The winning margin could have been even greater but for a penalty miss from Paul Ryan in the 37th minute but by then the damage was done and St Enda’s could look forward to their Leinster Club championship campaign in rude health.
Such a comprehensive victory seemed unlikely after a nervy opening, but things finally fell into place when Emmet Carroll crashed Stephen Nolan’s delivery to the net from 12 metres after 18 minutes.
Up to that point, St Enda’s had failed to sparkle in attack aside from two fine scores by Carroll and Shane Durkin but Carroll’s goal had a stabilising effect as they continued in a more cohesive fashion.
O’Toole’s kept in contention through scores from Liam Ryan and Peadar Carton but the concession of two quick-fire points through David O’Connor and Conor McCormack preceded by a Ryan goal direct from a free in the 29th minute undermined their challenge.
Trailing by 2-6 to 0-4 at the interval, O’Toole’s made an encouraging start to the second-half through Paul O’Donoghue but the goal they craved failed to materialise with the match effectively settled in the 33rd minute.
McCormack, a constant menace throughout, turned inside Michael Cunningham to receive a Malachy Travers pass and his emphatic finish beyond Brendan McLoughlin pushed the Firhouse Road men 10 points clear. Points followed through O’Connor, Carroll and Simon Lambert as ‘Boden emphasised their dominance.
“I thought we started quite nervously for some reason and were quite tentative,” said a delighted Liam Hogan afterwards. “We drove some silly wides and players weren’t playing as a unit. “Thankfully, the first goal settled then and after that, I thought there was really only one team in it. All in all, I thought it was a great team performance once we settled, but only after that point.”
Scorers for Ballyboden St Enda’s: P Ryan 1-3 (1-2f, 0-1 ‘65’), E Carroll 1-2, C McCormack 1-1, D O’Connor 0-2, S Durkin 0-1, S Nolan (f), S Lambert, T Sweeney 0-1 each.
Scorers for O’Toole’s: A Morris 0-4 (2fs), L Ryan, Peadar Carton, P O’Donoghue, C Mulligan, M Carton 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, S Lambert, D O’Connor; P Ryan, C McCormack, E Carroll.
Subs: N McMorrow for Carroll (48), T Sweeney for Doody (48), P Buckeridge for Nagle (53), S O’Connor for O’Sullivan (55), M Weldon for Ryan (56).
O’TOOLE’S: B McLoughlin; R Walker, M Cunningham, G O’Meara; P Brennan, K Ryan, J Bastow; Peadar Carton, G Morris; M Carton, A Morris, L Ryan; C Mulligan, D Webster, Patrick Carton.
Subs: P O’Donoghue for Bastow (half-time), C Carton for Webster (38).
Referee: Gearóid McGrath (Setanta).