Result: 4-08 to 1-08
Stakes were high for both teams in this league encounter. A play-off spot was up for grabs, the chance of promotion was the carrot. Plunketts are a formidable force, we were going to have to bring our A game and then some. Conditions were perfect, not a breeze to be had and Pairc Ui Murchu was in excellent condition. The warm up was intense, now we had to transfer that on to the field of play.
The opening ten minutes was a very tit for tat affair. Tackles were hard, we tagged on points and Plunketts kept the scoreboard ticking over with scores of their own. Cormac Smyth and Ian Clarke were back from their all-Ireland win and that experience was absolutely vital now. Cormac was on the front foot and was making inroads into Plunketts half. Andrew Kerins was the benefactor and he latched on to ball in from Cormac time and time again. Collecting the ball, feigning a pass and then sending the ball high over the bar, Andrew was on fire. Ciaran O Brien in midfield was winning his personal battle with his marker. He was immense, winning the high ball and despite being tackled hard by a number of players, Ciaran came away with the ball and fed Kevin who calmly split the posts.
Adam Carney was a constant thorn in the side of Plunketts corner back. The ball was played into space and Adams turn of pace was a sight to see. He was drawing the foul and Andrew kept Bodens scoreline ticking over with some excellent free taking. Further scores from Vinnie Moran and Kevin made it a one point game at half time. 0-6 to 0-5 in Bodens favour.
As we feared Plunketts were trying to drag us into a slugfest of a game. There were an awful lot of off the ball incidents from the opposition. If we were going to be victorious we needed to get back to playing ball. Go hard but fair, if you get hit, get the feck up and put the ball over the bar. We needed warriors now. No regrets. Heroes are often the unassuming type. They will go about their business very discreetly, often preferring to fly under the radar. The JBs are fortunate to have one such Hereo, our goalkeeper Alan Keane. His heroics have kept us in games on so many occasions. The Dubs have Cluxton, the JBs have Keane! From an amazing double save to an even more amazing penalty save, he is a colosul force in goal. He is so calm under pressure, never gets flustered. His distribution is spot on, even at times acting as a sweeper. Although that can leave management with some hearts in the mouth moments at times. Alans penalty save came about when Plunketts were bizarrely awarded a spot kick even though Boden had clearly kicked the ball away from danger. Plunketts protested that contact had been made with their forwards leg when the only contact had been with the ball. Alan stood his ground, the Plunketts forward took a big run up to the ball and struck it with some force straight down the middle. Alan read it perfectly, and parried it away. What a save, what a Man!
Goals from Andrew and Adam settled our nerves a bit. Our defending was outstanding at this stage, bodies were been put on the line. Our Captains fantastic, James McTiernan and Michael Dunne, were leading by example. Some of the blocking was first class. Dermot Manley never gave a blade of grass, simply breath taking at times. He was rallying his team-mates, always positive in his approach. Cormac Smyth got in on the goal scoring act along with Brian. The referee blew his whistle for full time with Boden victorious with a scoreline of 4-8 to 1-8.
The lads can be very proud of themselves, I know the management is. As I said to them, it was a tough, tough game and to come away with a victory goes to show how far we have come as a team. This has now put us in the playoff final, our opponent yet to be confirmed. It is a massive achievement, to keep that level of professionalism is a credit to the entire panel. Their mental strength can never be doubted. The Boden roar and support will be needed in the final. I know the JBs will do themselves and the club proud. Boden Abu.
Report by Martin O Donnell