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Boden boom!

Shane Kennedy proved to be the match-winner at Bray Emmet's on Sunday morning, as a memorable second-half performance helped Ballyboden St Enda's to secure the Dublin U15 Hurling League Division One title.

Following a strong opening period, Lucan Sarsfields appeared to be primed for victory, but the decision to switch Kennedy from midfield to the edge of the square (in a direct swap with full-forward James Madden) offered fresh impetus to the Boden play.

During the closing stages, both sides were largely inseparable, and it took a 57th-minute point from Kennedy to finally determine the outcome of a fiercely-competitive encounter.

With nine of their players featuring in the Lucan CBS side that defeated Terenure College in the Dublin Schools Junior Hurling 'B' Final recently, the 12th Lock outfit were in a confident mood ahead of their journey to the north Wicklow venue.

Midfielder Ben Coffey was the star performer in the Coláiste Phádraig school's triumph, and it came as no surprise when he opened the scoring from a 35-metre free just four minutes into the action.

The early exchanges were rather scrappy, though, with Boden often dropping players deep inside their own half in an effort to swarm around the Lucan attack.

Neither side was willing to concede ground to their respective opponents, but following a foul on Madden five minutes after Coffey's opener, half-forward Ben Kelly split the posts from close-range.

Up to this point, it was shaping up to be a low-scoring showpiece, but thanks to the strong leadership displayed by Coffey and inside forward Emmett Allen, Lucan started to assume control of the proceedings.

The influential duo struck points from distance prior to Daire Newcombe's white-flag contribution, and even though Allen was denied a goal by Boden shotstopper Conor O'Donoghue on 16 minutes, Robert Ward eventually dispatched the ball over the bar.

Lucan were beginning to build serious momentum, and courtesy of a brace from the increasingly prominent Coffey (including his first from general play) they had registered six unanswered scores in the space of 20 minutes.

Threatening

The Boden forward line was yet to properly function, but just when Lucan were threatening to pull away from their southside rivals, they started to pose serious questions for the opposition rearguard.

Shortly after his move to the attack (which coincided with the introduction of Adam O'Neill), Kennedy finally ended the Lucan scoring sequence via a sharp strike from a right-hand angle.

This helped Boden to settle into their more accustomed rhythm, and as a result of subsequent points by centre-forward Ross McCormack and Kelly (free), they had reduced their deficit to three (0-7 to 0-4) just in time for the break.

Indeed, a long-distance free from O'Donoghue kept Boden in a positive frame of mind upon the resumption, and despite conceding an eighth point to lively Lucan corner-forward Alan Murphy, back-to-back scores by Kelly and Jamie Dooney left the bare minimum between the teams.

Lucan then appeared to weather the storm with exceptional points by Coffey and Allen, only for Boden to once again display their mettle.

Madden had delivered a low shot towards the target at the end of a forceful run in the middle of the field, and although netminder Éanna Torsney looked set to gather the ball with relative ease, it ultimately slipped through his grasp and into the net.

From a point where the game was starting to look beyond their reach, Boden were now on level terms with 20 minutes still remaining. Trying to gain the ascendancy was proving to be tricky, however, especially with Allen and Coffey in sublime form.

Their consecutive points opened up a two-point gap for Lucan, but buoyed by an inspirational score from wing-back Daniel O'Riordan, Boden substitute Ciarán Cashman finished off a goalmouth scramble 12 minutes from time to turn the tie completely on its head.

Gripping

The onus was now on Lucan to search for scores, but Murphy and Coffey duly obliged when opportunities fell their way.

Yet, Kennedy also made no mistake when his moment arrived late on, and though Lucan pressed for an equaliser, this was the decisive score of a gripping final.

Scorers - Ballyboden St Enda's: J Madden, C Cashman 1-0 each; B Kelly 0-3 (3f); S Kennedy 0-2; C O'Donoghue (f), D O'Riordan, R McCormack, J Dooney 0-1 each. Lucan Sarsfields: B Coffey 0-7 (5f); E Allen 0-3; A Murphy 0-2; R Ward, D Newcombe 0-1 each.

BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S: C O'Donoghue; E Dennehy, K Reddy, M Normile; K Lalor, T Glynn, D O'Riordan; S Lally, S Kennedy; R McGarry, R McCormack, B Kelly; J Dooney, J Madden, C Fallon. Subs: A O'Neill for Lally (20), L Basquel for Fallon (36), R Donohoe for Kelly (36), C Cashman for Dooney (47).

LUCAN SARSFIELDS: E Torsney; I Crowley, E Reynolds, J Murphy; E Seery, L Walsh, C Rigney; R Ward, B Coffey; D Newcombe, A Carroll, C Callaghan; A Murphy, H Ladd, E Allen. Sub: H Sviglinskas for Murphy (48).

MENTORS - Ballyboden St Enda's: P Kelly, T O'Donoghue, J Lalor, D Curtin, P Normile. Lucan Sarsfields: M Rigney, F Clandillon, D Brennan, F Ward, O Ward.

REF: T Clinton (Croí Ró Naofa).

WIDES - Ballyboden St Enda's: 7(5); Lucan Sarsfields: 7(2).

CONDITIONS: Sunny, breezy and dry.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Shane Kennedy (Ballyboden St Enda's).


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