Result: 2 15 to 1 15
Steel of Fortune shines through in replayed senior final – The Long Fella reports from Parnell Park
The bonfires of victory burned brightly on Firhouse Road after a pulsating replayed Senior Hurling Final at a sunny Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon last. Both finalists enjoyed a seven day ‘ceasefire’ after a dramatic eighty minute final just a week ago. Gods are funny old creatures and sometimes they are friends to cherish and behold. Having them on your side may bring benefits that can last through an autumn evening. It’s fairly sure that Boden’s manager Joe Fortune does Gods, but perhaps not in large doses. He spoke passionately from the victory podium about the ‘want of success’ and his message for the team when faced with a rampant Crokes side. The opening half had ended with the Stillorgan men in very good fettle for the second thirty down the stretch. The half had gone well enough for Boden, but Fortune left his charges in no doubt as to what he and his management team felt would be required to bridge a five year championship drought. His words clearly sank deeply into the Boden greymatter and produced a response of durability and productivity that led to the title of Dublin Senior Hurling Champions of 2018. (Jazzz…that sounds good..Dublin Senior Hurling Champions of 2018..)
Choosing a turning point from this enthralling contest is difficult, but undoubtedly Paul Ryan’s goal from a twenty metre free in the second period will compete well with any other element. Crokes defence was perhaps caught napping when Ryan stepped up to face the challenge, but his placement of the shot was of a quality that few defences could hope to stop. Over the hour Conal Keaney’s performance stood tall and deserves inclusion in the story of the game. His overall distribution and score taking was of a quality that Dublin hurling is well accustomed to. With little of the game to go Boden led by just a goal. But that target seemed to inspire Crokes and a brace of scored frees from Oisin O’Rorke cut Boden’s comfort zone to just a single point. The Boden response was just what the doctor ordered and a monster pointed free from Ryan coupled with a breakaway score from substitute Collie Basquel sealed the deal for Boden.
The opening half was hugely combative and Crokes Mark Howard set the tone with a fine point from out on the whitewash. Boden’s response outdid Howards score as Ryan drifted down the wing before scuttling his pass into the path of Conor McCormack. He managed to shovel his shot past the Crokes keeper for an early goal. Referee Jason Buckley ‘stated his case’ as early as the fifth minute when he ignored several calls from each management dugout for frees. The huge support was in for a cracker. The Ryan McCormack combo took full advantage and added further to the Boden tally. This led to Simon Lambert wantin his own bit of the scorefest and he set out on a direct run at the Crokes defence. Buckley ignored some fiery challenges on him only to allow the turnover which Ronan Hayes spectacularly converted. 1.02 to 0.02. By the quarter hour Boden led by 1.05 to 0.04. with Keaney and Ryan bettering the Crokes scoring by Howard and Fergal Whitely. The ‘better’ bit of this sequence was Ryan’s outrageous side-line that overshot Matt Collins in the Crokes onionsack.
The problem that Boden now had was that nobody managed to get the message to Crokes that the game may have been slipping away from them. Keaney piled further pressure on the Stillorgan men with a monster from out in the country. This is when the fightback started in earnest with Seanie McGrath missing a glorious goalchance when his shot whistled past Maguire’s goal. There followed another huge twist in the story when Howard ran surely sixty metres before he was unceremoniously brought to ground inside the Boden square…PENALTY. With Howard injured and unable to continue, Oisin O’Rorke (after a long delay) shot viciously at a lonely Maguire only for the Boden goalman to batt the ball into the Donnycarney sky and ultimately to safety.
But now a more determined O’Rorke entered into the fray from ‘stage left’ and stake his claim to ‘ownership’ of the second quarter. He proceeded to torment the Boden defence and in particular David O’Connor in the corner. His goal was a thing of beauty as he fired past Maguire in the Boden goal with venom attached. The lead-up catch from the clouds by McGrath was of stratospheric proportions before the baby layoff to the man in form. More O’Rorke scores added to the Crokes lead and the half ended with Boden supporters scratching their heads and wondering if Crokes could continue their rich vein of form for the second thirty. 1.07 to 1.09.
Bodens David Curtin joined Howard in the treatment room for the game’s remainder and Stephen O’Connor took up duties beside his inspiring captain Simon Lambert. He and his teammates brought out a bit of the steel of Fortune and without ever totally dominating, the Firhouse Road men gradually closed out this enthralling contest. Keaney set the tone with yet another quality point. But perhaps it was the Boden defence who did most by getting to grips with O’Rorke, Hayes and Whitely. Shane Durkin was coolness personified, but he had great support from James Madden, Luke Corcoran and the undaunted Dean Curran. Further up the course Niall McMorrow and Niall Ryan were busybees and kept off-loading useful passes into good space. At the point of the attack Conor Dooley used his enormous reach to make his contribution to the win.
By the time Ryan goaled, the game had taken on a slant towards a Boden win, but again the influence of key players…this time it was the men from the bench….that was perhaps the difference in the end. Crokes lost further experience in Ryan Dwyer and Niall Corcoran with the result that their defence showed some leakage. Points from Aiden Mellett and Keaney again brought the game to a goal gap in Boden’s favour. But there was more, and two magnificent scores from Paul Doherty and James Roche demonstrated the slight improvement in Boden’s play that was evident since the break. Crokes kept beating down on Boden’s defence for the last five minutes but some solid defensive work by introduction Malachy Travers (an ever present defender since the Transfer of Aliens Act of the early 2000’s, also known as the Wexit Act) kept Crokes goalless when exactly that was what was required to break their sequence of winless finals.
Roll on next Sunday and the opening round of Leinster.
Squad Gary Maguire, James Madden, Luke Corcoran, Shane Durkin, David O’Connor, Simon Lambert, David Curtin, Niall Ryan, Conal Keaney, Paul Doherty, Conor McCormack, Dean Curran, Paul Ryan, Conor Dooley, Niall McMorrow, Stephen O’Connor, James Roche, Aiden Mellett, Malachy Travers, Collie Basquel, Conor O’ Donoghue, Finn McGarry, Eoghan O’ Neill, Colm O’ Neill, Cillain Byrne, Seán McDonnell, Adam Jermyn, Naoise Maguire, Rob Leddy, Jamie Desmond, Finn McDonagh