Lucan Sarsfield’s vs Ballyboden St Enda’s – Analysis Report

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Lucan Sarsfield: 2-12 – 0-16 Ballyboden St Endas

Ballyboden had come into this match as the bookies’ favourites. As the only team to beat All Ireland Champions, Cuala, in championship hurling in nearly 2 years, it would have been difficult to have argued with that tag.

Lucan, having come through a group with none of the perceived contenders, were somewhat of an unknown quantity at the beginning of this match.

The men in green, playing down the O’Toole Park hill in the first half, lined out in an orthodox 6-2-6 fashion and used every inch of the short pitch to land puck outs on top of Peter Kelly and Paul Crummey, deep in the half forward line. Kelly, although not moving as well as Dublin fans would be used to seeing him, was a handful for Simon Lambert under these balls.

The tactic paid off early on as Matt McCaffrey made a clever and well-timed run to collect the ball as it broke. Every other player in the vicinity was flat footed and couldn’t track McCaffrey’s driving run at goal. From about twenty yards, he drove the ball into the top corner to Gary Maguire’s left.

Ballyboden hit back when they scored the next two points. However, a further two missed frees meant they couldn’t completely shake off the concession of the goal.

James Madden and Niall Ryan in the Boden half forward line, dropped back frequently to help out their defence. Along with Finn McGarry and Niall McMorrow, this athletic four were able to run the ball well at the Lucan defence.

As the tactical dynamics began to unfold, Ballyboden would come to learn that it’s not advisable to drop off the opposition’s half backs for puck outs on a pitch as short as O’Toole Park. With Niall Ryan having filtered back to protect his half back line, Chris Crummey was able to collect a puck out on his own 45-yard line, turn, and strike over the bar from distance, under absolutely no pressure.

This would be Lucan’s solitary point from play in the first half, but with the buffer of the goal they were able to keep in touch through the free taking of Tommy Sommers.

Ballyboden would be the more dominant side in the second quarter with five players scoring from play. Niall Ryan’s solo effort in the 15th minute was the pick of the bunch.

In fact, had Boden’s delivery into the full forward line been better during this period, they could have found themselves with a cushion of a few points going in at the break. However, many balls aimed into the forward line dropped on top of Chris Crummey. To Crummey’s credit, he played the sitting half back role to perfection. His judgement of when to step up and meet the player coming through the middle, or when to drop back and protect his full back line, was excellent.

With the teams level at 1-6 to 0-9 at half time, having conceded the early goal and having played up the hill, Ballyboden must surely have been happy with their position.

As was the case in the first half, however, Lucan would once again, start the half the brighter. Former Dublin captain Johnny McCaffrey drove forward in the first minute of the half to put over an inspirational score, before half time substitute Ciaran Dowling doubled the lead a minute later.

The introduction of Dowling was the key to the second half as he dropped deep and sat in his own defence. Gary Maguire tried his best to keep his puck outs away from where Lucan had greater numbers, but the Lucan zonal defence, lead vocally by Crummey, shifted across in a manner only a well drilled team would do.

The substitutions of Conor Dooley and McGarry at half time and in the 39th minute, altered the dynamics of the game somewhat, reducing the overall pace of the Boden attack. The Knocklyon side just weren’t able to build on the momentum they gathered in the first half.

And with Boden already struggling to get to grips with the second half, a speculative ball into the Boden square in the 41st minute looked like it would be dealt with by the defence. However, the cardinal sin of defending was committed as two defenders went for the same ball. Invariably both of them missed it and CJ Smith was waiting just behind them to collect the ball and finish past Maguire. With the score now 2-10 to 0-10, Boden were left with a mountain to climb.

The introduction of the pacey David O’Connor brought life back into their attack as they began to run at the Lucan defence again, and draw frees. However, Boden were still guilty of playing a lot of wayward ball into their forward line, where Crummey invariably swallowed it up.

They would keep the scoreboard ticking over in the final quarter with scores from McMorrow, O’Connor, Ryan and James Roche, but they never looked like breaking down the well organised Lucan defence and scoring the goal that they needed.

Another inspirational Lucan score from Crummey to go with one from substitute Kevin O’Reilly was all that Lucan could manage after their second goal, but it was enough to keep Ballyboden at arm’s length and secure a famous upset.

Lucan Sarsfields: Kevin Roche, Philip Smith, Barry Aird, Paul Claffey, Johnny McCaffrey (0-2), Chris Crummey (0-2), John Bellew, Matt McCaffrey (1-0), Ronan Smith, Tommy Sommers (0-5 4f 1 65), Peter Kelly, Paul Crummey, Aidan Roche, Kevin Fitzgerald (0-1), CJ Smith (1-0) Subs : Ciaran Dowling(0-1) (Roche HT) Kevin O’Reilly(0-1) (Kelly 36) Adrian Phelan (Sommers 51) Michael May (Phelan 59)

Ballyboden St Endas: Gary Maguire, Mal Travers, Luke Corcoran, Stephen O’Connor, Shane Durkin, Simon Lambert, Conor Robinson, Finn McGarry, Niall McMorrow (0-2), James Madden, Niall Ryan (0-1), Conal Keaney (0-1), Aidan Mellet (0-1), David Curtin, Conor Dooley (0-5 4f) Subs : Paul Ryan(0-4 3f) (McGarry HT) Conor McCormack (Dooley 39) David O’Connor (0-1) (Curtin 41) James Roche(0-1) (Ryan 51)

By Conor Dunne