Senior A Championship Semi Final

Ballyboden St Endas 0 15  Kilmacud Crokes 1 21

Long Fella Reports from Parnell Park

“The evening of truth”, a telling throwaway from a Boden supporter skirting by the megalith that is Donnycarney church, reflected the mood of the underdog entering Parnell Park for the semi-final of the senior A hurling championship on Saturday evening last. The raw truth, when it unfolded , was that Crokes have matured significantly since their final appearance last year when lady-luck came to their rescue to get them over the line against a gutsy Na Fianna. Apart from the opening quarter, the champions dominated this competitive joust between arguably, the two biggest GAA clubs in the country. After Crokes Alex Considine goaled from an angle, cancelling out a fine opening scoring flow from Boden, they went on to dominate the rest of the game and restricted Boden to just five second-half points.

Crokes showed the confidence that county champions should. They were just too good for Boden. Their defence did a good job in closing down the Boden danger-men, McMorrow and Keaney in particular. The latter was withdrawn early, making way for some impact introductions. The Crokes reaction was simple, keep to the formula of pressure hurling, coupled with laying the passes wide into the scoring area. Crokes Ronan Hayes was a constant threat and on any other day could have had a brace of goals. Boden’s Finn McGarry pulled off a spectacular deflection from the full-forward for a 65. In contrast, Boden never threatened the Crokes goal, apart from Paul Ryan’s long-range frees in the second half. Ryan had opened the game very well with a brace of quality points. Another who showed up well was Conor Dooley, using his height advantage to gain possession and notch up a brace of points. Using a different style of attack, Boden’s Niall Ryan used his pace to account for three important scores. Crokes never panicked and had Dara Purcell, Considine, Hayes, Fergal Whitley and Oisin O’Rourke in top form. Late in the half Boden’s Aiden Mellett pointed to keep the difference to just Considine’s goal. O’Rourke missed a simple free, but the next attack fed Purcell and in front of Dublin’s new maestro, he pointed to send his side to the rest-room with a five point lead.

The opening score to the second half fell to O’Rourke, but not before Crokes full-back Darragh Butler was allowed the freedom to run straight down the spine of the pitch before being fouled. Boden’s Simon Lambert, who acted as the sweeper for most of the game, hit a monster point from his own territory, but Crokes cancelled it out with a point from substitute Fionn O’Ceallaigh. McMorrow finally got his rewards for hard work with a brace, but all-the-while Crokes were in scoring form through O’Rourke, O’Ceallaigh and Michael Roche. The second half was generally a broken affair, with only a few passages of fluency, but Crokes were consistent in closing the space on Boden. Their greater stature helped them greatly on the heavy October sod. Boden’s Kevin Desmond, a second half introduction, angled a point over with just five minutes left, but that was that for his side. Crokes confirmed their superiority with the last three scores from O’Ceallaigh and Roche.

Best for Boden was Stephen O’Connor, who constantly interrupted the Crokes machine and sent his side into attack. Crokes had many stars, Purcell Hayes and Considine the most effective. Of course, the disappointment for Boden was there for all to see but given the rounds of the block that most of this side have been through, they can feel some satisfaction in reaching the semi-final. Bear in mind that two thirds of the Boden side are over the age of thirty, whereas Crokes eldest is under thirty.  The management have given their all in the campaign, as well as their many assistants on the line.

Congrats to Crokes, who now have a great chance of capturing another title. Na Fianna might have other thoughts on that! Good luck to both teams.

Squad; Finn McGarry, David O’Connor, Luke Corcoran, Hugh O’Sullivan, James Madden. Stephen O’Connor, Shane Durkin, Niall McMorrow, Simon Lambert, Luke McDwyer, Conal Kearney, Conor Dooley, Aiden Mellett, Timmy Hammersley, Paul Ryan, Niall Ryan, Paddy Dunleavy, Conor O’Donoghue, Conor McKeon, Rob Leddy, Kevin Desmond, Pearce Christie, John Maguire, Luke Mulligan-Lynch, Dean Curran, Fergal Ryan.

Thanks to John Kirwan for the photos.

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