By John Fogarty
Ballyboden St Endas (Dublin) 0-15 Clonmel Commercials (Tipperary) 0-10 (after extra-time)
Ballyboden St Endas were made to bend low to secure a first All-Ireland final spot that looked beyond them for so much of the second half of normal time.
Restored to 15 players in the two additional 10 minute periods following Declan O’Mahoney’s earlier red card, Andy McEntee’s men had the psychological advantage going into extra-time in Portlaoise after Darragh Nelson’s injury-time equaliser.
But they were provided with an extra boost when Clonmel’s main man Michael Quinlivan was black carded after just a minute.
Thereafter, Commercials couldn’t keep pace with a revived Boden who finished the first period 0-12 to 0-10 ahead and added three more points via Ryan Basquel and a Conal Keaney brace.
It had looked all so different earlier. Clonmel had been three points to the good and were fancied when O’Mahoney was red carded for a high tackle on Jason Lonergan in the 53rd minute.
They had hit Boden for three scores in quick succession in the third quarter and their work ethic and fervent tackling was frustrating the Dublin outfit.
However, Ballyboden’s battling qualities came to the fore in extra-time where they kicked three scores to Commercials’ one, captain Nelson showing the fortitude to send over the equaliser with the penultimate piece of action before full-time in normal time was blown.
The sides had been level on four occasions in the opening half but it was Commercials who went in ahead at the break after Ian Barnes punished a foul on Lonergan.
The last three scores of the half came from the Munster champions who had eventually managed to supply the full-forward line with decent ball.
The opening 31 minutes were littered with wides and neither team looked any sharper in front of the posts than the other.
The margin between the two never increased beyond two points - Ballyboden led 0-4 to 0-2 after 22 minutes although Commercials could have been caught more than they were by overlaps down their left wing.
They were also too ponderous in clearing their lines yet when their big, athletic men like the Kennedys, Jack and Seamus, and Ian Fahey carried forward Boden looked a little spooked as did Paul Durcan at times when kicking to a midfield area dominated by them.
Scorers for Ballyboden St Endas: A Kerin (0-7, 5 frees); C Keaney (0-4, 3 frees); S Molony, C Basquel, D Nelson, R Basquel (0-1 each).
Scorers for Clonmel Commercials: I Barnes (0-3, 2 frees); J Kennedy, M Quinlivan (1 free), J Lonergan (0-2 each); K Harney (0-1).
BALLYBODEN ST ENDAS: P Durcan; B Dwan, S Hiney, S Clayton; R McDaid, D Nelson, A Waters; MD Macauley, D O’Mahoney; D Davey, C Basquel, D O’Reilly; C Keaney, S Molony, A Kerin.
Subs for Ballyboden St Endas: R Basquel for D Davey (34); S O’Connor for D O’Reilly (35); S Durkin for S Clayton (55); S Gibbons for S Molony (56); D McCabe for S Gibbons (e-t h-t); S Lambert for S Molony (77).
Red card: D O’Mahoney (straight, 53).
CLONMEL COMMERCIALS: J McDonald; J Peters, F Condon, D Lynch; D Madigan, K Harney; J Kennedy, S Kennedy; A Matassa, J Lonergan, I Fahey; I Barnes, M Quinlivan, L Moore.
Subs for Clonmel Commercials: P White for D Madigan (49); P Looram for I Barnes (56); S Taylor for F Condon (black, 60+2); N Kelly for M Quinlivan (black, 61); S Taylor for K Fahey (inj 62); S Flynn for P Looran (e-t h-t).
Red card: K Harney (straight, 80).
Referee: B Cassidy (Derry)