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Saturday 22 September 2018

Boden boys back on top

Capital kings admit scalping Sarsfields was a 'savage test' as blend of old and new retake Dublin crown

Conor Robinson, Ballyboden St Enda's. Picture credit: Caroline Quinn
Conor Robinson, Ballyboden St Enda's. Picture credit: Caroline Quinn

A FINE crowd in. More than 4,000. They saw a worthy match.

It mightn't have contained all the trimmings, but it was competitive and close.

The result wasn't confirmed till Shiner Brennan took one last blast of his bugle.

"He's as good a referee as he was a hurler," declared Dublin county board chairman, Andy Kettle.

Shiner kept up with every bounce of the sliotar. The turf was in good nick. It was very mild for November.

No rain. Over the tannoy came the good news – the Vinnie's were through.

All Star, Peter Kelly, wore the number three shirt for Lucan. The debate lingered about Conal Keaney.

Wise men say he should also have been on the podium. He proved his calibre as Ballyboden St Enda's, once again, took home the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship title on Sunday evening.

Class

Only three points in it at the end – 0-13 to 0-10. Keaney's class had much to do with that.

In the most critical stage of the duel, he stood as tall as the Spire. A little flick here. A gentle pass there.

Finding gaps in the road where most would see only a cul-de-sac. It was that know-how and guile that was a principal factor in Boden's victory.

He was featured in the match programme. His childhood hero was Joe Cooney. He was asked what advice he would give to younger players.

"There are no excuses for not practicing your skills everyday," insisted Conal. Joe Cooney didn't become an artist by spending his days eating Galway Bay prawns.

Many of Boden's players have played in all six triumphs. They were part of Hogan's Heroes. They have seen a changing of the guard.

Jonny Kenny is now the chief pilot. He has able cohorts – Brian O'Regan, Davy Kane and Darragh Spain.

They have discovered the gold blend. The old trusted combination of youth and wisdom.

"We found ourselves quite short at times for league matches," explained Jonny. "We had to bring some minors through.

"But that is the way you get to see players. And make no mistake, these boys are serious hurlers."

Jonny went on to compliment the young ones – the likes of Conor Robinson and Stephen O'Connor. When the votes were counted, Robinson got the man-of-the-match accolade.

Lucan have a few gems of their own. "We knew Lucan would be a savage test," admitted Jonny. "It was so tight. Scores were hard to come by. I think it was our experience that told in the end."

Lucan will be back. It was their first final. You wouldn't have thought so. As Tommy Somers said during the week, they weren't coming just to hear the band.

Just as well – there was no band!

Lucan played some charming music of their own. They were always on Boden's shoulder. Five times they were level in the first half.

There was only a point between them in the opening pages of the second period. But when the tie was in the mixer, the Lucan manager, Damien Fox, lamented: "We needed to get ahead to put some pressure on them, but we just weren't able to manage it."

But even coming to the last bend, Lucan were still in the race. "You always keep going till the very end. And being an Offaly man, I always thought it was possible to win it."

The Boden boys jumped for joy when the closing credits rolled. It's the old story. You never know what you have got till it's gone.

It was a sweet victory. And of their six winning finals, it was the closest of the lot. That says much about Lucan.

It probably says even more about Boden, who have done so much to raise the bar in the capital in the modern era.

The Boden Boys are back in town. And they are residing in a hurling city that is now populated by quality streets.

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