COOLDERRY 1-18, BALLYBODEN 0-15
KEN HOGAN’S heroes from Coolderry bearded the Ballyboden St Enda’s lion in its own den, drew its teeth and then rendered it helpless at Parnell Park yesterday.
Dublin’s pride, the five-in-a-row county champions, simply had no answer to the questions posed by a lively, pacey and ruthlessly efficient Coolderry team.
By coincidence, Ballyboden manager Liam Hogan hails from the small Offaly parish and played in Coolderry’s last appearance in the provincial decider, when they lost to the Ballyhale Shamrocks of Kilkenny.
Native roots were put aside by Hogan as he plotted the downfall of the club where he learned his hurling, but in the end he had to tip his hat to Coolderry and will be supporting them in their final against Wexford’s Oulart-The Ballagh in two weeks’ time. The Ballyboden boss summed up the match succinctly: “Coolderry were the better team over the entire hour. We got a good start on them and gave away a few silly frees to let them back into the game, but overall they were the better team.”
By contrast, Coolderry boss Ken Hogan, the former Tipperary All-Ireland winning goalkeeper, was delighted. His team hadn’t played a competitive match for four weeks, and after a sluggish opening period, they turned a three-point deficit after 15 minutes into a six-point lead by half-time. Crucial to that psychological boost for the Offaly side was the goal Barry Teehan scored in added time at the end of the first half.
The score was 0-10 to 0-8 in favour of the visitors and time was almost up when Teehan blasted the sliotar into the net after a neat passing move.
Said Hogan: “The goal put a bit of daylight between the teams, and it’s hard to pull back a lead. It’s always better to be in front and keep it going, and we were strong and we kept going. We’re a small club, a rural parish, and people wrote us off because we were beaten in the quarter-final stage last year, but we’re a bit more mature this year.
“It’s maiden territory for us to be in a Leinster club final, but today proved that there’s still life in Offaly hurling and Coolderry were very conscious that we were representing the people of Offaly.”
Ballyboden’s best period was the opening 15 minutes. At that stage, they led by 0-6 to 0-3. Niall McMorrow opened the scoring within 35 seconds of the start, and his team-mates Dave O’Connor, Simon Lambert, Paul Ryan (two frees), and Conor McCormack followed him onto the scoresheet in that opening quarter. Coolderry’s first three points came from their two corner-forwards, with two frees by Damien Murray and a point from play by Eoin Ryan.
So far, so good for the Dubliners. David Curtin and Shane Durkin were shading it in midfield, the roaming Lambert and McCormack motored through the exchanges out the field, and Ballyboden exuded a sense of purpose and concentration to the task.
Coolderry were being asked questions about their resolve and their ability to stay in the game, but they got the answers right. Once they got into their stride at the start of the second quarter, they didn’t fall away again. Half-backs David King, Joe Brady and skipper Brian O’Meara got a grip in that sector and, boosted by Kevin Teehan and Kevin Brady in midfield, the Offaly men then had a platform for a series of raids.
Brian Carroll, Barry Teehan and Cathal Parlon roamed and grafted to great effect, and, when it counted, Coolderry’s ace in the pack was Murray and his accuracy from frees. Murray scored eight points, all from frees, and Cathal Parlon made an immense contribution with six hard-earned points from play, three in each half.
The closest ‘Boden ever got to them in the second half was four points, and on five occasions they cut the deficit to that tantalising margin, but the goal they craved never came.
Some of that was down to a bit of luck needed to make three decent chances count, but two fine saves by Coolderry ‘keeper Stephen Corcoran and sterling defensive work by BrianKelly, Trevor Corcoran and Alan Corcoran cleared the danger in the other situation.
Ballyboden never gave up and it was an exciting game, but Coolderry have served notice that they won’t be a pushover for Oulart-The Ballagh.
Scorers — Coolderry: D Murray 0-8 (8f), C Parlon 0-6, E Ryan 0-4, B Teehan 1-0. Ballyboden St Enda’s: P Ryan 0-6 (4f, 1 ’65), N McMorrow, D O’Connor, S Lambert 0-2 each, S O’Connor, C McCormack, D Curtin 0-1 each.
Coolderry — S Corcoran; B Kelly, T Corcoran, A Corcoran; K Brady,J Brady, B O’Meara; K Teehan, D King; B Carroll, B Teehan, C Parlon; E Ryan, M Corcoran, D Murray. Sub: K Connolly for D King (53),
Ballyboden St Enda’s — G Maguire; D Sweeney, D Spain, P Buckeridge; M Travers, S Nolan, D Curran; D Curtin, S Durkin; T Sweeney, C McCormack, D O’Connor; P Ryan, S Lambert, N McMorrow. Subs: S O’Connor for D Spain (h-t); J Doody for T Sweeney (53); E Carroll for C McCormack (59).
Ref — A Stapleton (Laois).