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Lucan lords it

In a second-half display full of grit and determination, 14-man Lucan Sarsfields overpowered Ballyboden St Enda's to seal the Dublin Under-21 Hurling Championship 'A' title at O'Toole Park on Sunday morning.

Boden goals from Adam Germyn and John O'Driscoll had left Lucan five points in arrears with 20 minutes remaining, but five consecutive points from Sarsfields meant that the outcome was firmly in the balance. The 52nd minute dismissal of the influential Emmet O Conghaile seemed to have handed the initiative to Johnny Kenny's men, only for another 0-5 scoring burst to pave the way for a memorable Lucan triumph.

Sarsfields dethroned reigning champions Ballinteer St John's on route to this decider, and with talented performers in their team like Emmet O Conghaile, Sean McClelland and Chris Crummey (who is an inter-county team-mate of Boden selector Simon Lambert), it is unsurprising that they emerged as strong contenders.

A Ballyboden team on final day is always a dangerous proposition, though, and just two minutes into the contest, centre-back Jamie Desmond slotted a long-range free between the posts after Lucan's Conor Moran was penalised for over-carrying.

However, scores in the first-half were always going to few and far between, with both defences keeping tight reins on the respective attacks. Lucan were playing against a stiff breeze in the opening period, and as a result Chris Crummey often drifted back into his own half.

The centre-forward did find the target eight minutes in from a distance of 60 metres, but a similar effort from Paul Doherty eventually restored Boden's slender cushion.

A fine score from Eoghan O'Neill soon followed for the southsiders, and after Lucan corner-forward Eoghan O Conghaile had responded with his first score of the tie, two points in the space of a minute by centre-forward Collie O'Neill suggested that Boden were starting to gain a stranglehold on the proceedings.

ADVANTAGE

They didn't always utilise their wind advantage, however, and thanks to well-worked contributions from Paul Crummey and Eoghan O Conghaile, Lucan trailed by the bare minimum (0-5 to 0-4) when the action resumed.

Yet, Boden showed that they were capable of adjusting to the elements when inside forward James Roche landed a superb point from the left-hand touchline upon the resumption.

Lucan were eager to build on the momentum they had developed just before the break, though, and half-back McClelland - who had provided tremendous leadership for Sarsfields in the opening half-hour - cut the Boden lead in half with a crowd-pleasing score on the right-wing.

Dual star Emmet O Conghaile also made his presence felt by adding his side's sixth point under severe pressure, before Boden served a couple of potential hammer blows to the Lucan cause in the 39th and 40th minutes.

Adam Jermyn's speculative shot from a left-hand angle deceived Lucan netminder Dan O'Neill and drifted into the far side of the net, and even though Chris Crummey replied with his second point, Boden substitute John O'Driscoll made an instant impact by flicking home Roche's decisive pass across the goal.

With a 2-6 to 0-7 buffer at their disposal, Boden were starting to look primed for victory, but Lucan were never going to let their challenge slip away without a fight.

Points by Eoghan O Conghaile (two) and the increasingly-effective Chris Crummey reduced the gap to two points inside the final-quarter, and with back-to-back scores in quick succession, Emmet O Conghaile levelled matters for a third time.

The full-forward's day came to a halt eight minutes from the end, when he was given a second yellow-card for a late foul of Boden custodian Conor Dooley, but Lucan rallied superbly in his absence.

Eoghan O Conghaile's fifth point in the 56th minute finally put Sarsfields in front for the very first time, and thanks to outstanding singles by McClelland and Chris Crummy, they were four points to the good on the hour mark.

A final stoppage-time score from Eoghan O Conghaile meant that they had amassed 0-10 without reply, and when Dooley's penalty at the death was brilliantly turned away from danger, the triumphant Lucan players were greeted with rapturous applause.

Scorers - Lucan Sarsfields: Eoghan O Conghaile 0-6 (5f), C Crummey 0-5, Emmet O Conghaile 0-3, S McClelland 0-2, P Crummey 0-1. Ballyboden St Enda's: A Jermyn, J O'Driscoll 1-0 each, C O'Neill 0-2 (1f), J Desmond (f), E O'Neill, P Doherty, J Roche 0-1 each.

LUCAN SARSFIELDS: D O'Neill; P Smith, A Phelan, O McCabe; S McClelland, M McCaffrey, S Ryan; R Smith, J Bellew; C Moran, C Crummey, N Stagg; P Crummey, Emmet O Conghaile, Eoghan O Conghaile.

Subs: P Rigney for Moran (62).

BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S: C Dooley; K Wigglesworth, T Hanafin, N Keegan; D Butler, J Desmond, J Madden; C Robinson, C Lambert; A Jermyn, C O'Neill, E O'Neill; M Green, P Doherty, J Roche.

Subs: K McCarron for Keegan (38), J O'Driscoll for Doherty (38), Doherty for Butler (49), K Robinson for Lambert (58).

MENTORS - Lucan Sarsfields: F Clandillon, C Dooley, A Glover, P Stapleton.

Ballyboden St Enda's: J Kenny, S Lambert, M Kenny, E Carroll.

REF: D Burnett (Craobh Chiarain).

WIDES - Lucan Sarsfields: 6(3). Ballyboden St Enda's: 11(6).

CONDITIONS: Breezy conditions, but also bright and sunny at times.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Chris Crummey (Lucan)


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