BALLYBODEN ST ENDA' 6-10, LUCAN SARSFIELDS 1-8
IT could be three steps to Heaven for the Evening Herald Dublin Senior Hurling 'A' champions, Ballyboden St Enda's.
Following their win over Ballinteer St John's, Boden carved out a comfortable semi-final victory last night, and now they are just a game away from a remarkable five county titles in succession.
Yet the immediate thoughts of the Boden boss, Liam Hogan, were reserved for Lucan, who have so often felt the pang of a semi-final defeat, more often than not to St Enda's themselves.
"I am happy with the result and the scoreline," commented Hogan. "But I have been watching Dublin hurling a long time and this was not the Lucan we all know and respect so much.
"Lucan are a superb hurling team. But something went wrong for them. It can happen to teams. It has happened to us."
Like Hogan, the Dublin hurling public were expecting a slice of Broadway under the Donnycarney lights. There was a good crowd at HQ. And many felt that Lucan were entitled to have high hopes of reaching their first final, especially as the holders were without their celebrated duo, Stephen Hiney and Conal Keaney.
It was the fourth time in five years that the sides have met. Boden beat them in the semi-finals of 2007 and 2008, and in last year's quarter-final by a point. In 2009, Lucan lost the semi-final to Chiaráin's by a point.
The night was perfect. It was chilly but dry. There was no breeze. Boden went briskly about their work from the first seconds ... literally.
There were just 29 seconds on the watch when Conor McCormack's delivery allowed Paul Ryan to rattle the net at the scoreboard end.
The champs were playing some delightful stuff. Sharp inter-passing, nimble stick-work all laced together with pace.
There was urgency in their every breath. Malachy Travers enjoyed a majestic evening. Stephen Nolan directed the traffic from centre half-back.
Unfortunately, the hour ended early for Lucan's Pádraig O'Driscoll who was stretchered off and put into an ambulance in the 16th minute with a dislocated knee.
Boden maintained their tempo. Lucan, who had a handsome quarter-final win over Faughs, just couldn't make any impact.
Only a fine save from Darragh Cunningham off David O'Connor and a brave block by Cronan Dooley off Ryan prevented a second goal in the 28th minute.
But it was coming ... and it arrived just before the Kit-Kats as David Curtin's pass saw McCormack drill under the slates. 2-7 to 0-2 at the turn. Nobody would have predicted that.
Eight minutes into the second half, Ryan struck the third goal following Dean Curran's pass.
Yet Lucan still kept on their feet. Points from O'Reilly (two), Robert Lambert and Trevor Lee (two) improved their mood, and 10 minutes from time, the Dublin minor captain of this year, Chris Crummy, flashed in a goal.
Suddenly, at 3-9 to 1-8, there was a little chink of light for the Sars, but three quick 'Boden goals extinguished all the Parnell Park candles.
Tim Sweeney forced in the first of them in the 53rd minute. O'Connor cracked in a second within a minute, with McCormack's penetrating run and superb finish completing the rout.
Now it's the five in-a-row chasing 'Boden Boys against the Blunden Boys on Sunday, October 30 (3.45). A Dublin SHC 'A' final that would grace the stage of the Grand Canal Theatre -- the 'B' final between Naomh Fionnbarra and St Pat's of Palmerstown will provide the curtain-raiser (2.0).
SCORERS - Ballyboden St Enda's: P Ryan 2-6 (0-3f), C McCormack 2-0, D O'Connor 1-1, T Sweeney 1-0, S Lambert 0-2, N McMorrow 0-1. Lucan Sarsfields: K O'Reilly 0-5 (3f, 1 '65'), C Crummy 1-0, T Lee 0-2, R Lambert 0-1.
BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S: G Maguire; S Nagle, D Spain, M O'Sullivan; M Travers, S Nolan, D Curran; D Curtin, S Durkin; J Doody, C McCormack, D O'Connor; P Ryan, S Lambert, E Carroll. Subs: P Buckeridge for Nagle (44); N McMorrow for Carroll (50); T Sweeney for Doody (52); N Ryan for Lambert (56); S O'Connor for Curtin (57).
LUCAN SARSFIELDS: D Cunningham; C Dooley, P Kelly, S McClelland; J Byrne; M McCaffrey, B McGarry; T Lee, J McCaffrey; D Brennan, R Lambert, P Carroll; A Roche, P O'Driscoll, K O'Reilly. Subs: E ó Conghaille for O'Driscoll (inj, 16); N Gleeson for Byrne (30); C Crummy for Brennan (35); T Somers for Carroll (47).
REF: T Carton (Naomh Fionnbarra).