Senior A Championship

Ballyboden St Endas 0 28 Cuala 1 27 (after ET)

Long Fella Reports from Parnell Park

‘Gutted, gutted, gutted’ was the reaction from a Boden supporter after a pulsating quarter-final contest with the 2020 Senior Hurling Champions at a well-attended Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon. So imagine what the reaction was from the players as they sank to their knees at the final whistle with the agony of loss eating at their hearts. Boden gave it their all in a game which tested their character to the limits. It took a brace of late scores in extra time from Cuala to finally end Boden’s season.

This was a game of fine margins, if only in reviewing the ‘nearly scores’, balls that hit the woodwork. The first of these was arguably, the difference between the teams. A shot for a point from Con O’Callaghan out on the wing rebounded into the Boden square and directly to Cuala’s Sean Moran and he swivelled to the optimum position before firing to the Boden net. Later in the game a similar situation had almost the opposite outcome when Paul Ryan’s strike fell conveniently to a Cuala defender and a solid clearance. Add in the only clear-cut Boden goal chance which fell to substitute Pearse Christie, who followed the script correctly in running directly for Sean Brennan’s Cuala goal and firing to his left. Brennan did brilliantly in saving and setting up the next score for a Cuala forward, a potential turnaround of four points.

Boden opened convincingly with early scores from Luke McDwyer and Boden’s best on the day Niall McMorrow. Cuala’s David Treacy started the Cuala tally with a neat strike. Boden’s Shane Durkin sent his pass to McMorrow and he made his own space to point expertly. Cuala’s top performer John Sheanon reduced the deficit with the first of his four points and was quickly followed by McMorrow from a free. Boden’s Simon Lambert combined with McMorrow to release Conal Keaney for the first of his brace of points. Treacy pointed a free and within a minute the ball was in the Boden net from Moran’s opportunist shot. Treacy added further from a free before Sean McDonnell set up a point from McMorrow.The quarter ended with McMorrow and Sheanon sharing scores to leave the board at 0.07 to 1.05.

Quarter two opened with Cuala’s Diarmuid O’Floinn and Keaney sharing scores to leave just a single between them. O’Callaghan and Treacy opened the lead to three before Boden’s James Madden profited from Keaney’s assist. Cuala’s Niall Carthy pointed expertly, followed by Madden with a beauty. The quarter ended with Madden again on the mark followed by McMorrow with his sixth point from a free. Score 0.12 to 1.10 at half-time.

McMorrow continued his good work with the opener of the second half after Christie entered the fray and found him. There followed an important incident when both umpires at the Boden goal waved Treacy’s shot wide and in agreement with the referee. However, a lines-man entered the field to offer his view that the shot was pointed, Boden again down by one. A series of frees followed with Cuala bagging three to McMorrow’s single. O’Callaghan and McMorrow brilliantly pointed at either end and inspired Boden’s Niall Ryan into the action for his first of the evening. Paul Ryan finished the quarter’s scoring to keep the gap to a point. 0.17 to 1.15.

The final quarter was dominated by Boden, but their wide count was beginning to take the gloss out of their efforts. Paul Ryan’s frees were crucial for Boden in cancelling out scores from Sheanon and Kevin Kirwan. Christie was found by McMorrow for an important score. It looked like a Cuala day when O’Callaghan pointed on sixty minutes, but Ryan arrowed his placed ball over the Cuala crossbar from sixty metres and tied the game at 0.24 to 1.21.

Extra time opened with the sun setting over the city to the west and McMorrow pointing yet another beauty. However, Cuala replied with three unanswered points from Treacy (2) and Sheanon. Score 0.25 to 1.25. The final ten minutes opened with a Boden brace, the second of them from Niall Ryan after McMorrow did the hard work. Boden’s Paddy Dunleavy and David O’Connor both had chances to put Boden in front, but their shots were agonisingly wide. But Paul Ryan followed up with a monster point from a 65 to tie the game again. Cuala’s response was immediate with a game-winning brace from Treacy and O’Callaghan.

Squad; Finn McGarry, Stephen O’Connor, Luke Corcoran, Rob Leddy, Shane Durkin, Simon Lambert, Simon Lambert, James Roche, Sean McDonnell, Aidan Mellett, Niall Ryan, James Madden, Luke McDwyer, Conal Keaney, Niall McMorrow, John Maguire, David O’Connor, Paddy Dunleavy, Paul Ryan, Pearse Christie, Conor ’Donoghue, Cian Mellett, Dean Curran, Conor McKeon, John O’Driscoll, Conor Dooley, Kevin Desmond.