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Kenny insists road to repeat glory tough task for Boden

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Ballyboden St Enda's manager Jonny Kenny and player Conor Robinson. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Ballyboden St Enda's manager Jonny Kenny and player Conor Robinson. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Ballyboden St Enda's manager Jonny Kenny and player Conor Robinson. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

SECONDS away – round two of the Dublin Senior Hurling 'A' Championship. A three-day ash-filled festival.

There should be a couple of show-stoppers. Cuala against St Vincent's looks tasty. And Jude's versus Ballinteer could be a corker.

Then there's the derby of the Malahide Road. That usually means the Craobh against the Larriers. But this time it's Chiaráin's against the new kids in town, Parnell's, the Senior 'B' champions.

Parnell's pushed Cuala all the way on opening night. St Patrick's of Palmerstown also tested the holders, Ballyboden St Enda's.

Last season was Jonny Kenny's first year in the job. He came from the Boden bootroom.

He guided Boden to their sixth Dublin SHC title. "It was a fabulous year, a great year. But trying to repeat it now is going to be the hard bit," he says. The tide has changed somewhat since the famous five-in-a-row days of Liam Hogan's era.

Boden were the dominant force then. But, thanks indeed to their brilliance, the overall standard has risen, and the turf has become quite even. "All the teams are in the gym now. They are all bigger and stronger. They all know how to hurl."

The champions got first-hand experience of that against Pat's. "We knew it was going to be a difficult game. Pat's are a good, strong side. Looking back on it, we were lucky that we were two goals up at half-time. We switched off in the second half, allowing Pat's to come back into it.

"We were disappointed with our performance in the second half. Overall, we felt fortunate that we got out with the win. A win is a win, and we were happy to take it.

"The positive aspect was that a couple of the lads made their championship debut. We also have the county players back training with us, so hopefully we can show improvement against Plunkett's on Thursday night."

FORMALITY

Within a week of lifting the Dublin crystal, Boden had to gather up their sticks for a Leinster Championship appointment with Mount Leinster Rangers. Most figured the game would be a formality for Boden. Their defeat echoed around the country.

Boden hadn't taken their eye off the sliotar. "We knew they were a decent side," acknowledges Jonny. The subsequent heroics of the Carlow Crusaders proved it. They won Leinster and made it all the way to Croke Park.

"They showed they weren't any pushover. They produced tremendous performances to beat Oulart the Ballagh and the Ulster champions, Loughgiel Shamrocks.

"It was a wonderful achievement to get to the All-Ireland final. They probably weren't happy with their own display against Portumna. They were just a bit flat on the day.

"At Boden, we were all delighted that they won Leinster and went even further. And, in a way, it did help to ease the disappointment of our loss to them."

The Boden boys would cherish the chance to take on Leinster again. They came close to glory during Liam Hogan's spell.

"That's the aim now. We'd love to win another Dublin Championship and have a crack at Leinster. But that's not going to be easy. There's so many good teams in Dublin now. The championship is getting harder and harder to win," says Jonny.

DUBLIN SENIOR HURLING 'A' CHAMPIONSHIP

TOMORROW

GROUP 3 - Parnell Park (6.45): St Brigid's v Na Fianna

GROUP 3 - Parnell Park (8.15): Faughs v O'Toole's

GROUP 4 – O'Toole Park (7.30): St Jude's v Ballinteer St John's

THURSDAY

GROUP 2 – O'Toole Park (7.0): Ballyboden St Enda's v St Oliver Plunkett's/ER

GROUP 4 – Rathcoole (7.0): Lucan Sarsfields v Crumlin

FRIDAY

GROUP 1: Parnell Park (6.45): Craobh Chiarain v Parnell's

GROUP 1: Parnell Park (8.15): Cuala v St Vincent's

GROUP 2: O'Toole Park (7.0): Kilmacud Crokes v St Patrick's (P)


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