Result: 2 19 to 1 12

Second half display qualifies Boden from the Senior Hurling Group Stages – The Long Fella Reports 

There are occasions when the game’s outcome is decided by an incident, or in this case two incidents in quick succession. This was very much the case at a pleasantly warm O’Toole Park on Sunday morning. Patrons ‘togged out’ in various levels of protection, given the slight downturn in the weather from Saturday. Some donned the Franciscan look, toes out, to be viewed with some scepticism by the more ‘Polar’ types. ‘Lansagrotte’ shorts were also on display, getting an airing just in case the ‘breeks’ might not get a second outing over the summer.

The scenario was very simple for both sides. Boden needed a win to qualify from the group along with the All-Ireland Champions Cuala. St. Brigids needed the win to keep their title bid alive and perhaps bag a second skin down the track. With that in mind, the men in red opened up with real intent. Within the first quarter they had set the bar high, with a couple of points and a fine goal. Paul Winters, Luke Purtill and Jack O’Neill stood out for them and truly took the game to their more fancied opponents. Boden responded with points from Niall McMorrow, Paul Doherty and Shane Durkin after Conor Dooley had used his immence reach to grab a high ‘puck-out’ ball.

The half continued with mostly ‘tit-for-tat’ scoring. Purtill maintained his quality, but was perhaps bettered by Boden’s Conal Keaney. He only contributed two points, but his general play and distribution was the key for Boden to stay in touch with Brigids. Loose ball was in short supply, but what there was of it rewarded Niall Ryan with a brace. Namesake Paul Ryan also did his part with three first half points. The half ended with the equalising score from Keaney, when he was well and truly ‘stood-up’ on the side-line, only to swivel out of the situation and point from fifty metres.

Score 0.11 to 1.08.

The second half opened with a Paul Ryan point, to be followed by Johnny McGuirk with his equalising score. Niall Ryan with his third, balanced out a monster pointed free from Dublin goalman Alan Nolan. There then followed a period of almost eight minutes without a score, when both sides failed to beat the well organised defences. Simon Lambert was at this stage playing as a sweeper, and Boden had freshened up the line-up with some replacements.

Boden’s first goal opportunity came to Conor McCormack, when he appeared to have been well marshalled. Somehow his touch was enough to direct the ball out of Nolan’s reach and Boden were now that much to the good. Niall Ryan followed with his fourth point, another fine effort and just reward for his persistence. There followed the deciding sequenced of play. Brigids attacked with purpose and had the Boden defence beaten, only for Garry Maguire to rescue the situation with a quality save. The ball went through the lines to Paul Ryan, and with him running towards the end line, he somehow managed to flick the ball past the advancing Nolan to open a seven point gap. Finn McGarry, the Ryans, and Aiden Mellett added late scores to flatter Boden to a double digit win.

The Boden management will be reasonably happy with the performance, but perhaps will be conscious that more accurate opponents will pose a different challenge down the line.

Boden selection;  Garry Maguire, Luke Corcoran, Stephen O’Connor, Malachy Travers, James Madden, Simon Lambert, Finn McGarry, Niall McMorrow, Conal Keaney, Conor McCormack, Aiden Mellett, David Curtin, Paul Ryan, Niall Ryan, Shane Durkin, Conor Dooley, David O’Connor, Paul Doherty, Collie O’Neill.

For photos ( by Cliona Mellett ), see here