Boden's Leinster dreams shattered by Ballyhale

By Hayden Moore

DESPITE seeing his Ballyboden St Enda’s team suffer a heartbreaking loss in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Final at the hands of Ballyhale Shamrocks, manager Joe Fortune managed to remain focused on the positives of their campaign this season.

“You have to remember that this is Ballyboden’s first Leinster final in 11 years and a lot of those lads wouldn’t have that experience, but they are Dublin Champions and nobody can take that from them”

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Ballyboden St Enda's Conal Keaney in action against Ballyhale Shamrocks in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Final. (Photo: John Kirwan)

“I took over the lads 12-months-ago and what I will say is that this is not something that can happen overnight, but we’ve been on a great journey in that time” he stressed.

The Firhouse Road men opened the game’s scoring with a 65-yard free from Paul Ryan, but the eight-time provincial winners responded with two points from Evan Cody and Evan Shefflin before Adrian Mullen fired his side four ahead with a well-worked goal.

Two points from Colm Basquel, hot off the heels of his 3-3 tally in the semi-final combined with Paul Ryan and Niall McMorrow to draw the sides level just before the interval.

But by the whistle the Kilkenny side established a four-point lead as Richie and TJ Reid put them four in front.

“At half-time going in the lads were happy, we where back level on 27 minutes and by half-time they [Ballyhale] where back to three or four ahead, but the lads where ready for the second-half and focused” said Fortune.

“We came out of the tunnel and the whole day had changed, the weather took a terrible turn like it was torrential rain and there were gale-force winds, we were just facing the elements.

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The weather had a major impact on the players in the second half as Ballyhale tightened their grip on their ninth Leinster title. (Photo: John Kirwan)

“A Paul Ryan free from distance didn’t make the ‘21 because of that wind in the second-half, and he’s been putting them over all year” pointed out.

Indeed Ryan has been prolific from place balls registering 1-45 in his previous four games against Coolderry, Clonkill and Kilmacud Crokes in the Dublin final and final replay respectively, and was on target five-times against Ballyhale.

The second-half saw the six-time All-Ireland champions take over as they hit Boden for 1-11 to 0-3 with TJ Reid chalking up 0-9 overall.

Basquel was a shining light for the Dubliners and looked like scoring everytime he took on eight-time All-Ireland inter- county medallist Joey Holden, but on 53-minutes Mullen secured his second goal of the clash with a brilliant flick of the hurl.

A Niall Ryan point in added time served a consolation as by that time Ballyhale had built up a 16-point lead and secured their ninth Leinster title.

Reflecting on the clubs second ever time in a Leinster final, Fortune said: “I was talking to Henry [Shefflin] after the game and he did say that bit of weather helped, but look it, they took their scores from the chances they had and Adrian Mullen and TJ [Reid] did their thing.

“But that’s what good teams do, they were conscious of that change in weather and nothing seemed to work for us no matter how hard we tried – everything broke for them and they were the better team.

Meanwhile Boden are set to face Na Fianna in their Dublin Hurling League Division One decider on Sunday in O’Toole Park, Fortune said:“You have to realise that these lads have lost one game all year to Na Fianna and won 10 out of 11 league games on top of the Championship, so hopefully this time next week I’ll be saying that we completed the county double.

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