AIB All-Ireland SFC semi-final
Ballyboden St Enda’s 0-11
BALLYBODEN ST. ENDA’S quest for AIB All-Ireland Senior Football silverware, ended in heartbreak as Down’s Kilcoo booked their place in a first-ever All-Ireland decider, thanks to a three-point win in Cavan on Saturday.
It was a rough end to the campaign for the Dublin and Leinster champions, who once again showed similar characteristics, which saw them through to the last-four.
The Firhouse Road outfit had delivered late in many of their games, including the Leinster final win over Carlow’s Éire Óg, but this time left it too late, as Kilcoo prevailed.
“It’s a disappointing end to a very good year for the team,” Anthony Rainbow said afterwards.
“I think if we reflect on the game, really it was probably lost in terms of our scoring efficiency.
“We had 23 shots; we only converted 46/47 percent – the facts don’t lie really!
“A couple of chances we had, probably in the last five or ten minutes, that we would have put over in previous games. In tight games against Éire Óg and Na Fianna, and these teams. It just didn’t happen for us today.”
A goal in either half was key for Kilcoo in this game although, to their credit, Ballyboden responded to each with the next score – but crucially the Down side stayed ahead.
“When the first goal went in, we reacted quite well to it. We came up and got the next score.
“We brought it back to two points and they had that lead going in at half-time,” Rainbow said.
“When they got the second goal, it put them five or six points up. Again we reacted really well to the second goal.
“We got it back to two points again, but when you are chasing a lead like that, and you are playing against a very defensive and strong team like Kilcoo you are always going to run out of time, if you don’t take your scoring chances and that’s what happened to us.”
Rainbow is hopeful that the momentum from 2019 will once again come to the fore for the 2020 campaign which begins shortly, but he is keen to let his side get a well earned break first.
“It’s something to build on for this year and next year. We’ll probably refocus over the next couple of weeks, and see how the team are.
“I think it’s important that they get a bit of time off, and a bit of rest as well, because it’s been a hectic season for them.
“The league starts back in Dublin in mid-February, and then you are looking at the Championship in mid-April.
“The team will be back probably within the next three or four weeks kicking football again.
“We won’t be thinking about that for the moment.
“It’s important that they get a lot of rest over the next coming weeks, and we’ll certainly enjoy it tonight and reflect on the year on how it went.
“They have been an excellent team over the last two years, since I have been involved with them, and I can only say that I am very, very proud of what they have done and what they have achieved over those last two years.”