BALLYBODEN 3-12, O’TOOLE’S 0-9
BALLYBODEN ST ENDA’S cemented their status as the capital kingpins when they collected their fifth championship crown on the bounce at Parnell Park yesterday.
It’s the first time a five-in-a-row has been done in Dublin hurling since the Garda team of 1925-’29 and a landmark feat for the ‘Boden side who only won their first Dublin senior title at the start of this run back in 2007.
In a disappointing decider, ‘Boden were ruthless with their three goal chances and this knocked the resolve out of an O’Toole’s side who had their inexperience exposed and did not do themselves any favours when hitting 15 wides.
The five-in-a-row has built up a degree of myth and superstition in the GAA because of the number and calibre of teams who have crashed and fallen at this hurdle. But Ballyboden boss Liam Hogan insisted it played no part in their build-up and he will have the champions back training tonight in preparation for their Leinster clash with Clonkill of Westmeath next Sunday.
With Dublin again conquered, the goal now is trying to make an impression on Leinster.
“We placed no great significance on the number five, it’s all about going out and giving a performance,” he said.
“We were nervous and jittery for the first 10 minutes, but after that we tuned in, kicked on and it was a really good team performance. Goals win games and O’Toole’s never looked like scoring a goal and that was the real difference.
“In the first 10 or 12 minutes our lads squandered some gilt-edged chances and they are not going to get those against Clonkill.
“It’s just one more championship and the focus now is on Clonkill. There’ll be very little celebrating on the Firhouse Road tonight, it’ll be cut fairly short, and we’ll be training tomorrow night.”
He added: “We haven’t done ourselves justice in Leinster, but we’ve another bite at the cherry — there’s a lot of clubs in Dublin who would love to be where we are now, and we are thankful that we have a great bunch of players.”
Veteran Liam Ryan was one of the few O’Toole’s performers to play near full potential, but admitted the experience and class of the champions was a major hurdle.
“They got the goals and when they dominated, they made it count on the scoreboard. Maybe it’s a bit about us leaving form behind after the semi-final and also a bit of Ballyboden being a step up again and really not letting us play to the same standard as the semi-final.
“In fairness, they track back well, hunt in packs and never give up,” he said.
O’Toole’s started strongly, with centre-back Kevin Ryan prominent, with a strong work ethic unsettling the champions and the roving Liam Ryan also caused problems.
Shane Durkin was getting through a mountain of work at midfield for a sluggish Ballyboden, who were unable to make their possession pay off in the first quarter, as Paul Ryan blazed wide of the goal in the 10th minute.
Then, unusually, a shot for a point from Ballyboden’s David O’Connor in the 15th minute was overruled by a linesman.
However, they got a crucial break in the 19th minute when a brilliant line-ball from Stephen Nolan sailed 60 metres and caused mayhem in the O’Toole’s defence as it fell perfectly for the experienced Emmet Carroll to gather and drill to the net.
That score seemed to ease the burden on ‘Boden and they played with a greater level of fluency.
Uncharacter-istically, championship top-scorer and All Star nominee Paul Ryan hit five balls wide in the opening stages — but he came good before half-time to convert a difficult free from the left wing and then crash an unstoppable 20-metre free to the net which was won by after a foul on Carroll in the 30th minute.
Despite struggling to settle, the champions went in 2-6 to 0-4 in front at the break.
A point from the first touch of substitute Paul O’Donoghue gave O’Toole’s a strong start to the seond period, but ‘Boden hit back in the 33rd minute when Dublin player Conor McCormack expertly finished to the net.
There was no let up from the champions and three minutes later, McCormack was hauled down for a penalty which Paul Ryan smashed off the crossbar.
As rain started to fall it washed away O’Toole’s’ hopes of an upset as they began to lose their shape. Poor option-taking up front saw their wides tally steadily grow, while the rock solid Darragh Spain, Stephen Nolan and Malachy Travers ensured that All Star Gary Maguire’s net was never in danger.
It’s a win made all the more special for the fact that it was done without the talismanic Conal Keaney and Stephen Hiney.
SCORERS — Ballyboden: P Ryan 1-3 (1-2f, 1 ’65’), E Carroll 1-2, C McCormack 1-1, D O’Connor 0-2, S Nolan (1f), S Durkin, S Lambert, T Sweeney 0-1 each. O’Toole’s: A Morris 0-4 (2f), M Carton, Peadar Carton, L Ryan, C Mulligan, P O’Donoghue 0-1 each.
BALLYBODEN ST ENDA’S — G Maguire; S Nagle, D Spain, M O’Sullivan; M Travers, S Nolan, D Curran; D Curtin, S Durkin; J Doody, C McCormack, D O’Connor; P Ryan, S Lambert, E Carroll. Subs: N McMorrow for Carroll 46, T Sweeney for Doody 47, P Buckeridge for Nagle 52, S O’Connor for M O’Sullivan 54, M Weldon for P Ryan 54.
O’Toole’s — B McLoughlin; R Walker, M Cunningham, G O’Meara; P Brennan, K Ryan, J Bastow; G Morris, Peadar Carton; M Carton, A Morris, L Ryan; C Mulligan, Patrick Carton, D Webster. Subs: P O’Donoghue for Patrick Carton HT, C Carton for Webster 38.
Ref — G McGrath.
– BALLYBODEN 3-12, O’TOOLE’S 0-9, Cian Murphy, Dublin SHC FINAL