Ballyboden St Enda’s and Na Fianna came through tough tests at Parnell Park on Sunday to book their places in the semi-finals of the Go Ahead Dublin Senior One Hurling Championship.
Whereas ‘Boden had four points to spare (2-21 to 0-23) over Lucan Sarsfields in the day’s curtain-raiser, Na Fianna came from behind to record a 1-19 to 0-17 triumph at the expense of St Vincent’s.
As a result Ballyboden will now face defending champions Kilmacud Crokes in the last-four, while Na Fianna will take on Cuala for a spot in the forthcoming showpiece decider.
Following a frustrating group stage defeat to Cuala just over a fortnight earlier, ‘Boden were eager to lay down a marker against Lucan in their quarter-final meeting.
Sarsfields had secured the Go Ahead Adult Hurling League Division One title with a final victory over the Firhouse Road outfit, but this was always likely to be a different proposition.
Thanks to a brace of points from former Sky Blues hurler Paul Ryan (who was to finish the game with a personal tally of 1-8), David Curtin’s ‘Boden hit the ground running. Ryan was then on hand to cancel out a well-worked score by Lucan wing-forward Chris O’Leary, before the latter also registered back-to-back frees to bring his side on level terms.
Sarsfields had a strong wind advantage at their disposal throughout the opening period and the 2013 finalists subsequently hit the front when the Crummey brothers – Chris and Paul – split the uprights either side of a Luke McDwyer point at the opposite end. However, ‘Boden didn’t panic and opened up a sizeable gap with their first purple patch of the game inside the second-quarter.
After Conal Keaney (who turned 40 on Saturday) and Ryan posted points, Niall McMorrow pounced for a 20th-minute goal. Ryan also found the range off the resulting attack to increase the lead to six.
Although McMorrow and Simon Lambert (from a sideline cut) added to ‘Boden’s tally, 0-3 apiece from the impressive duo of O’Leary and Colm Walsh left the 12th Lock men just two adrift (1-10 to 0-11) at the interval.
Boden reinforced their authority when Ryan buried a penalty in the 34th-minute. However, Lucan, responded with unanswered scores from Ciaran Dowling, ex-Dublin captain Johnny McCaffrey and O’Leary.
Boden created further daylight courtesy of fine contributions from substitute Niall Ryan and Lambert. Even though Liam Garrigan pointed to keep Lucan in touch, ‘Boden looked set to ease over the line when Paul Ryan, Aidan Mellett and Lambert found the range in quick succession.
Yet with Bellew, O’Leary (free) and Dowling all doing likewise for Lucan, this game was threatening to go down to the wire. O’Leary added a two-point salvo off placed balls before the end of proceedings to bring his final haul up to 0-12. Nevertheless, closing efforts from the outstanding McMorrow (who amassed 1-3 over the course of the proceedings) and Niall Ryan ensured ‘Boden safely advanced.
In the day’s other quarter-final, Na Fianna kept their quest for a second consecutive decider appearance alive as they saw off St Vincent’s to book a semi-final date with Cuala, while Ballyboden will take on Kilmacud Crokes.
Lucan Sarsfields’ Matthew McCaffrey tackles Ballyboden’s Conal Keaney at Parnell Park.
Picture: Cliona Mellitt