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ballyboden can edge plunkett's

A CRACKING encounter is expected when Ballyboden St Enda's and St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh come face-to-face in the Dublin SHC 'B' decider at O'Toole Park this afternoon.

Plunkett's will arrive in a slightly more relaxed manner given their ambition of achieving senior 'A' status has already been achieved after overcoming Kevin's by seven points (3-18 to 3-11) at the semi-final stage last weekend.

However, there will be a steely determination to maintain the impressive form that has seen them overcome a fancied Parnell's side in a refixed quarter-final, and that momentum will be a crucial factor in what should be a tight affair.

Last Saturday's win was noticeable for the contribution from the bench, with manager Terry O'Brien able to call on the likes of Oisín Boland and Dublin minor forward Cian Boland (son of minor manager Shay) as the contest evolved, and they rewarded their manager's faith with pivotal second-half goals.

However, it was the midfield that provided the foundation for victory with minor Conor McDonnell complementing Finn Dunleavy superbly, and they will need to replicate these displays to get the better of a talented 'Boden outfit.

While up front Plunkett's will look to the accuracy and experience of Stuart Mullen.

Given the senior A's exit from the championship at the round-robin stage, St Enda's have benefitted from a more settled selection and have not been handicapped by promotions from their panel to Liam Hogan's first-team squad.

Consequently, the likes of Niall Ryan, Conor Robinson, Martin Kenny and the experienced Mick Griffin have flourished and they were all prominent as Ballyboden qualified for the final following a 1-12 to 1-6 away victory over rivals Naomh Olaf.

Gavin Corrigan, Naoise Greene, Paul Doherty and Colm Durkan have been others to impress over the year and Ballyboden have been boosted by the return from injury of Maurice Nagle, who had an exceptional campaign last year as 'Boden fell to eventual winners Naomh Fionnbarra at the semi-final stage.

The desire to make amends for that injury-time defeat has driven St Enda's this far and it may be enough to see them home by a narrow margin.

VERDICT: Ballyboden St Enda's