Boden stars back in lights
Champions lead the way in award stakes
THE capital's finest – Ballyboden St Enda's.
A quiet trip home from Carlow on Sunday evening, but they have been the dominant force of Dublin hurling in the modern age.
Now, the Boden boys are back on top of the leaderboard in the Dublin Bus/Herald Dubs Stars Hurling nominations.
No surprise there. They claimed their sixth Dublin title this month. And by doing so, Hogan's Heroes have copper-fastened the arrival of King Kenny.
Jonny Kenny had a big job to do when he took over from Liam Hogan. The five in-a-row was in the bag, but the Boden bodies had grown tired.
It had been a long road. It needed an injection of freshness and desire. And Jonny and his management unit have completed the renaissance.
Their intent was obvious from early summer. They opened the championship with a handsome victory over Naomh Fionnbarra in O'Toole Park.
Their conviction that evening was written all over the Crumlin grass. Boden were back. And they meant business.
A little pang of hunger does wonders for the appetite. A year away from the table proved the perfect medicine.
Their appreciation of their gift, and of their stature in the game, flowed back into the veins. They delighted in returning to Parnell Park on the big days.
A significant win came over in the Crumlin cathedral against the champions Kilmacud Crokes in the quarter-final. Following an impressive group campaign, that was a test and a half.
They then overcame St Brigid's in the semi-final, growing into the boots more comfortably as the hour progressed before once again grasping the claret jug.
Lucan gave them a hell of a run for it. Manager Damian Fox was proud of the Lucan lads, and rightly so. It was an absorbing spectacle.
It wasn't full of bells and whistles, but it was tight. And it attracted one of the biggest crowds seen in quite a while at the county final.
They enjoyed the tussle. Boden's guile and experience saw them prevail. Only three points in it. Of their six winning finals, it was the closest call of all.
Lucan won many new friends this term. It was their first final. They are grateful that the semi-final monkey has finally jumped off their shoulder, hopped on the number 66 and headed back to a feast of bananas at Dublin Zoo.
As Damian Fox indicated, getting to their first final, and their performance in it, will echo deeply at the 12th Lock.
Johnny McCaffrey was at midfield. He was magnificent. He had ended over half a century of hurt for Dublin hurling in July.
And, now back at the club, he was still producing the spark in the boiler house. He has the stature of a sportsman. Lovely balance. Compact of movement. Neat striker. Big heart. A true Super Sar.
Johnny is surrounded by quality. Kevin O'Reilly is one of the finest hurlers in the city. Supremely talented. He can break windows from any part of the garden.
Lucan come in second in the Dubs Stars order of merit. Also well up there are Craobh Chiaráin.
The Craobh did well to emerge from the toughest group of all. Fellow residents and big-hitters Cuala and O'Toole's didn't make it.
The Donnycarney club then overcame Ballinteer St John's in the quarter-final. Ballinteer played with such gusto. They have much to reflect on with pride at Marlay Park.
Craobh then fell to Lucan, but not easily. Brigid's have also been making positive strides in recent years. It was their second semi-final in three years.
They possess some elegant performers. Daire Plunkett is a champion athlete. He puts in more miles than most.
The holders Kilmacud also feature prominently. Their success last year was their first Dublin SHC crown in over a quarter-of-a-century.
They cherish the small ball in Stillorgan. They'll never be far from the hall door.
Crumlin also have a proud tradition. A clutch of young players and no lack of wisdom too.
Adam McGreal's genius cheered up the city. Crumlin's near neighbours St Jude's are another family that don't lack the arts and crafts. And Templeogue saluted another Dublin All Star in Danny Sutcliffe.
Liam Rushe also collected an Oscar. His Dad Ned manages St Patrick's of Palmerstown. They played splendidly against Brigid's in the quarter-final.
It was one of the duels of the season.
It was level 13 times. Pat's left the O'Toole Park arena to a standing ovation.
And they are still applauding out in Glenaulin Park.
Another of the illustrious names of Dublin hurling, St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh, also made quite an impact. Their former Dublin diamond Stuart Mullen is still delivering X-Press Mail.
O'Toole's, Na Fianna, Cuala, St Vincent's, Naomh Fionnbarra and Faughs are also honoured, as are Parnell's, who secured the Senior B Championship title on the biggest day of all for the small ball in Coolock.