| 6.1°C Dublin

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Ballyboden St Enda's advanced to the final of the Dublin Under 21 'A' Hurling Championship following a comprehensive 20-point victory over a wasteful St Vincent's on the all-weather surface at Sancta Maria last Saturday afternoon.

From Paul Doherty's opening score in the second minute, Boden's supremacy never appeared in doubt although they were helped by the profligacy of their opponents, especially initially with St Vincent's registering eleven wides in the opening half despite the almost idyllic playing conditions in Rathfarnham.

For the visitors to remain competitive, they needed to take a high percentage of the opportunities that came their way but unfortunately, their collective confidence waned with every wave of the umpire's arms.

St Enda's benefitted from a more cohesive display with Conor Robinson delivering a typically stylish display at midfield with his positional play complemented by the hard running of Chris Lambert in the home engine room.

After Doherty's early opener, Ballyboden continued to impress with Doherty confirming an early brace before James Roche and Jamie Desmond added points to leave four points between the sides after nine minutes.

Possession was not an issue with St Vincent's in the early stages but their errant shooting and a number of balls that dropped short into the safe hands of Conor Dooley undermined their ambitions.

However, there was encouragement to be offered in the form of wing-backs Sean McCaw and Liam Nickerson and they managed to halve their deficit by the end of the first quarter thanks to a brave of sublime scores from Dublin minor Rian McBride.

Boden's response to these concessions was immediate with Lambert and the lively Collie O'Neill landing excellent points with successive placed balls from O'Neill and Desmond inching the hosts further ahead.

The procession towards the away goal continued as O'Neill added his second from play in the 22nd minute with Vinnies, despite enjoying a generous amount of play, gaining modest reward through a free by Brian Bolger two minutes later.

Far from inspiring his side, St Vincent's struggled for the remainder of the half with Lambert racing clear to add a well-taken solo score before the largest cheer of the half was reserved for wing-back Donal Butler, who dispossessed his marker before firing an unerring point from distance to re-affirm his side's control.

O'Neill and Desmond added further points before the break to hand the hosts a slightly flattering 0-14 to 0-3 interval lead.

Doherty's point within two minutes of the restart mirrored the excellence of his first score with the goal required to launch an unlikely St Vincent's comeback failing to materialise despite a number of skirmishes around the home goal.

Boden's dominance reflected itself in unanswered points by Kenneth Wigglesworth and Lambert with Bolger converting a second free for St Vincent's before substitute Ciaran Fusco was given tangible reward for a spirited individual display when pointing for St Vincent's in the 39th minute.

However, the options available to Ballyboden was never more evident as they replaced point scorer Naoise Greene in the 40th minute with his replacement Jonathan O'Driscoll making an instant impression as he drove to the net from ten yards after a stereotypically elusive run from O'Neill.

Perhaps understandably, Boden's marksmanship deteriorated in the final quarter once their primary objective of progression has been achieved but their lack of incisiveness in front of goal towards the end was in marked contrast with the solidity of their defence as Niall Keegan and Tom Hanafin looked to complete a clean sheet in front of Dooley.

Bolger and Franklin O'Sullivan offered crumbs of consolation for the visitors but the final word belonged to O'Neill as he struck his eighth point of the afternoon in the 55th minute to ensure a final date against a well-matched opponent in Lucan Sarsfields

Scorers - Ballyboden St Enda's: C O'Neill 0-8 (3f); P Doherty 0-4; J O'Driscoll 1-0; J Desmond (3 '65'), C Lambert 0-3 each; J Roche 0-2; D Butler, K Wigglesworth, E O'Neill, N Greene 0-1 each. St Vincent's: B Bolger 0-3 (3f); R McBride 0-2; C Fusco, F O'Sullivan 0-1 each.

Ballyboden St Enda's: C Dooley; K Wigglesworth, T Hanafin, N Keegan; J Madden, J Desmond, D Butler; C Lambert, C Robinson; C O'Neill, A Jermyn, E O'Neill; P Doherty, J Roche, N Greene. Subs: J O'Driscoll for Greene (39), K Robinson for Lambert (40), K McCarron for Wigglesworth (42), Greene for E O'Neill (52).

St Vincent's: A Nickerson; K Kiernan, G Downes, P Donnelly; L Nickerson, J Collins, S McCaw; C Burke, R McBride; F O'Sullivan, M O'Farrell, C Mullins; B Conroy, S Ó Cuanacháin, B Bolger. Subs: M O'Driscoll for Kiernan and C Fusco for O'Farrell (19), W Moloney for Conroy and J Curley for L Nickerson (half-time), C Brennan for Ó Cuanacháin (43).

Mentors - Ballyboden St Enda's: Johnny Kenny, Emmett Carroll, Martin Kenny, Simon Lambert. St Vincent's: Paschal Lee, Jim McGovern, Mick Leonard, John McKenna.

Referee: Dave O'Donovan (St Mark's)

Wides - Ballyboden St Enda's: 13 (5+8); St Vincent's: 17 (11+6).

Conditions: A dry, calm afternoon.

Player of the Game: Conor Robinson (Ballyboden St Enda's).


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