Ballyboden 1 15 Na Fianna 0 12
The Long Fella Reports with Photos by John Kirwan
A productive second half against a youthful Na Fianna side has rewarded Ballyboden with a place in the Dublin Senior A Hurling championship final in which they will meet Cuala. Boden hit 1.09 in the last thirty minutes as opposed to their modest first half total of just six points. The ‘comfort’ score on the tally sheet was Paul Ryan’s bullet of a penalty after a sprint from midfield by Luke McDwyer and a lay-off to Pearse Christie. Referee P. J. Murray concluded that Christie had been fouled in the inner sanctum and immediately pointed to the spot. Tracey in the Na Fianna goals was left with no chance when Ryan rifled his shot to the Killester-end net. At the time Boden were in the ascendancy after a period of quality play. In defence, Boden’s James Madden was exerting his influence on Na Fianna’s danger-man Donal Burke (he had tallied 2.10 in the quarter final). In a rear-guard dominated game, Madden produced a sixty-five-minute marking performance that merits special mention.
The game opened with the Glasnevin club taking the game to the champions from 2018. Burke produced an incredible point from out on the wing and he on the retreat. Pointed frees from Colin Currie had Boden in early trouble as Na Fianna led with the wind at their backs 3 to zero. On eight minutes Boden’s Simon Lambert stepped into an attacking role and pointed superbly. Ryan and Currie traded frees before Boden’s corner back David O’Connor had just the minimum of distance off the wing to point and bring the score to 4 to 3. Immediately Paul Doherty was quickest to spot a short puck-out. His snap-shot tied the game for the first time. Water-break.
On resumption Na Fianna raced into a good lead and threatened to leave Boden scratching their heads looking for a response. Points from Sean Currie (from distance), as well as three pointed frees from his brother Colin doubled the Na Fianna tally to eight points. But Boden had the best of the last seven minutes of the first half with two pointed frees from Ryan after sustained pressure from the Boden forwards. Half time Na Fianna on eight and Boden a brace behind.
The second half opened with Ryan again on the mark after Keaney and Christie combined to draw the infringement. The game became somewhat loose and Na Fianna’s A.J.Murphy and Shane Barrett both pointed superbly. However, Boden’s Paddy Dunleavy brought Boden’s tally to eight with a long-range strike. Barrett tried to follow up on his own point with a surging run that finished with a mighty goal-bound shot. Finn McGarry in the Boden goals was equal to the effort and batted the ball to safety. From this point onwards Boden looked the more comfortable and through sheer work-rate they began to get the upper-hand. Ryan firstly pointed a free, and followed with a point from play after Keaney had superbly caught a high ball. Doherty then grabbed his second point and with Ryan pointing a 65, Boden took the lead that they never looked like relinquishing.
Ryan continued his scoring touch with yet another free and in the process completed a five in a row scoring run for Boden. Na Fianna scored next, but almost immediately Lambert bagged his second score with McMorrow doing the hard work to get the pass away. When a ball broke to McDwyer he used his pace to create the havoc that led to Ryan’s bullet of a penalty. In the dying embers of the game, Boden’s Kevin Desmond won a ball that he had no right to get his hands on and he lobbed his shot over the Na Fianna crossbar from out on the stand-side line.
The win puts Boden up against a quality Cuala side in two week’s time. The plusses in evidence today include the strong second half effort as well as Ryan’s personal tally of 1.08. On the minus side the team will reflect on the concession of many scorable frees which made the task of prevailing more difficult.
Squad: Finn McGarry, Stephen O’Connor, Luke Corcoran, David O’Connor, Conor Dooley, Sean McDonnell, Simon Lambert, Conor McKeon, Paddy Dunleavy, Niall McMorrow, Niall Ryan, Conal Keaney, Paul Ryan, James Madden, Paul Doherty, Aiden Mellett, Conor O’Donoghue, Pearse Christie, Luke McDwyer, Richie Foley, Conor Robinson, Stephen Hiney, James Roche, Conor McCormack, Kevin Desmond, Eoghan O’Neill. Dean Curran, Shane Durkin, John Maguire, David Curtin, Conor Robinson.