Ballyboden manager Joe Fortune. Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
End of the road

No excuses for Fortune as Ballyboden's 'serious journey' draws to a close

The Dublin champions went down by 16 points to Ballyhale Shamrocks in yesterday’s Leinster club SHC final.

BALLYBODEN ST ENDA’S had designs on a first Leinster club hurling title in their history on Sunday, but they were no match for Kilkenny kingpins Ballyhale Shamrocks who’ve lost just two of the 11 provincial finals they’ve competed in since 1978.

Seven times since 2007 Ballyboden have been crowned county champions, but so far they’ve failed to back that up with honours in the province.

At half-time in Netwatch Cullen Park they were just four behind, but facing into a storm in the second period they were outscored by 1-12 to 0-3 as Ballyhale ran riot.

Perhaps ‘Boden’s marathon wins over Kilmacud Crokes, Clonkill and Coolderry on this journey eventually caught up with the Dublin champions.

“I won’t look for excuses,” said manager Joe Fortune afterwards. “They were by far the better team on the day. Especially in the second half. They came out on top.

“We’ve had a serious journey this year. There’s a lot of people who wrote that team off over the last couple of years.

“But look, they’ve given everything. Everything I’ve asked them to do. Just on the day itself, Ballyhale were that bit better.

Michael Fennelly with Aidan Mellett and Collie Basquel Michael Fennelly tackled by Aidan Mellett and Collie Basquel. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

“That wind changed. When we came back out in the second half, I couldn’t believe it. There was a gale blowing there and look, small little things like that can drive the other team on.

“But I’m not going to look for excuses today. I don’t do that with any team that I’ve looked after. It’s always the better team on the day that will win it.”

Over the last two seasons, Cuala showed Dublin clubs what was possible as they put together back-to-back All-Ireland titles.

Ballyboden reached the provincial final once before – back in 2007 when they lost to Birr – and were determined to follow in Cuala’s footsteps after emerging from Dublin. 

“From an outsiders perspective, it might have looked like a poor showing at times,” continued Fortune.

“But we kept at it and just came up against a team on the day that everything seemed to go for them. They kept going until the very end. 

“I just want to make clear again that I can’t commend them enough for what they’ve done this year for me. Winning a county title is hard enough to do and just coming back in and getting a good run in Leinster – those lads will be devastated now.

James Madden, David Curtin and David O'Connor with TJ Reid James Madden, David Curtin and David O'Connor battle for possession with TJ Reid. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

“It’s been a very good year for Ballyboden, it’s just a pity today that we didn’t go at it in the second half especially.

“We had a great chance for a goal near the end of the first half and once it didn’t go in, they went straight up the other end of the field and got a point. So instead if being a couple of points ahead after weathering the storm, we were further behind.

“And then, the second half, the elements when we came back out, maybe there was something in that, I don’t know. We just didn’t seem to push it on in the second half at all.”

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