AN injury-time free from Conal Keaney proved crucial in O'Toole Park on Saturday, as Ballyboden St Enda's held off a strong fight-back from Kilmacud Crokes to force this tie into a replay.
BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S............2-8
Under normal circumstances, a 20-minute period of extra-time would have been played, but the lack of floodlights in the Kimmage venue, and extra-time in the Templeogue Synge Street v St Pat's, Palmerstown game that preceded it, means a second outing is required.
Ballyboden enjoyed a dream start to the proceedings with an early free by Keaney followed by a goal from Andrew Kerin three minutes in. Crokes opened their account with scores from Craig Dias and Paul Mannion, but Boden opened up a six-point cushion by the 18th minute with points from Daniel Davey, Kerin, Keaney and Bob Dwane.
Crokes lost former All-Star Ray Cosgrove to a neck injury which had him detained in hospital over the weekend. His departure seemed to unify his team-mates, and efforts from Cian O'Sullivan (2), Pat Burke and Dias meant that the deficit was down to two points (1-5 to 0-6) at the break.
Crokes carried this momentum into the second period, and even though Kerin disrupted their scoring burst with a long-range free on 39 minutes, the Stillorgan outfit managed to restore parity with points from Mannion, Mark Vaughan and O'Sullivan.
Another Vaughan score with 12 minutes left gave Crokes the lead for the first time, but Boden replied with an expertly converted penalty from Kerin three minutes later.
Crokes weren't ready to cave in and the dead-ball accuracy of Vaughan cancelled their advantage. Vaughan and O'Sullivan would add to the Crokes tally, but Boden hit back with frees from Kerin and Keaney, the latter proving to be the final meaningful moment of this engrossing encounter.
Scorers - Kilmacud Crokes: M Vaughan 0-5 (4f); C O'Sullivan 0-4; P Mannion (f), C Dias 0-2 each; P Burke 0-1. Ballyboden St Enda's: A Kerin 2-3 (1-0 pen, 0-3f); C Keaney 0-3 (3f); B Dwane, D Davey 0-1 each.
KILMACUD CROKES: D Nestor; C Lambe, Rory O'Carroll, Ross O'Carroll; C O'Sullivan, B McGrath, K Nolan; D Magee, P Duggan; D Kelleher, C Dias, M Coughlan; R Cosgrove, P Mannion, P Burke. Subs: L óg ó hEineachain for Cosgrove (22), M Vaughan for Coughlan (30+5), R Ryan for Lambe (44).
BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S: C Dooley; P O'Brien, D Nelson, M O'Sullivan; R McDaid, S Hiney, S Durkin; MD Macauley, D O'Mahoney; B Dwane, S Lambert, S Gibbons; C Keaney, R Basquel, A Kerin. Subs: D Davey for O'Mahoney (2), I Clarke for Davey (49), K Naughton for Basquel (49), M McCabe for Gibbons (59).
Referee: K Tighe (St Anne's).