By Niall Scully
Monday October 31 2011
FIVE bags full. Some haul on Hallowe’en Sunday.
The rain was coming down in Parnell Park. The Boden Boys were back up on the podium…again.
Down on the pitch, the Lordly Larriers stayed on to join in the applause. They were the first to offer their congratulations.
“Ballyboden are such a superb outfit,” mused the O’Toole’s manager, Joey Morris. “They are everything that champions should be.
“They have such strength in depth, and they are not five-in-a-row champions for nothing.”
O’Toole’s were well in the contest in the early pages, which was level three times. “The goal before half-time changed things,” judged Joey. “We were chasing the game after half-time. There was no dispute about the result. Boden were the better team.
“From our point of view, reaching the final will help to bring on our young players. Hopefully now that they have got the taste for it they’ll want to come back for more. We’ll take the positives out of the campaign.”
There was a decent enough attendance. The usual couple of thousand or so. They saw Emmet Carroll turn back the years as he flashed in Boden’s first goal at the church end.
“Emmet was back to the Emmet of old,” stated the Boden boss, Liam Hogan. “He certainly finished in style for that goal and thank goodness for that because it helped to settle us down.
“Emmet played like the typical, cute corner-forward, feeding off the breaks. I thought he had a superb game. Overall, it was a great team performance, but only when we settled. We started off very nervously for some reason. We had spoken about that during the week.
“We weren’t ourselves at the start at all. We kept taking the wrong options, but once we settled we began to hurl.
“At half-time we’d knew that O’Toole’s would throw the kitchen sink at us for the first fifteen minutes, but we were prepared for that.
“We had leaders all over the pitch. Everybody stood up to be counted. And when you have guys like Paul Ryan, Conor McCormack and Simon Lambert in attack, you are always going to get chances.”
Liam is not one for records. He wasn’t high-fiving everybody is sight. Instead, his thoughts returned to the base camp that is the Firhouse Road.
“We won our first Dublin County Championship in 2007. Only six of that team started in this year’s final.
“That’s a fair old turnaround in talent in the last five years and it’s a testament to all the coaches who are doing massive work behind the scenes in producing these players for the senior team.”
Liam then paid tribute to two of the club’s iconic figures, Stephen Hiney and Conal Keaney. “They weren’t available to us because of injury but they have been immense behind the scenes.
“We also have been missing James Duffy and Brendan Treacy from last year’s team, and David Sweeney would have been a starter this season only for injury.”
Interviews over, Liam headed out of the rain and into the dressing-room.
And as the Donnycarney lights went out on another Evening Herald Dublin Senior Hurling Championship, people felt privileged to be in the company of Dublin hurling’s golden generation.
– Niall Scully