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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 18 October, 2018
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Ballyboden gun down reigning All-Ireland champions Cuala in Dublin opener

Conal Keaney’s injury-time goal sealed the win.

Ballyboden St Enda’s 1-18

Cuala 0-17

Kevin O’Brien reports from Parnell Park

THE ALL-IRELAND champions were welcomed back to the Dublin SHC with a four-point defeat to Ballyboden St Enda’s in the opening group game.

Conal Keaney celebrates their third goal Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Former Dublin hurler Conal Keaney kicked a stoppage-time goal to seal the win for Ballyboden, who last lifted the county title in 2013.

This was Cuala’s first championship match since their All-Ireland final win over Ballyea on St Patrick’s Day, and the defeat shows the strength of club hurling in the capital.

Cuala were without their talisman Con O’Callaghan, who was busy helping the Dublin U21s to the All-Ireland football title in Tullamore today, and talented corner-forward Sean Treacy.

In his absence David Treacy shouldered much of the scoring slack, finishing with 0-12, but Mark Schutte was the only other Cuala player to score more than once.

Mark Schutte and his brother Paul have opted not to rejoin Ger Cunningham’s Dublin squad for the championship, but the latter did a fine man-marking job on Keaney until his late goal.

Mattie Kenny’s men have games against Crumlin and Faughs to come in the competition which, unlike its football counterpart, operates with group stages in the early part of the year before the knock-out games at the latter end of the summer.

Cuala celebrate winning Cuala were crowned All-Ireland champions six weeks ago Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Ballyboden won six senior titles since 2007, but it’s been over three years since they last managed to do go all the way. Accurate forward Simon Lambert hit seven points (0-4f), while Niall McMorrow bagged three scores from play in a good display.

Back by the breeze in the first-half, Ballyboden’s initial plan of attack was to rain high ball on top of full-forward Aidan Mellet.

Most of the balls going in to Mellet failed to stick, but once Ballyboden took a more measured approach the scores started to flow.

They raced into an 0-3 to no score lead inside the opening five minutes, but despite dominating possession Ballyboden failed to score from play for the next 13 minutes.

Then five scores arrived along in the next five minutes, including two from Niall McMorrow, to leave them 0-10 to 0-7 ahead by half-time.

Simon Lambert, who finished the game with 0-8, scored Ballyboden’s first four points after the break, while Niall Ryan added a brace as they extended the lead to seven points.

Treacy answered back with five scores of his own as the reigning champions reduced the gap to a point on 58 minutes.

Keaney netted a stoppage-time goal to give the winners some breathing room, and a fine score from David O’Connor rounded off the win.

Scorers for Ballyboden St Enda’s: Simon Lambert 0-7 (0-4f), Conal Keaney 1-1, Niall McMorrow 0-3, Aidan Mellet, Eoghan O’Neill, Paul Doherty, Conor Robinson, James Roche, Niall Ryan and David O’Connor 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cuala: David Treacy 0-12 (0-10f, 0-1 45), Mark Schutte 0-2, Nicky Kenny, Niall Keane and Jake Malone 0-1 each.

Ballyboden St Enda’s

1. Gary Maguire

2. Kenny Wigglesworth
3. Stephen Hiney
4. Mal Travers

5. Shane Durkin
6. Stephen O’Connor
7. Cian Mellett

8. Finn McGarry
9. Conor Robinson

10. Simon Lambert
11. Paul Doherty
12. Conal Keaney

20. James Roche
14. Aidan Mellet
15. Niall McMorrow

Subs

13. Eoghan O’Neill for Doherty (36)
19. Niall Ryan for Roche (41)
21. David O’Connor for Travers (55)

Cuala 

1. Sean Brennan

2. Oisin Gough
3. Cian O’Callaghan
4. Simon Timlin

5. Sean Moran
6. Paul Schutte
7. Ross Tierney

8. Jake Malone
9. Darragh O’Connell

10. Cian Waldron
11. Colm Cronin
12. David Treacy

13. Colum Sheanon
14. Mark Schutte
17. Nicky Kenny

Subs

21. Niall Keane for Cronin (blood sub, 27 – 28)
21. Niall Keane for Sheanon (46)

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Kevin O'Brien

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