Result: 1 14 to 0 13
Minor A start with a win in Cloughran
If you haven’t been fortunate enough to visit Cloughran on a cold, wet, February morning, don’t miss out on the opportunity before life’s clock runs out! As Ballyboden St. Enda’s and Whitehall Colmcille’s faced up in the first round of the Minor A League of 2018, we who were fortunate enough to be on the side-line for this wonderful game weren’t disappointed with the fare served up by two teams who have been very hard to separate over the years. Although conditions underfoot were more suited to the Ploughing Championships than a hurling match, the 30 young men on Cloughran’s revered soil gave it their all and neither side pulled any punches throughout an intriguing encounter.
Whitehall were first off the mark with two tidy points until Pearse Christie got the southsiders on the scoreboard. The red and white outfit got another from a free shortly after. Then Ballyboden’s Ciarán Reilly pulled off the score of the game with a wonderful point from an extreme angle from a ball won by a block he put in himself. After that it was tit-for-tat with Luke Mc Dwyer getting two points from frees and one from play and Kevin Desmond getting another from play. The midfield duo of Christie and Fitzpatrick ran their socks off. The graft of Seán O’Donnell and Dilllon Dunleavy provided much needed support for the other forwards. This work managed to keep ‘Boden in the game before going in 0-9 to 06 down at half time. Throughout the thirty minutes the Ballyboden backs held their own. Jack Lambert was steady in goal and the full back line of Mc Grath, Lowe and Mc Donnell were resolute in their defence of their goal.
The second half started with a flurry of action from the men in blue and white. The half-back line of Dunleavy, Mac Mathúna and Wall was impenetrable. The introduction of substitutes Peter Gannon and Cian Corcoran added impetus to a seasoned ‘Boden side. Fearghal Ryan put over three frees to level the match followed by a kicked goal in the sixteenth minute. After a conference with the umpire, this reporter is still none the wiser as to the identity of the wearer of the boot that did the damage but regardless, a goal was put up on the scoreboard. To add to Whitehall’s woes a short puck out was grabbed by Fearghal Ryan and slotted deftly over the bar. ‘Boden were on top and looked to be slightly fitter as the heavy ground took its toll on young legs. Whitehall, true to their character, never let up and came at their visitors relentlessly. The next ten minutes were tense as both teams struggled to score or to even get a grip on proceedings. Lee Gannon had a stellar performance for his team, but three points from frees and one from play (scored in the thirty first minute) in the second half was an insufficient return to gain a return to ascendancy in this hard-fought battle. Two points from substitute Enda Cashman stretched the ‘Boden lead and a final free from Fearghal Ryan left the score at the final whistle Boden 1-14 Whitehall 0-13.