31 magnificent U11 Boden hurlers went out to Glasnevin on Bank Holiday Monday to compete in the Annual McNulty Hurling Tournament. Six teams went head to head in both a Cup and Shield competition. The 12 teams competing were the hosts Na Fianna, Cuala, Whitehall Colcmcille, Clontarf, Lucan Sarsfields and ourselves Ballyboden – each providing two teams.

Lining up for Ballyboden were – Luke Durkin, Evan McCabe, Oisin McLean, Niall Rossiter, Conor Byrne, Jamie Mahon, Hugo McCrystal, Sean Atkinson, Michael Phelan, Tom Buggy, Jack McNair, Sean Homan, Conor Fitzgerald, Joshua Pluck, Adam Boland, Eoin Rourke, Josh Mooney, Alin-RochGeraghty, Marc Hayes, Rory O’Donoghue, Alan Gannon, Alan Delaney, Matthew Casey, Isaac Barry, James Norris, Fiachra Codd, Zach Grady, Daniel Lynch, Timmy Doyle, Daragh Saunders and Charlie White.

This was going to be a very tough day at the office. Each Ballyboden team was allocated to a 6-team league format in a Cup and Shield competition. 5 matches to be played with your final league standing to determine whether you played in the respective Cup and Shield Final. Added to that we had the arrival of Summer for a very warm day.

Na Fianna as always were fantastic hosts. All the teams were lined up and paraded onto the pitch behind a lone piper. There we had a stirring rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann. Wonderful scenes as all 12 teams lined up before they headed for battle.

Both teams broke off for their respective pitch zones. Our boys were travelling with Colin’s rallying cry “Timber, timber and more timber” ringing in their ears!! Fellow mentors were hoping they had packed spare hurls.

Before lunch the Cup team had 3 tough matches to play. First up was Clontarf – a hard tight encounter but the boys came through 1-7 to 2-2 winners. Next up was the equally trickyLucan Sarsfields but Boden prevailed 3-3 to 0-1. Finally, Cuala were seen off with an emphatic victory of 3-7 to 1-3. Over at the Shield team they were motoring well. First off Boden went 7-4 to no score versus Clontarf and followed that up with a 2-6 to 1-0 against Lucan Sarsfields before they broke for lunch.

The hosts generosity at lunch did not hold back the Shield team!! They came storming out to beat Cuala 6-7 to 1-2, following that up with a resounding 12-5 to no score against Whitehall Colmcille’s and finished off their campaign with a 3-3 to 1-1 victory against the hosts Na Fianna. Unbelievable performance of 5 wins from 5 and 2 clean sheets. Could the Cup team follow with another team into the final?

The Cup team came out of the blocks against Whitehall Colmcille’s post lunch scoring 4-4 to 1-2 and rounding it off with a tight victory against Na Fianna 1-6 to 1-2. A fantastic performance to replicate the Shield team. Boys from both teams had put in exhausting performances on a very warm day. Was there another final match in the legs?

With the two teams in their finals, we were fortunate that both teams would play their respective finals side by side – the Cup team versus Clontarf and the Shield team against Na Fianna. After a short break parents and mentors gathered expectantly – was a double really on? We dared to dream. Colin had another rallying cry “Whip lads whip”!!

Hooter sounded and both finals were off. Clontarf had been dogged in the league game for the Cup team but a magnificent effort across the board saw Boden prevail by 2-8 to 0-2 in the final match. The Shield lads hurled just as magnificently against a very determined Na Fianna coming through 3-3 to 0-1. An unbelievable achievement for both teams – 12 games 12 wins and the silverware coming home to Firhouse Road.

The boys did themselves and the club proud in how they conducted themselves over the course of the day. Their sporting prowess and in particular their on-field sportsmanship was remarked upon by other team selectors and the dual win was the icing on the cake.

Many thanks to all the parents who came out to support the boys on a Bank holiday. It was great to see so many people cheering on the lads. Big shout out to the parents who helped out with umpiring. A special word of thanks to all the coaches who hit every ball with the lads – Pat, Jim, Ray, Dave, Gerry, Cathal, Brian and Colin (Timber!!!). Many thanks to Dave B for keeping track of the match updates for the Shield and to Simon for his excellent undercover work.

Many thanks to Brian Delaney and Trisha McCleanfor the photos. For more, see here