Result: 2 18 to 1 11

Third Leinster Title for Boden – Wordsworth reports

A journey that began on 27th February ended in triumph in Portlaoise on Saturday 11th June when Ballyboden senior hurlers captured the Leinster League title for the third time. This was a perfect afternoon for hurling – dry, bright conditions and a flawless pitch gave the players every chance to show their skills.

Boden started well with Conor McCormack and a long-range Dean Curran point either side of a Simon Lambert free giving them an early advantage. Finn Mc Garry was showing well in midfield and tagged two fine points. A casualty in that first quarter was half-forward Niall Ryan who had to retire injured. This was particularly unfortunate for Niall as he’d been in great form in recent matches and no doubt would have contributed well in this match. A feature of this campaign for Boden was the strength in depth of the squad and in that regard, in came Matty Weldon to replace Niall. He had an immediate impact and in typical fashion, was at the centre of most midfield exchanges, hooking, blocking and securing breaking ball well. Rathnure were keen to use their influential full-forward Robbie Codd as much as possible and paced a number of direct balls in to the square. On one of these occasions a foul was committed and a penalty was awarded. No better man to face a one-to-one situation and Keith Robinson handled the pressure well, pulling off a fine save. At the quarter hour, it was 6 points to 3 in favour of Boden.

Rathnure had the assistance of the breeze in the first half and their influential midfielder Paddy Whitely had a couple of long range points early on. A long ball in after 20 minutes led to the first goal of the match and it went to Rathnure. This briefly gave the Wexford men the lead but they did not take full advantage and had quite a few wides in this second quarter. This was due, in no small part, to the pressure exerted by Boden’s defence – particularly Malachy Travers, Eoin Small and David Curtin, whose work rate forced Rathnure to shoot from distance.

With the half-time whistle approaching, Boden had pegged back the Rathnure lead and with three points from Lambert were leading by one. Then a strong Conor McCormack run and some neat interplay with David O’Connor led to a great Boden goal – what a lift for the team before half time – it meant Boden had grabbed the initiative and went to the dressing room in a very positive frame of mind. It was just reward for the hard work being done all over the field. Half-time score Boden 1-10 to Rathnure’s 1-7.

Points from Lambert and O’Connor at the start of the second half showed Boden meant business. Allied to that were solid interventions by Curran, Conor Robinson and David Curtin at the back . Matty Weldon contributed a fine point and at this stage, manager Paul Carley had started to use the bench. One player that had been introduced, Cian Hiney, scored shortly after coming on and with fifteen minutes to go the scoreline read Boden 1-15 Rathnure 1-9.  A good lead but the focus needed to be maintained. Rathnure scored a brace of points but on 48 minutes, the game was effectively sealed. Simon Lambert got the ball in the corner and broke along the end line. The move was stopped but Lambert regained the ball and with a powerful shot, struck low from a very tight angle, into the Rathnure net. A second point from Hiney following a fine move involving David O’Connor and Lambert consolidated the position. Rathnure were forced to go for long-range points to claw back the lead but their shooting was wayward. After a third McGarry point, the final whistle went on a scoreline of Boden 2-18  Rathnure 1-11.

Thanks to Rathnure for a fine, sporting match. Well done to the squad and management team – Paul Carley, Terry O’Neill and Sean Collum – on this victory – a third to add to Boden’s Leinster League titles of 2010 and 2013.

Scorers for Boden : Simon Lambert 1-7 (4f, 1 65), Conor McCormack 1-1, Finn McGarry 0-3, Matty Weldon 0-2, Cian Hiney 0-2, Dean Curran 0-1, Ronan Cleary 0-1, David O’Connor 0-1.

Back Row left to right : Brendan Treacy, Mike Clifford, Adam Jermyn, Ronan Cleary, James Roche, Austen Lynch, Keith Robinson, Matty Weldon, Conor McCormack, Ronan Dooley, Darragh O’Gorman, David O’Connor, Paul Doherty.

Front Row left to right : Malachy Travers, Eoin Small, Conor Robinson, Rob Leddy, Finn McGarry, Dean Curran (Captain), Niall Ryan, Simon Lambert, David Curtin, Cian Hiney.