Ballyboden St Enda’s 0-22 Crumlin 0-10
County champions Ballyboden St Enda’s moved into the semi-finals of the Evening Herald SHC after a comfortable 12-point quarter-final victory over a battling Crumlin at O’Toole Park on Saturday afternoon.
However, it was a far from perfect display from ‘Boden who were without Stephen Hiney and Simon Lambert and they’ll need to improve on Saturday’s relatively moderate performance if their dreams of a three-in-a-row are to be realised.
Despite hitting 22 points over the hour, their forwards lacked cohesion at times and it was only when Crumlin began to tire towards the end that St Enda’s were able to translate their obvious dominance onto the scoreboard, thanks largely to the introduction of quality substitutes Paul Ryan and David Curtin.
Ballyboden’s half-back line of Malachy Travers, Darragh Spain and Tim Sweeney was its most impressive unit and ahead of them David Sweeney looked sharp at midfield but none of the starting front six, with the exception of Niall McMorrow at corner-forward, looked constantly threatening in front of goal.
Crumlin, despite their obvious disappointment, can take heart from their courageous display and defenders Paul O’Brien, David Murphy and John Cullen in particular all impressed, but ultimately they proved too reliant on the free-taking of Peter Elliott for scores.
In a tight first-half, it was ‘Boden who opened the scoring through Sweeney’s sublime sideline cut from 50 metres out inside two minutes but Elliott soon had the sides level with the first of his seven frees a minute later.
McMorrow and Darren Whelan traded points prior to ‘Boden opening up a two point lead midway through the half thanks to frees from Travers and Conal Keaney, but Crumlin were back on terms by the 20th minute, with Rodney Elliott and Philip Purtell popping over superb individual scores.
St Enda’s were beginning to assume dominance around midfield at this stage, despite the best efforts of Ronan Potts, but their ascendancy was undermined by wayward finishing before Dave Sweeney and McMorrow scored in quick succession to establish a two-point lead approaching the break.
Despite another Elliott free, Crumlin finished the half on the back foot and Mick Griffin’s point, which followed a cracking Travers score from distance, gave ‘Boden a deserved three-point (0-8 to 0-5) interval lead.
The second-half started in slightly scrappy fashion and, after a Conal Keaney free on 33 minutes, Emmet Carroll notched the score of the game when he showed great finesse in controlling a Sweeney delivery before swivelling and cracking over a superb point to leave Crumlin trailing by double scores with 25 minutes remaining.
Elliott’s free narrowed the margin but St Enda’s emphasised the depth of their panel with the introduction of Ryan and Curtin. Tidy scores from Sweeney and his tireless midfield partner Peter Buckeridge stretched their lead to six points as ‘Boden’s stranglehold on proceedings tightened.
The stylish Cullen, who kept a tight rein on Keaney throughout, and full-back Colm Hennebry fought tooth and nail to withstand this ‘Boden onslaught and although they managed to minimise goal opportunities, they proved powerless in preventing some sumptuous long-range scores from Ryan and Sweeney as the half progressed.
With Crumlin fatigued, ‘Boden pulled away in the final minutes and Curtin will have done his chances of a semi-final starting place no harm at all as he pointed his side’s last three scores to leave 12 between the teams at the finish.
Scorers — Ballyboden St Enda’s: D Sweeney (sideline), C Keaney (3f), D Curtin (2f, ’65’) 0-4 each, P Ryan (f, ’65’) 0-3, M Travers (f), N McMorrow 0-2, M Griffin, E Carroll, P Buckeridge 0-1 each. Crumlin: P Elliott 0-7 (7f), D Whelan, R Elliott, P Purtell 0-1 each.
Ballyboden St Enda’s: G Maguire, J Duffy, S Perkins, A Ryan, M Travers, D Spain, T Sweeney, P Buckeridge, D Sweeney, D O’Connor, C Keaney, J Doody, E Carroll, M Griffin, N McMorrow. Subs: S Durkin for Doody (31-42 mins Blood sub), P Ryan for Griffin (39 mins), D Curtin for Carroll (42 mins), M O’Sullivan for Keaney (48 mins).
Crumlin: P Murphy, N Purtell, C Hennebry, P O’Brien, D Murphy, J Cullen, J Maher, S Martin, R Potts, S Cullen, D Whelan, P Purtell, S Stafford, R Elliott, P Elliott.Subs: C McGrath for Stafford (45 mins), S Dunne for Maher (50 mins).
Referee: Eamonn Morris (St Finian’s, Swords)
– Rónán Mac Lochlainn