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Substitutes the difference as St Enda's defeat Trinity Gaels

A goal from substitute Joe Mernagh proved pivotal as Ballyboden St Enda's narrowly overcame a battling Trinity Gaels by 2-13 to 0-14 in their Dublin Junior Hurling Championship quarter-final in Páirc Uí Mhurchú on Wednesday evening, writes Ronan Mac Lochlainn.

The contest was delicately poised with both sides enjoying sporadic periods of dominance but the knock-out blow was delivered by Mernagh as the hosts advanced to the last four.

Ultimately, it was Ballyboden's ability to find the net that was the significant difference between these well-matched sides with Gaels playing their part in an entertaining tie.

"We got beaten at the quarter-final stage last year so we are just happy to get over the line," said Ballyboden manager John Small.

"It was a struggle for large parts for us and we did not play especially well but the result was very important. Trinity Gaels gave us a right good battle and we are just delighted to have a semi-final to look forward to," he added.

Along with Mernagh, the other substitutes introduced by Small contributed handsomely with Cian Mellett, Rian Cannon and Dara Lambert all impressing upon their introduction, as Boden compensated for losing midfielder Keith Robinson through injury.

mature

Lambert added craft to the home side's half-forward line and current minor Mellett belied his youth with a strong and mature contribution.

St Enda's only led by a point at the break, despite playing with the benefit of the breeze but a Collie Durkin goal handed them some much-needed breathing space.

The visitors bounced back from that concession with centre-forward Martin McInerney playing a captain's role, winning a huge amount of possession in addition to landing a brace of excellent points while corner-forward Paul Fennelly chipped in with six points over the hour.

Defensively, Trinity impressed with goalkeeper Robert Fennelly making a string of fine stops and their full-back line of Peter Coyne, Andy Dalton and Derek Moore hassled and harried the Boden attack throughout.

However, the free-taking of Mick Griffin proved typically reliable and with Johnny McCormack especially solid at full-back, the hosts confirmed their semi-final place through the efforts of Lorcan Mullaney and a wonderful insurance score by Des O'Sullivan.

"Boden's two goals were decisive," said Trinity Gaels manager Damian McCormack.

"I was happy with how the lads played but I think Ballyboden deserved their win in the end," he added.


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