Result: 1 18 to 0 14

‘Shadow Boxing’ event at Donnycarney fails to ignite the Dublin Senior Championship – The Long Fella Reports

Climate change was the main pre-match discussion at a well attended Parnell Park on Wednesday evening for this top-of-the-table group championship joust. A good mix of Cuala, Boden and neutrals convened under stand cover and wondered ‘where in the hell’ did a sudden introduction to autumn rains come from. The result was that the surface was greasy and the ball at times felt like a bar of soap. Of course the ‘band of brothers’ had a solution to that problem…..warm weather training in the Algarve…..Conal Keaney’s wedding on Friday next.

Boden lined out as follows…..Gary Maguire, David O’Connor, Luke Corcoran, James Madden, Shane Durkin, Simon Lambert, Dean Curran, David Curtin, Stephen O’Connor, Paul Doherty, Niall Ryan, Conor Dooley, Paul Ryan, Aiden Mellett and Niall McMorrow. Subs used…Collie O’Neill, Eoghan O’Neill, Conor McCormack, James Roche, Malachy Travers.

Cuala came out of the blocks with real intent and responded to Paul Doherty’s point with a flurry that included points from the Treacy brothers David and Sean. In between Niall Carthy played his part and David Treacy slotted two frees. The score line stood at six to one. Paul Ryan pointed a loose ball, only for Treacy to again set the standard with a long-range free.

Boden now ‘entered the fray’ with points from Paul Ryan and Aiden Mellett….a clever one-two set up from the wing involving Niall Ryan. The next play brought the seminal score of the evening….a fine diagonal pass-ball to Mellett who rounded the cover to fire past Sean Brennan in the Cuala goals…..scores tied. ’ Cuala were now  struggling to mount scoring opportunities with Boden holding a firm line on the forty where Durkin, Simon Lambert and Dean Curran held court. Niall Ryan now profited from his own good foraging and pointed on the double, only for his Cuala namesake Tom to slot the first of his three glorious points from mid-field. The remainder of the thirty was shared and Niall McMorrow, David Curtin and Paul Ryan matched the Cuala scores from David Treacy. The final score of the half fell to Paul who profited from connecting with the increasingly influential Mellett.

The break was an opportunity to mix with the ‘great and the good’….in particular an interested neutral.

Sundays All-Ireland Football Final brought Jimmy Culhane to the ‘big-smoke’. He stayed on for a few days to check out how the other half lived.

He introduced himself to a few punters around him. He spoke openly and enquired about his ‘old club’ in the capital……how they were doing….and how he’d played for them in the eightees……as a guest…..unregistered… we understood…..under an assumed name. He related that he’d lined out for this club whenever he was in Dublin, playing alongside his brother who was a member of the club.

The big question was of course, if he’d ever been questioned by a referee on the matter. ‘No never….I managed to get a game a month with them…..and barring the requirement to wear the head-gear both on and off the pitch….I had a great time with them’.

And then in a ‘Road to Demascus’ admission, Jimmy Culhane explained how the whole caper came to a sorry end. ‘You see….I kind’a expected to get a game whenever I turned up….but that was not the case when it came to the semi-final of the championship….No! No!….the manager took me to one side and explained that the number 15 jersey was to be given to a lad from the midlands….and that he’d had a brief run with his county….and he was up from the country for the weekend…..and that they needed his speed in the corner. I had no option but to take it on the chin and grin and bear it…..And then the brother asks me to help out with the game and do UMPIRE…..Well you can guess what happened next…..there’s me waving the white flag for scores from my replacement….and using my guest-name….BERNIE MURPHY…..He scored five points….all from play’.

‘The whole thing was too much to take….and I tendered my resignation…..or whatever you do… circumstance like that’.

And that is the story of Jimmy Culhane’s Dublin hurling career……ultimately being ‘out-bangered’ by a better banger…..

The second thirty was a mix of broken play with missed opportunities on both sides, the costliest of which was Treacy’s failure to convert a well-worked penalty opportunity. Mellett and Niall Ryan remained as Boden’s most fluid attackers, and between assists and scores they kept the possession figures in Boden’s favour. Paul Ryan stayed on the frees and slotted an enormous point from a 65 out wide. Boden’s mid-field efforts maintained the scores at arms length and the drivers of the campaign Curtin and Stephen O’Connor both got their rewards with well-worked points. Late introductions are the order of the day these times and Boden benefitted from the efforts of James Roche and in particular Conor McCormack. He acted as a target and held up the attacks for sufficient time in order to bring his team-mates into the play.

The result leaves Boden as group-toppers and destined to play a ‘seconder’ in the quarters, However there is little doubt that Cuala will be a different proposition when the likes on the Shuttes, O’Callaghans and Malone’s return to the side to help them retain the Dublin Championship, and possibly more……..|