Result: 1 24 to 1 09

Great Start for Minor A Hurling Championship 2018 – The Shepherd Reports from PUM

In perfect conditions for a hurling match, Ballyboden were comfortable winners over a valiant Oliver Plunketts team that couldn’t match their hosts for skill, craft and teamwork.

Jack Lambert and the full back line of Seán O’Donnell, Conor Lowe and Joe Mc Grath put in a good shift keeping out the attacking northsiders. In fairness the half backs were busy all morning also. Enda Cashman (the king of the hook) and Jack Kenny covered some amount of ground, chasing down forwards and attacking when needed. Fergal Ryan was impervious at centre back, commanding the line and adding to the score board with some impressive free-taking also. The powerhouse in the centre of the field of Cillian Kirwan and Pearce Christie was very impressive. One old soldier on the side-line remarked that they had legs that looked like they had spent a few weeks on the bog, but deep tans aside they worked like dogs all morning long, ensuring that no Plunketts attack would get past their berth too easy.

Although the score line would have you believe that ‘Boden had an easy time of things, that does not paint a true picture of proceedings. Indeed OPER were 3 points to 2 up after ten minutes. But the tide turned when Adam Kelleher scored a lovely point to draw the teams level. This score was followed by a deft touch from his father who saved a windscreen from a wayward ball over the side-line! It must have given the lads some inspiration as they heaped score after score on the visitors. A worrying feature of the first half however was the flurry of frees conceded needlessly towards the half time whistle. Although Ciarán O’Reilly got yet another goal this year with the boot we let the Plunketts boys back to touching distance at the break with a handy goal (BBSSE 1-13 OPER 1-6).

It was a day for our forwards to excel all the same, and that they did in spades. Kevin Desmond and Luke Mc Dwyer were linking up to score points in the same fashion that has defined their hurling since they were in the nursery together. Malachy Codd was deft from all angles in both his scoring and his support running. Peter Gannon worked hard for his team mates, fielding and tapping down an amount of ball for the others to run on to and grab the glory. But if you came along to see a display of how to beat defenders, to score from all angles and to come back for more Messrs O’Reilly and Kelleher put on a show.

What was a pleasure to see in this match was the effort that the lads put in all the way to the wire, never losing concentration and never giving an inch. Although ten points up with 5 minutes to go Cillian Kirwan chased down an attacking Northsider, blocked him, won the ball and turned defence into attack. When Eoin Behan and Ciarán Mc Donald came on they added to the effort and fierce physicality of the ‘Boden hurlers.

Team: Jack Lambert, Seán O’Donnell, Conor Lowe, Joe Mc Grath, Jack, Kenny, Fergal Ryan (0-3f), Enda Cashman, Cillian Kirwan (0-2), Pearce Christie (0-2), Luke Mc Dwyer (0-3), Kevin Desmond (0-3), Malachy Codd (0-2), Ciarán O’Reilly (1-2), Peter Gannon, Adam Kelleher (0-7), Ciarán Mc Donald, Eoin Behan, Luke Mulligan Lynch and Dara Kenny