Result: 2-08 to 0-14

Ballyboden St Endas 2 – 8  Kilmacud Crokes 0 – 14

Photos: Kevin Maguire

If thoughts of 2009 filtered through the minds of Boden fans as they left a dusky O’Toole Park then few could blame them as once again, Liam O’Dwyer’s men confounded the pre-match odds against a very fancied Kilmacud Crokes.

Three years ago, a triple saga with Crokes ignited Boden’s year as they eventually went on the win the County title against Naomh Jude.  There’s a bit of work to be done before that can be repeated and the management and players will not be happy that Boden failed to score from play for a massive 51 minutes of playing time.

That they were able to salvage a draw from that return is truly remarkable and especially as Boden were totally outplayed at midfield after captain Declan O’Mahony suffered a gashed shin in the opening minute.

Yet for the first 20 minutes Boden played their best football of the season.  With 50 seconds gone on the clock Conal Keaney made a wonderful one-handed catch to earn a free which he pointed himself.  A minute later, a crisp pass by Conal Keaney to Sean Gibbons – the layoff to Andrew Kerin and the net was dancing.  Crokes rallied with two fine points by Craig Dias and Padraig Mannion but Boden were on form.  At centre back Stephen Hiney was superb in the first 30 and wing back Robbie McDaid and Shane Durkin were making the yards and in a 5 minutes spell Boden kicked four unanswered points – Daniel Davey a replacement for Declan O’Mahony, Andrew Kerin (f), Conal Keaney (f) and Bob Dwane.  The last point the culmination of a great move involving Michael Darragh Macauley and Andrew Kerin.

But probably the game’s most important turning point came in the 19th minute when former Dub star Ray Cosgrove suffered a shoulder/collarbone injury.  It took over 5 minutes before play could resume and from there to half-time Crokes found a new gear.  Two points from Cian O’Sullivan and one each from Craig Dias and Pat Burke left just two points between the sides at the break 1-5 to 0-6.   Crokes were right back in the game and could also point to 7 wides in the half – three from frees. They had every reason to feel confident facing into the second half.

Padraig Mannion as a constant threat at full-forward for Crokes even if his finishing was a bit wayward but Boden were forced into moving Robbie McDaid to full-back – a move that curbed his attacking potential.

As it turned out it was the other No 5 on the pitch who had a telling influence on the game – Cian O’Sullivan – the Dublin player went on the kick four points – not bad for a half back.

Crokes struck first blood after half-time when Mannion pointed in the 32nd minute. But Boden were battling hard – none more so than the ever reliable Mark O’Sullivan who continues to turn in consistent performances.

But with the Crokes backs and midfield totally dominant, Boden were left with just crumbs of comfort to work off.  In that context the pressure was enormous on free-taker Andrew Kerin and once again he rose to the challenge.  In the 38th minute he launched a massive 40m free over the bar to raise Boden’s hopes.  But four Crokes had equalised following points by Mark Vaughan – a first half substitute and Cian O’Sullivan.

A goal at this stage for Crokes would have been a huge set-back to Boden and it took a super stop from Conor Dooley to deny Declan Kelleher.  A pointed free from Mark Vaughan gave Crokes the lead for the first time in the game and with Darren Magee and Pat Duggan in control in the centre of the field – Crokes fans must have been expecting their side to drive on for victory but once again Andrew Kerin came to the rescue.  He won good possession on the right wing playing into the pitch and putt end and his delivery across the face of the goal was heading for Conal Keaney.  Referee Keith Tighe deemed Keaney to have been fouled inside the box and awarded a penalty.  With nerves of steel  Andrew Kerin sent it past David Nestor’s right hand into the corner of the net.

But with Crokes winning so much possession, they were able to launch an immediate response and Mark Vaughan split the posts with three points the last from play to put Crokes back in front with four minutes of normal time left. But a minute later Andrew Kerin had to stand tall and kick another free between the posts.

By now Boden had introduced Darren O’Reilly, Ian Clarke, Kenny Naughton, and Mark McCabe.  O’Reilly in particular was busy and covered an amount of ground in the time that he was on.  Cian O’Sullivan’s fourth point – a punched effort – looked like it would seal the day for the Glenalbyn crew in the 59th minute but a great burst by Michael Darragh Macauley earned a free which Conal Keaney pointed.  The next ball might have won it for Boden but a loose pass was spilt over the line.  Mark Vaughan should surely have won the game for Crokes in the 62nd minute had he opted to pick the ball instead of choosing a flamboyant fly kick that fell into Conor Dooley’s grateful arms.

Since the game was delayed by over 30 minutes due to extra-time in the previous game, the referee deemed there to be insufficient light to finish the match.  So it’s back to Parnell Park next Wednesday at 7.30pm for Game 2 and who knows!!

Conor Dooley, Paul O’Brien, Darragh Nelson, Mark O’Sullivan, Robbie McDaid, Stephen Hiney, Shane Durkin, Michael Darragh Macauley, Declan O’Mahony, Bob Dwane (0-1), Simon Lambert, Sean Gibbons, Conal Keaney (0 – 3f), Ryan Basquel, Andrew Kerin (2-3, 1 pen, 3f),

Subs: Daniel Davey, Ian Clarke, Darren O’Reilly, Kenny Naughton, Mark McCabe