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Word on The Hill

Boggan honoured at Friends of Dublin Hurling

The Friends of Dublin Hurling - a noble crew.

Has there been anybody that has been more of a friend to the game in the city than Jimmy Boggan.

Jimmy was presented with the Hall of Fame award at the Red Cow on Friday night.

He was surprised, but nobody else was. He seems to have been managing Dublin teams forever.

A quiet, wise dignified presence that has spanned the generations.

Not one to smash the tea cups against the dressing-room walls at half-time. More a hurling philosopher.

Jimmy's a modest man, even shy. But funny too. The quip is never far away.

But he would be the last person on the planet to open the doors to 'Hello'.

From Wexford stock, that easy smile and pleasant manner conceals a library of knowledge.

How many Dublin players played under, and learned, from Boggan's brilliance over the years.

He was a mentor in 1965 when the county won their last All-Ireland minor hurling title.

There were eight St Columba's players on that Dublin squad, including the county captain, Liam Martin, Shane's father, and Bill Kelly of Arnott's.

At that time, Columba's, later to become Crumlin, were king-pins of Dublin. Their clashes with St Vincent's were pure box office.

Jimmy was working the magic again in 1983 when the Dublin minors reached the All-Ireland final.

Niall Quinn was top-of-the-bill back then, and he's regards his former mentor in high esteem. He's not alone.

Back in '83, as the young Dubs prepared for their big day, Jimmy was fine-tuning their skills up in O'Toole Park.

And the image is still as vivid as ever as Jimmy carried a huge tea-pot past the dressing-rooms to make the supper.

Up around Crumlin, Jimmy is still everybody's favourite cup of tea. And so many owe so much to his persuasive powers, guiding them in the direction of sport, and becoming better people as a result.

He's still doing it today, nurturing the future seniors of Crumlin and Dublin.

Crumlin enjoyed golden days in the late 70s, winning the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship in 1978 and '79.

In '79 they reached the Leinster final, losing to Shamrocks of Kilkenny. The following year Crumlin won the Leinster crown, overcoming Camross of Laois in the final. Crumlin are the only Dublin club to have won the Leinster title.

Jimmy is in the very fabric of the club that he also guided to the All-Ireland Club Camogie title in 1985.

In recent years, he was back with the Dublin minors again, and over the decades he came so close to leading the Dublin seniors to the promised land.

And through it all, the small ball has remained such a big part of Jimmy's life.

And he'd often comment that he regarded O'Driscoll, Hanahoe and Keaveney as better hurlers than footballers.

Football, as is still does today, always seemed to be the biggest game in town.

But hurling folk continue to thrive. They always seem to walk on with hope in their hearts. And nobody more so than gentleman Jimmy Boggan.

Jimmy's call to the stage lifted the roof at the gala 'Friends of Dublin Hurling' celebration.

Also getting the cheers was the Dublin Hurler of the Year, Ronan Fallon, the majestic St Vincent's centre half-back.

In the nominations for that honour were the Ballyboden duo, Gary Maguire and Stephen Hiney.

The Dublin Young Hurler of the Year distinction went to the stylish Craobh Chiar�in craftsman, Alan McCrabbe.

Included in the nominations in that section were Peadar Carton of O'Toole's and David Treacy of Cuala.

With players of that calibre around, the remarkable Mr. B will just keep on smiling.

Courtesy of Niall Scully
(Evening Herald)

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