Ballyboden extra special as Basquel stars on new stage
Ballyboden St Enda's 5-28 Coolderry 5-25
It started in blinding sunshine. It finished with the Parnell Park lights on; we're reliably informed it was still the same day.
And in between? What transpired between the hurlers of Ballyboden St Enda's and Coolderry might require a book to do it justice.
"An unbelievable battle," said winning manager Joe Fortune. "I don't know how much more I can take, to be honest, and I'm not even playing."
His media audience nodded in unanimous agreement. Where to start?
How about this… name the Dublin footballer who scored 3-3 from play on his first ever SHC start for his club? And before you answer Con O'Callaghan with a confident flourish, it's Collie Basquel, who delivered a jet-heeled masterclass from start virtually to finish. And yet he wasn't top-scorer, not by a long shot.
Name the former Offaly hurler who amassed 2-16 (2-5 from play) and still finished on the losing side? Brian Carroll. The 35-year-old dragged Coolderry, not quite single-handedly, from early disaster to the brink of victory in normal time.
Then he repeated the trick in extra-time. And then, after cramping up during the second bout of extra-time, Carroll was sent off.
This full-blooded contest had been devoid of any noticeable niggle for the first 80 minutes, but as fatigue set in tempers frayed. Incredibly, Coolderry lost three players to straight reds in a madcap finale: Carroll, followed by Kevin Brady and, right at the death, keeper Stephen Corcoran.
Ballyboden also lost Conal Keaney to a second yellow, but he'll be available for the decider, against Ballyhale Shamrocks on December 2.
That will be Boden's first final appearance in 11 years. They will start as underdogs against the Kilkenny men, but after their epic journey to get there (a Dublin final replay, extra-time against Clonkill, then yesterday) only a fool would write them off.
"Is Ballyhale going to be a massive challenge? Of course it is," said Fortune. "But, do you know, I don't think they'll fancy us either."
The various scorelines are remarkable enough before you delve into the crazy details. Normal-time finished with Boden's 4-17 matching Coolderry's 3-20. After a further two 10-minute halves, it was Boden 5-22, Coolderry 4-25. It was 5-25 apiece after the next 'five-minute' half - which actually lasted almost 11 and included three red cards.
By comparison, the last five minutes were almost prosaic, as a hat-trick of Paul Ryan frees brought his haul to 0-14, the last of those frees coming after Corcoran was banished.
Much earlier, almost in a different era, the Firhouse Road men had exploded out of the blocks. A defence-shredding run and bullet finish from Niall Ryan, followed by Basquel's opening goal and his first point, gave them a seven-point lead.
"After three minutes it was 2-1 to no score," reflected Coolderry boss Joachim Kelly. "You're thinking, is this going to be a riot?"
Five minutes later, a Carroll-inspired Coolderry had hit 0-6 on the spin and the roller coaster was established.
When Corcoran's 25th-minute clearance was half-blocked by Basquel, affording Keaney the chance to arrow an inch-perfect shot to an unguarded goal, the Dublin kingpins were six clear again and that had stretched to seven (3-8 to 0-10) at the break.
It looked lights out for Coolderry after Boden's 38-year-old veteran David Curtin made it a nine-point game, but a Carroll free launched the comeback and then a scrambled 39th-minute goal, credited to Conor Molloy amid a mass of bodies, lit the touch paper.
And on it went. Basquel left his second marker (Stephen Burke) for dead en route to scoring his second goal on 45 minutes; six in it again. Three minutes later, Coolderry sub Declan Parlon goaled with his first touch to make it a four-point game.
This was hurling's equivalent of two boxers scoring with every punch. When Ryan landed a stunning touchline point, his second from play, Boden were four up with the clock ticking… but then Carroll followed his 13th point with his first goal, bundled home at the far post. In the 61st minute, Coolderry were finally level.
Ninety seconds into injury-time, they led for the first time when livewire Kevin Connolly struck his third point.
There followed two Boden wides - a Ryan '65' and a Finn McGarry effort from halfway. But, much to Coolderry's chagrin, referee Justin Heffernan played on and Basquel drew the foul that enabled Ryan to equalise, five-and-a-half minutes beyond the hour.
Highlights of the first spell of extra-time included Basquel's hat-trick after another dynamic run; and then Carroll's second goal in the 79th minute.
Boden surged three clear again before Coolderry lost Carroll to a red after a melee that saw Keaney booked.
As chaos became the dominant theme, the visitors won a penalty that spawned another goalmouth flashpoint, a red for Brady and a second yellow for Keaney. The penalty decision stood and Corcoran advanced from his own goal to finish it. But then he, too, walked as 14 men prevailed against 12.
"I honestly don't know what happened with the red cards, the game was so fast," said Kelly who, even in agonising defeat, insisted: "It was a great year and they'll get over this."
SCORERS - Ballyboden: P Ryan 0-14 (11f, 1 '65'), C Basquel 3-3, C Keaney 1-1, N Ryan 1-0, P Doherty 0-3, S Durkin, S O'Connor, D Curtin 0-2 each, A Mellett 0-1. Coolderry: B Carroll 2-16 (11f), D Parlon 1-1, C Molloy 1-0, S Corcoran (pen) 1-0, K Connolly 0-3, D Miller, C Parlon, M Bergin, W Malone, M Corcoran 0-1 each.
BALLYBODEN - C O'Donoghue; J Madden, L Corcoran, D O'Connor; S Durkin, S Lambert, D Curran; S O'Connor, D Curtin; A Mellett, N McMorrow, N Ryan; C Keaney, C Basquel, P Ryan. Subs: C Dooley for Ryan (41), P Doherty for Curtin (47), F McGarry for S O'Connor (53), M Travers for Mellett (59), Mellett for Travers (et), C McCormack for Travers (73), J Roche for McMorrow (78).
COOLDERRY - S Corcoran; S Connolly, T Corcoran, S Burke; B Teehan, K Brady, B Kelly; M Bergin, D King; C Molloy, B Carroll, E Parlon; K Connolly, M Corcoran, D Miller. Subs: C Parlon for M Corcoran (ht), D Parlon for Miller (45), J Brady for Bergin (47), W Malone for T Corcoran (49), Bergin for Kelly (70), M Corcoran for E Parlon (70), Miller for Molloy (76).
REF - J Heffernan (Wexford)