Boden opening plays just enough to keep them in the series

Ballyboden St. Endas 0 17  Clontarf CLG 1 11

Long Fella reports from a Chilly PUM

“A must win game”, “A sunny day”, “A quality surface”, “A January Hurling play-off”,” Good quality hurling”, Does this lot fit credibly into an opening paragraph?

Probably not, but that is what Sunday morning brought to HQ for game 2 of a round robin series for Boden’s Senior B hurlers to decide their status in the 2022 championship. Their opening game of the series had ended in a draw with Cuala, thereby leaving them with a total of three points and the same in positive score difference.

Without a doubt Boden benefited from their opening game Cuala experience in that they almost totally dominated the first thirty, leaving Clontarf with some serious analysis at the break. With Boden only registering four second half points, Clontarf showed some of their best play and will now feel that they have a real chance of toppling Cuala in next Sunday’s tie. They even had the chance of a draw with the penultimate ball strike of the game. A free from about 25 metres was viciously struck by Mikey Devine only to see Boden’s Jack Lambert deflect the ball for a relieving 65. The follow up ball ended in Boden possession and the final whistle.

Two of Boden’s first fifteen stood out in effectiveness and no shortage of class. Finnian McDonagh finished on five points, some of which were arrowed over from wide angles and under some pressure. In defence centre-back Fergal Ryan used his athleticism and vision to open up space for team-mates as well as pointing from play and placed balls. Some excellent support play from Boden’s Killian Kirwan released McDonagh for his opener, cancelling out a smasher from Devine. Point number three came from the speedy Davey Keogh. McDonagh again added to the tally, and was quickly followed by scores from Rhys, Conor Kennedy (a superb team effort), and the first from Darragh Kennedy. Score 7 to 2 and Water-break.

Panic may have seemed an easy option for Clontarf, especially when Kenny and McDonagh pointed early in the quarter, but Jack Higgins settled them down with a fine out-field strike. Boden’s Mark Lambert added to his tally with a well-taken free for Boden, before Kenny was clean through, but with only his Brogue as a striking weapon. Not so fast called the man in the middle and the panic in the Battlers defence was reduced to relief. McDonagh provided some compensation and inspired Ryan (F) and Kenny ( Kennedy assist) into action with points. Score 13 to 4 (game as good as over????). Not so according to Clontarf as they finished the half with a brace, the second from Brian Ford after some stern Clontarf defending as Boden went after a goal. Half-time 13 to 06.

The second half opened as Clontarf survived some good quality play from Boden’s middle third and especially from workman Fionn Maguire, but the scores failed to register. After seven minutes the much needed score came from Clontarf’s Jack Higgins and they quickly followed up with a second. Boden’s only response came from Lambert, a free from about fifty. Score 14 to 0.9.

With the last of the water taken on board, Finnian opened the 4th Quarter scoring with yet another beauty. Clontarf’s reply was swift, with firstly a pointed free and followed by a goal after some indecision in the Boden rear-guard. With time running out, it took some steady defending as well as leadership in the attacking area to get Boden over the finishing line. In defence Naoise Maguire and corner man Luke Mulligan-Lynch provided some steady play to keep the goal-count to one. Down the middle it took Ryan’s steady hand to bag a late brace, both of them quality points.

Boden can move forward into the season in the knowledge that the team management of Ritchie Sweetnam, Brian Kelleher and Simon Daly have found some new talent coming through from the under-age squads. From what was seen this sunny morning, the future is bright for the squad.

In the meantime, we now await the result from next week’s game between Cuala and Clontarf to determine the championship position of this team for next year.

Click here Photos by John Kirwan