Conal Keaney told of his pride in Ballyboden St Enda’s Dublin senior hurling title win against Kilmacud Crokes on Sunday, in particular in the context of a team once thought to have been a weaker replacement for ‘Boden’s all conquering side of a few years ago.
Keaney spoke about the perceived division between the old and new sides after the finale, and how things had come back around, with the 2018 win confirming the younger crops ability.
“It’s really sweet,” Keaney told the Dublin Gazette after the contest. “I guess it goes back to 2013, and at that stage everyone said we were finished. Even in our own club there was talk of a division between the old lads and the young lads. We knew that wasn’t true, you know?”
“The transition was hard but we always got on. We didn’t get the breaks a couple of times. I think this year we really wanted to do it, as there’s a couple of us that might not be going for too much longer. We said we’d give it a real go this year, and it just shows, when we put in the work we are good enough. We’re well good enough.”
Keaney was critical of his own role in the two games leading up to the final replay, but starred on Sunday, making a substantial impact. “To be honest I was poor in the semifinal and poor in the final,” he said. “Ross [O’Carroll, of Kilmacud Crokes] got the better of me in the final, and I was disappointed with that.”
“I kept trying to do the right things and the manager stuck with me. Usually you’d have been taken off. I felt like I owed it to myself and to the lads to prove that I wasn’t finished, you know?”
“Cuala are the yardstick,” Keaney admitted, despite ‘Boden’s Dublin success in relatively recent times. “We won six in a row back then and we couldn’t break Leinster. Cuala have shown that Dublin hurling is up there. If we don’t go on and do something similar [to Cuala’s pair of All Ireland titles], it’s going to be a great disappointment.”
“We weren’t looking beyond this week,” Keaney said of the contest against Westmeath champions Clonkill that’s now looming. “But we’d happily play it Wednesday, Thursday… Whenever it is, we’ll be ready.”