'Boden rise up to 'Quel Crokes
Hat-trick of goals from St Enda's clinical Colms help edge thriller with Kilmacud
BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S................3-9
Ballyboden St Enda's produced a storming second-half performance when overcoming near neighbours Kilmacud Crokes by a solitary point in their enthralling Dublin Minor 'A' Hurling Championship Final at Parnell Park last Sunday afternoon.
Trailing by 0-12 to 1-4 at the interval, St Enda's turned the game on its head with goals at critical times from Colm Basquel and Colm O'Neill.
Indeed, Basquel's redeployment from corner-forward to midfield was instrumental in St Enda's securing a greater degree of primary possession around the middle third while James Madden was hugely influential from centre-back for the winners.
Such an outcome seemed highly unlikely as Crokes recovered superbly from the concession of an early goal to dominate affairs but their failure to replicate the vibrancy of that first-half performance upon the restart ultimately proved their downfall.
The game's high tempo was set from the opening whistle as Sean Keating showed nimble footwork and deadly accuracy to fire Kilmacud ahead inside 20 seconds. That score was followed by a long-distance free by Keating before Boden found their range through a Colm O'Neill free and Basquel's first goal in the fourth minute, when he was afforded too much room to fire a clinical finish across Tadhg Murphy from 10 yards.
Despite O'Neill adding a fine score from a tight angle soon after, Kilmacud began to assume control with Cian Mac Gabhann working tirelessly in midfield while Dara Ó Gallchobhair offered pockets of sublime hurling from wing-forward.
Crokes gradually piled on the pressure to restore parity through scores by Keating, Mac Gabhann and Ó Gallchobhair with Boden's sole reply a classy long-distance point from Keith McCarron in the 14th minute.
However, with Michael O'Dwyer, Mark McCallion and Odhrán Ó Siochrú tightening up the Crokes defence, Kilmacud held St Enda's scoreless for the ensuing 17 minutes as they built up a healthy advantage.
Donal Keane, Mac Gabhann and Feargal Whitley all found the target as the half progressed with Ó Gallchobhair's sumptuous solo point in the 29th minute helping to ensure a five-point interval lead for the Stillorgan lads.
The break appeared to stall their momentum, however, as Ballyboden began to control affairs through the busy Basquel and three unanswered points, including a monstrous long-range free from goalkeeper Keith Robinson, left two points between the sides by the 40th minute.
Crokes offered sporadic resistance through successive points from Whitley and Keane but the initiative was firmly in Boden's favour with Basquel's precise 46th-minute goal leaving the tie delicately poised at the end of the third quarter.
Although Keating briefly restored Kilmacud's lead soon after, O'Neill raced through unopposed from the resultant puck-out to produce an improvised finish beyond Murphy for a goal of exceptional quality.
An Eamon Gorman point in the 50th-minute extended St Enda's lead and despite a brace of frees by Keating towards the end, that all-important levelling score for Kilmacud proved elusive with Tom Hanafin epitomising Boden's resilience with a telling fetch in the dramatic closing stages.