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Boden back on capital summit


Conal Keaney from Ballyboden St Enda's.

Conal Keaney from Ballyboden St Enda's.

Conal Keaney from Ballyboden St Enda's.

THE Dublin Senior Hurling Championship final was deep in injury time at Parnell Park yesterday.

Ballyboden led by three points. Lucan were attacking the road end. The lights were on. The genial Johnny McCaffrey had the sliotar in his grip. One more spin of the wheel. In came the delivery marked danger. Gary Maguire's kitchen was crowded. Bodies everywhere. It was like a teenage sleep-over in there.

One Lucan flick and the ball was in the basket, and the contest would have tumbled into extra-time. But Gary kept his eye on the sky like an air-traffic controller. The sliotar drifted over all the heads and tumbled into his lap. He was crouched like a tiger.

Out he burst with the ball, and Lucan's chance had gone. Boden weren't quite hosed, but they looked like they were about to go home with their sixth Dublin SHC title.

As county chairman Andy Kettle presented the trophy to skipper Conal Keaney, he said: "Is this the start of another five in-a-row? Or will Boden be facing stiff competition in the years ahead? I think they are going to meet keen competition in Dublin in the years to come."

Captain Fantastic had words of comfort for the defeated: "It took us a few years before we won our first title. We know what it's like to lose county finals. My advice to Lucan is to keep going."

And that's exactly what the Sars did throughout the hour. They were never far from Boden's heels. The hurling was honest. It was close. Scores didn't fall off the Donnycarney roof-tops.

It was always interesting. Nobody was leaving the concert before the last song. Conditions were perfect. It was crisp and mild. The surface was in fine order.

James Shiner Brennan had the whistle. He played in a few county finals in his time. And All-Ireland finals too. There was a decent crowd. There were only a few seats left in the corner of the stand at the Craobh Chiarain end.

There was an All Star on the stage. It was Lucan's first final. They didn't show any nerves. They settled quickly to their task. Kevin O'Reilly's touch was sure. They were putting in the hard yards.

O'Reilly scored one of their best points in the 22nd minute. It came from a brilliant block by Trevor Lee.

There was no lack of quality. Conor Robinson struck a beautiful side-line cut from in front of the terrace on the left.

Robinson had a towering match. Stephen Hiney and Shane Durkin also gave the Boden half-back line a formidable look. Boden led at the tea, 0-8 to 0-5. Niall McMorrow sent over a couple of tidy points from the middle of the park. Paul Ryan landed a beauty.

But the best point of all before the break came from Stephen O'Connor. He moved forward from deep on the right and arrowed over a gem from afar. O'Connor was another performer that got the nine out of tens.

Despite the deficit, Lucan could feel happy enough with their first half offering. And they carried on their good work into the second period.

Points from O'Reilly and Tommy Somers had them trailing by just a point. The tide was rising in the Twelfth Lock.

Durkin then picked off a welcome point for Boden. The elegant O'Reilly replied before Keaney and Paul Ryan restored Boden's three point advantage.

On 47 minutes, there were still just two points in it when Boden lost Maurice Nagle to a second yellow.

Time to stand and deliver now for the Famous Five club. David Curtin lofted over a priceless point. Curtin's contribution proved critical when it mattered most. Ryan added another free, but back came Lucan, helped by an O'Reilly free on 57 minutes. Yet that was to be their last dividend. Boden's craft and experience won the day. Lucan will be back, no doubt.

McCaffrey is an inspirational presence in the engine room. Barry Aird is an accomplished stick-smith. O'Reilly has long been one of the most talented timber merchants in the city. And Peter Kelly's Oscar was well overdue.

But, once again, the bonfires were blazing high on the Firhouse Road as the faithful prepared to welcome home King Kenny and his Boden Braves.