Mount Leinster scale the heights by shocking Ballyboden St Enda’s
Become the first Carlow side to reach a Leinster senior club hurling final
Mount Leinster Rangers 1-17 Ballyboden St Enda’s 3-9: Mount Leinster Rangers caused a sensational upset in accounting for Dublin giants Ballyboden and in the process, becoming the first Carlow team to reach a Leinster senior club hurling final.
Despite being rank underdogs, Rangers were deserving winners and fought back well from the concession of first-half goals to Gavin Corrigan and Conor McCormack to go in trailing by just two points at half time, 2-7 to 0-11.
An indication of the magnitude of their task beforehand was that this was only the third time that a Carlow team had reached the last four of this competition.
Throw in to the mix that Ballyboden had six members of the Dublin panel that enjoyed their own massive breakthrough this summer, as well as former Wexford defender Malachy Travers, and you could understand why nobody gave them a chance.
“We’ve come up from intermediate level” said manager Tom Mullally of a club established just 26 years ago. “The likes of Ballyboden, Oulart, Kilcormac have been there; they’re seasoned teams. We’re not so much learning our trade but trying to improve year on year.”
There were three penalties in the second half, with two going to Ballyboden. The sides were level when Frank Foley saved Paul Ryan’s first penalty and after doing well to clear, Rangers had a goal within a minute after Diarmuid Byrne found his brother, Eddie completely isolated with 10 minutes remaining.
“It was probably the turning point of the game as it was a six-point turnaround in our favour which was important to us at the time” admitted manager, Tom Mullally afterwards.
His team had dominated the latter period and completely shackled the likes of McCormack and Corrigan, who had looked dangerous in the first half, while Paul Ryan and Conal Keaney rarely offered the type of threat that might have been expected.
Six minutes from time, the frustration appeared to get the better of goalkeeper Gary Maguire, who pulled wildly on John Coady and received a straight red card. Denis Murphy opted to take a point from the resultant penalty and when he added a free to bring his tally to nine, the margin was five.
Lost their shape
Despite the numerical disadvantage and having to withdraw Corrigan to bring on a sub goalie, Ballyboden created their two best chances of the second half as a frantic Mount Leinster lost their shape.
Ryan converted his second chance from a penalty before Niall McMorrow found himself clean through. Foley was out quickly though to deflect the shot bravely away.
“As a group, we had the ambition when we came out of Carlow that we wanted to give Leinster a crack” said Mullally. “We’ve been presented with an opportunity now.
“Coming through any semi-final is good. The fact that it’s a Leinster competition puts added importance to it. We’re obviously delighted, thrilled with it. To come out of it is a great testament to the players, their attitude and their character.”
MOUNT LEINSTER RANGERS: F Foley; G Kelly, G Doyle, M Doyle; Diarmuid Byrne (0-1, sideline cut), R Coady, Derek Byrne (0-3); E Coady, P Nolan; P Coady (0-1), E Byrne (1-2), D Phelan; D Murphy (0-9, 0-7 frees, 0-1 65, 0-1 pen), J Coady (0-1), E Doyle. Subs: HP O’Byrne for Phelan (38 mins), W Hickey for J Coady (60+1 mins); J Hickey for Derek Byrne (60+2 mins).
BALLYBODEN ST ENDA’S: G Maguire; S O’Connor, D Curran, M Travers; S Hiney, T Sweeney, C Robinson; S Durkin, N McMorrow; C Keaney (0-1), D Curtin, C McCormack (1-2); G Corrigan (1-1), P Ryan (1-4, 1-0 pen, 0-2 frees), F McGarry (0-1). Subs: M Nagle for Robins (41 mins), D Sweeney for McGarry (41 mins), J Roche for Curtin (49 mins), C Dooley for Corrigan (52 mins).
Referee: J Owens (Wexford).