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In-form Ryan can point way for 'Boden

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Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan

SPORTSFILE

Paul Ryan

It was the oldest member of the squad, David Curtin, who delivered the post-match speech to his Ballyboden team mates after their loss to Kilmacud Crokes in the first round of this Dublin SHC 'A'.

As they changed down at the Church End of Parnell Park, words like "embarrassed" were used as the 'Boden players stood ashen-faced.

The bookies called the game almost even-money.

There had been less than a slip of paper between the sides two years ago when a replay was required to anoint Ballyboden as county champions.

And yet Crokes ran riot on them on that afternoon, the first Sunday live GAA match for more than three months.

It was difficult not to surmise that day that Ballyboden, if not quite collectively over the hill, were certainly approaching it as a younger, more vibrant Crokes team ran up 4-18.

To their credit, 'Boden have been resurgent in their last two games, albeit with the caveat that they were fully expected to beat both Scoil Uí Chonail and Craobh Chiaráin.

Prospered

Still, a ten point win over the latter - who were in the semi-finals of this competition last year - represented an encouraging result.

They lost an epic to St Vincent's at this stage of the competition last year.

John Hetherton hit 0-19 (16f) as the Marino side forced extra-time and then prospered.

Chief among St Vincent's threats are the three McBride brothers; Cian, Rian and Darach.

Rian, in particular, has relocated a deft scoring touch after missing most of Dublin's campaign last summer.

Conor Burke and Tomás Connolly generate much of their energy around the middle and it's difficult to know whether 'Boden have sufficient gas to stay with them.

The likes of Niall McMorrow, Aidan Mellett and Conor McKeon will all be vital here.

But as ever, if 'Boden are to win, they'll need Conal Keaney, Shane Durkin and Paul Ryan all in form.

Ryan hit 1-11 against Croabh and given the right ball in the right parts of Parnell Park, he is close to unstoppable.

ODDS: Ballyboden St Enda's 4/6, Draw 8/1, St. Vincent's 6/4.

VERDICT: Ballyboden St Enda's.

  • Dublin SHC 'A' QF: Ballyboden v St Vincent's (Parnell Pk, Today, 5.30)