Goals in either half from Conor McCormack and Paul Ryan proved pivotal as Ballyboden St Enda’s regained the Dublin senior hurling crown when narrowly overcoming Kilmacud Crokes in their final replay at Parnell Park yesterday afternoon.
There was no doubting the merit of their victory as ’Boden raced out of the blocks to seize the initiative and but for a sticky period during the second quarter, were largely in control of matters over the hour.
“I don’t think we performed last week,” said Ballyboden manager Joe Fortune. “But I just felt there was a bit of belief in the dressing-room at half-time. There was no panic.
“It’s lonely to walk across this field after losing a game. So there’s a lot of elation out there. I’m so proud of the effort they put in from the time I met them out in Knocklyon last December.
“There’s a massive community behind Crokes and Cuala and Ballyboden. Now it’s up to us to carry on that spirit on to next weekend,” added Fortune.
After Marc Howard had opened the scoring within 15 seconds, Ballyboden landed the first significant score a minute later as Ryan escaped down the endline with McCormack bundling the ball over the line from close range.
That score hinted at difficulties in the Crokes defence and they looked ill at sorts in the opening quarter as St Enda’s opened up a buffer thanks to points by Aidan Mellett, McCormack, and Conal Keaney.
A brace of frees from Howard and scores by Fergal Whitely and Caolan Conway kept Kilmacud within view of their opponents, but Keaney and Ryan ensured ’Boden gained tangible reward for their overall control.
Gradually, Kilmacud began to find their collective feet and while Oisin O’Rorke saw his 26th-minute penalty repelled by Gary Maguire, he landed three points in succession to restore parity by the 30th minute.
Ryan ended a barren 14 minutes to inch Boden a point ahead but O’Rorke atoned for his earlier miss when clinically arrowing a low shot beyond Maguire to leave Kilmacud 1-9 to 1-7 ahead at the interval.
St Enda’s resumed on the front foot with Keaney and Ryan drawing them level by the 32nd minute. The latter highlighted his threat from placed balls as he cracked home a 37th-minute goal, albeit with Crokes poorly prepared to defend the free.
Injuries to Howard, Ross O’Carroll, and Ryan O’Dwyer had a detrimental effect on the Crokes challenge as ’Boden landed the final two scores through Ryan and substitute Colm Basquel to complete a deserved win.
Scorers for Ballyboden St Enda’s:
P Ryan (1-5, 1-3f, 0-1 S/L); C Keaney (0-4); C McCormack (1-1); A Mellett (0-2); P Doherty, J Roche, C Basquel (0-1 each).
O O’Rorke (1-7, 5 frees); M Howard (0-3, 2 frees); C Mac Gabhann (f), F Whitely, R Hayes, C Conway, A Considine (0-1 each).
BALLYBODEN ST ENDA’S:
G Maguire; D O’Connor, D Curran, L Corcoran; S Durkin, J Madden, S Lambert; N McMorrow, D Curtin; C Keaney, C Dooley, N Ryan; A Mellett, C McCormack, P Ryan.
S O’Connor for Curtin (half-time), P Doherty for N Ryan (34), J Roche for Dooley (50), M Travers for Lambert (55), C Basquel for McCormack (59).
M Collins; N Corcoran, C Mac Gabhann, B O’Carroll; D Kelly, R O’Dwyer, R O’Carroll; L McMullan, F Whitely; S McGrath, C Conway, S Veale; R Hayes, M Howard, O O’Rorke.
A Considine for Howard (25), J Clinton for Corcoran (36), D Jones for O’Dwyer (38), D Butler for R O’Carroll (46).
Jason Buckley (Setanta)