Ballyboden St Endas 3-21 Erins Own (KK) 3-19 …AET
CHAMPIONS of Leinster — that has a nice ring to it. Ballyboden St Enda’s, continuing to raise the bar for Dublin hurling.
They left Nowlan Park on Sunday clutching the Division 1 Leinster Senior League title.
They arrived in the land of the Cats and beat one of the natives, Erin’s Own of Castlecomer, from north Kilkenny. And, what’s more, the three-in-a-row Dublin champs did it without their full hand due to Dublin commitments and injuries — players such as Gary Maguire, Stephen Hiney, Shane Durkin, Paul Ryan, Simon Lambert and David Curtin.
But their achievement only underlined the depth of their squad, a panel that has been nurtured by hours and hours of graft down through the years.
“We are absolutely thrilled,” beamed Liam Hogan, the man who led ‘Boden to the promised land in 2007, when they captured the Dublin SHC ‘A’ for the first time.
“Granted, we were fairly short alright between one thing and another, but the lads that came in are quality players and they stepped up to the mark. You had the likes of Mick McGarry, who really stepped up to the plate. He had a stormer of a game. He played for Dublin a couple of years ago in the All-Ireland under-21 final. He’s a super hurler.
“But he’s just been so unlucky with injury since that final. He has had some horrific spells out with injury,” explained Liam.
The tussle went to extra-time. It was a thriller. Boden won it by 3-21 to 3-19 after the Castlecomer boys had reeled in the Dubs courtesy of a late goal that had square ball written all over it. It held up the Dublin-Laois contest.
As they had done all during the competition, Boden showed deep resolve. They have an admirable backbone about them. Finn McGarry is a super keeper. He’d be No1 in most clubs.
Not for the first time he stepped between the posts with conviction for Gary Maguire. Out the field, the experienced David Sweeney and David O’Connor made telling donations, but it was the overall industry and heart that eventually took Boden home.
“This is a big boost for Dublin hurling. It just shows that, given the proper stage, Dublin hurling clubs can play hurling with the best of them.
“People have heard me go on about winter hurling and how much I hate it,” added Liam. “But on Sunday we had the sunshine on our backs and we were playing on one of the best hurling surfaces in the country. Our lads really enjoyed it.”
On home turf, Erin’s Own were the favourites. They were unbeaten in the campaign, and they had beaten such distinguished clubs as Buffer’s Alley of Wexford and Dicksboro of Kilkenny. “They are a very good side, and they proved that recently by beating James Stephens in the Kilkenny Championship,” stated the Boden boss.
Boden had some notable results themselves going into the final. In the group stage, they defeated Rathnure (Wexford) and Clonkill (Westmeath). They lost to Kilkenny’s Tullaroan.
In the quarter-final the Firhouse men overcame Harps of Laois by two points before enduring extra-time to get over Wexford’s Askamore Kilrush in the semi-final.
“We like making things hard for ourselves! Extra-time in the semi-final and again on Sunday,” smiled Liam.
But, as ever, the Boden boys proved they know how to go the extra yard, and they have brought Dublin hurling with them.
Stephen Perkins showed all his wisdom and craft. “Stephen orchestrated so many of the scores that we got on the day,” remarked Liam.
“James Doody gave his best performance of the year and shows all the signs of being back to his 2007 form which saw him earn a Dubs Star. He gave a display of hard work combined with sublime first touch and great awareness to create numerous scoring opportunities for his colleagues. There were also great performances from senior debutantes Oisin Cannon and Stephen O’Connor, both of whom have bright futures in the blue and white of Ballyboden.”
Job done, the panel and management could sit back and watch Dalo’s Dubs, including a cluster of their own ‘Boden brothers, advance to a meeting with the Cats. “Yes, that was a good Dublin win, so, overall, it was a memorable day for Dublin hurling,” remarked Liam.
SCORERS – Ballyboden St Enda’s: David O’Connor 2-2, David Sweeney 1-2, Niall McMorrow 0-5 (1f), Mark Lambert 0-4 (3f), Stephen Nolan 0-3 (2f), James Doody 0-2, Brian Kennedy, Stephen Perkins, Michael McGarry 0-1 each.
– Niall Scully, Evening Herald