Ballyboden shine again
Three-in-a-row heroes secure twelve nominations, but they’re not the only club to have sparkled
Tuesday November 17 2009
A DOZEN nominees for Boden. You could make a case for including them all. They are just an exceptional group.
Membership of that most exclusive club — the three-in-a-row — is not easy to secure. Not that many have done it.
O’Toole’s were the last to achieve it in 1997 and before that it was St Vincent’s back as far as 1955.
Faughs, Garda, Collegians and Commercials are the only other teams that have performed Dublin hurling’s three-card trick.
Many sides did the two-in-a-row. UCD were the last in 2005, and then there was Faughs, Vincent’s, Crumlin and New Irelands.
To complete three Championships in succession, things have to go right everyday. Boden had such a brilliant season, and they also had football matters to consider. Nobody doubts that they are the modern-day masters of Dublin hurling.
They have lifted the standard for everyone. O’Toole’s gave them their closest call. The Larriers took them to a replay in the semi-final.
But in the replay under the lights, Boden were supreme. As manager, Liam Hogan, noted: “No matter what happens, nobody can take the three-in-a-row feat away from a player.”
In the final, ‘Boden eventually pulled clear of Craobh Chiaráin. The Craobh, brave to the last, have eight players included in the nominations. Among them Dublin’s third All-Star, Alan McCrabbe.
Having an All-Star in the house is another boost for the craft. McCrabber is a folk hero in Donnycarney.
Craobh chief, Davy Kelly, couldn’t have asked for more from the troops. They use up every last drop.
It’s a good job the man with the magic bottle, the great Paddy O’Gara, is never far away.
Chiaráin’s excelled against St Vincent’s in the semi-final. It was their best display of the season. They then had to put on the hard yellow hats to overcome Lucan in the semi-final.
It was atrocious hurling weather. A Gone With The Wind theme. It was Lucan’s third successive semi-final defeat.
Having nine players in the nominations is a measure of their progress. They have a crisp style about them, and their day will come.
The Sars’ represent a bright new chapter in Dublin hurling. Beaten twice in the semi-final by ‘Boden and then only a point in it against Craobh. It’s a hard oul’ station. But it’s all part of the learning.
O’Toole’s have also much to reflect on. It was their best campaign for many years. Damien Hernon was pleased to get to the last four. But he wanted more than that. The Larriers have six on the honours list. Among them is one of the most decorated of all, Blunden goalkeeping icon Brendan McLoughlin.
Brendan lit up the Championship with his Davy Fitzgerald-like free-taking, leaving his front porch to run up the field to have a crack at the garage door. It was a McLoughlin special that paved the way for O’Toole’s draw the first day against ‘Boden.
Boden knocked Crumlin out in the quarters. Crumlin reached the semi-final last year and they have some excellent prospects. Also making the last eight were St Pat’s of Palmerstown. It was noble progress for their first year in the big time. Pat’s have maintained the trend of the Senior ‘B’ winners making an impact.
Last year’s ‘A’ finalists, Kilmacud Crokes, also feature. As do St Vincent’s, St Jude’s, Cuala, Na Fianna, Faughs and the Senior ‘B’ champs, St Brigid’s with their powerhouse, Seán O’Sullivan, among the incredible array of talented half-backs.
Like Pat’s, Brigid’s will be ringing the bell to the big house in 2010. Their focus on fitness and overall homework will give them every chance. And that’s the work ethic that has enhanced Dublin hurling.
The year of the three-in-a-row and a prized All-Star.
– Niall Scully