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Monday 5 December 2016

Boden tick more boxes

Dublin champs look capable of continuing their odyssey

Boden's Declan O'Mahony
Boden's Declan O'Mahony

Here's one - the odds for next year's Dublin SFC went up online with one bookmaker during the week.

Ballyboden, who today in Portlaoise can declare themselves officially one of the best two club football teams in Ireland by winning their semi-final against Clonmel and qualifying for St Patrick's Day, are available at 8/1.

It's a price that makes them fifth favourites for win their county crown again next year, with St Vincent's, Ballymun, Kilmacud Crokes and St Oliver Plunkett's all more tightly-priced.

Bookies

The same bookies have them at 11/4 to win this year's All-Ireland.

Which speaks volumes about the element of surprise Boden have brought with them on this run and, perhaps, the necessity to see it through as far as they can.

"When we started out 13 months ago, we probably weren't in the reckoning," admits Declan O'Mahony, one of the heavy lifters in this nicely balanced Ballyboden team.

"Your aim at the start of every year is to win Dublin first of all and I suppose that's a massive hurdle to try and get over.

"Once you get over that hurdle it's kind of about trying to put the celebrations down to one side and try and get through the Leinster championship.

"We said that if Vincent's were in the same position as us, if they'd won the Dublin championship, they'd be refocusing straight away on the bigger prize so why can't we do the same?"

Why, indeed.

Because, while Andy McEntee's team did surprise most people in winning last year's county title in a super-competitive championship, they didn't catch anyone on the hop either or capitalise on some aberrant lull in Dublin club football.

All the bits just began to fall into place.

Paul Durcan, for instance, has been utterly vital and he is almost certain to have been greeted at the airport this week by McEntee upon his arrival from Qatar.

The likes of O'Mahony and Darragh Nelson benefitted from dropping off the Dublin panel.

Fresher

Michael Darragh Macauley was fresher for having not played quite as much as he liked.

The hurlers, in particular Conal Keaney and Stephen Hiney, added steel and leadership despite not being quite sure whether they'd be involved at all and the teams' starlets grew up quickly.

There is always a danger with such a long period of inactivity that they fail to find that Leinster winning form and Clonmel are, according to O'Mahony "big down the middle, have smaller, faster lads out the wing and no fear of anyone."

It's just that it looks as though Boden tick more boxes fo this semi-final showdown.

Odds: Ballyboden 1/2, Draw 7/1, Clonmel 9/4

Verdict: Ballyboden

All-Ireland club sfc semi-final: Ballyboden v Clonmel commercial, today (4.30)

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