolderry support went wild in the stand when Conor Molloy fired home from close range and was followed by Connolly with a fine point. The last few minutes dragged out and following a few Boden wides, Ryan pointed a free after Basquel was fouled. Extra Time!!

Undoubtedly the game now entered epic proportions with Boden’s third extra time clash (this time on the double) in succession. Aiden Mellett, who had a quiet enough (by his own standards) first sixty, stepped up to the plate and kept running at the Coolderry defence. His pass to Basquel for his third goal was pure craft. But Coolderry were not dead and buried. Carroll kept plugging away and between points and a super goal, he brought his side level. In the second period of extra time Boden opened up another lead, but again Coolderry came back and levelled. O’Donoghue got a hurley to the shot but it went past his grasp. With the lights on in Donnycarney, the game continued with again Boden taking the lead. Both sides now depleted in players, the final three scores fell to Boden with Paul Ryan punishing some stern challenges. Coolderry failed to register a score in the last period of extra time.

This was a Boden performance of stern resistance from a well marshalled Coolderry side. In defence, Luke Corcoran and captain Simon Lambert provided the strength to thwart the efforts of the Offaly men. Later in the game, Keaney dropped back to steady the ship when the pressure mounted up. Up front, apart from Basquel, Mellett finished the game well, and Doherty was a very productive introduction.

Boden go now to meet Ballyhale Shamrocks in the Leinster final.

Boden   Conor O’Donoghue, Luke Corcoran, James Madden, Shane Durkin, Stephen O’Connor, Simon Lambert, Dean Curran, David O’Connor, Niall Ryan, Conal Keaney, David Curtin, Aiden Mellett, Paul Ryan, Collie Basquel, Niall McMorrow, Conor Dooley, James Roche, Finn McGarry, Malachy Travers, Paul Doherty, Conor McCormack