Result: 3 15 to 1 14

McDonagh shines over ‘winterish’ atmosphere at HQ

Ballyboden’s corner forward Finnian McDonagh turned in a high quality performance and a personal tally of one goal and five points in a group game for the Senior B Hurling Championship on Wednesday evening last. Conditions at HQ were damp and cold and the rail was sparsely populated. Perhaps the general gloom permeated the Boden psyche more than our northside visitors as it was Raheny who set the early pace in each half, resulting in a finely-balanced competitive contest.

By the tenth minute the home side were down by five to a brace, with Raheny’s Eoghan Smyth dominating the crowded midfield area. His workrate and scores from frees and open play set down a firm challenge to Ballyboden. Hard graft was required in order to keep Brendan Moran’s men on course with for their third win in the group. This challenge was met head-on by Boden’s Naoise Maguire, and his ‘bread and butter’ defending and distribution slowly brought his side back into the game. Another Boden man whose contribution was significant was goalman Conor O’Donoghue. He struck over four first half long-range frees which equalled McDonagh’s scoring from the inside scoring area. That said, it was the latter’s classy goal which propelled the home side to a half-time lead of 1.08 to 8 points. The narrative of the first thirty would be unjustly incomplete without recording the performance of Boden’s man at the point of the attack Shane Kennedy. He bagged two quality scores from each wing after good teamwork in the middle third. His shot for the net from an O’Reilly off-load was perhaps not his best, but it brought out an excellent bat-away save from Raheny goalman Paddy Bradshaw.

Raheny’s Smyth continued his quality play during the first quarter of the second half. Indeed, he brought his side back into the contest with no meagre assistance from half-back Jack Fagan. Smyth’s long-range free came up short and in a defensive mix-up, the ball went to the Boden net. His fine point from play from out in the country lifted his team-mates spirits, and adding some great free-taking to the Raheny tally, he must have had a winning feeling with his side bagging 1.04 without reply. However, a beautifully worked Boden goal from Darragh O’Reilly, after a Fionn Maguire ball-win and diagonal pass, launched the response that ultimately was the winning of the game. Boden dominated the last quarter with their inside men doing the business on the score-board. Mattie Weldon was the quickest to react to an O’Donoghue free that came up short. His flick to the Raheny net opened up a lead of four for his side. With better quality ball coming his way, McDonagh showed some classy touches as well as adding four valuable points. O’Reilly was another to impress with his consistent workrate.

The Moran back-room will be reasonably happy with this latest win, continuing a fine sequence of performances for the championship and the league. A concern for the side was their tardiness in getting into the pace of this important fixture.  Raheny gave a good account of their abilities with perhaps a concern being their dependence on star-man Eoghan Smyth. McDonagh was clearly Boden’s best performer, with Smyth delivering a high-tempo sixty minutes for the visitors. The better defending of the home side proved the difference in the end, with the last line of Eoin Small. Jamie Desmond and Karl Reddy restricting their charges to just a point, while at the opposite end Boden bagged 2.07 from their Raheny markers.

Squad; Conor O’Donoghue, Eoin Small, Jamie Desmond, Karl Reddy, Keith McCarron, Naoise Maguire, Peter Buckeridge, Cian Mellett, Darragh O’Reilly, Mark Lambert, James Enright, Fionn Maguire, Finn McDonagh, Shane Kennedy, Mattie Weldon, Collie O’Neill, Morgan Ryan.