Ballyboden St Enda's celebrate their success. Pic: John Kirwan

Ballyboden St Enda’s 1-14
Na Fianna 1-10
AHL1 FINAL

DUBLIN senior footballer Colm Basquel bagged a key first-half goal as Ballyboden St Enda’s retained their Adult Hurling League Division One title with a win over 14-man Na Fianna at O’Toole Park on Sunday.

It completed an impressive double for Joe Fortune’s men in 2018, following their success over southside rivals Kilmacud Crokes in October’s county final replay in Parnell Park.
Basquel’s 18th-minute finish offered ‘Boden significant breathing space throughout, and Paul Ryan’s five-point haul off the bench was a crucial factor in keeping their Glasnevin counterparts at bay.

After securing the top-tier crown at the expense of St Brigid’s 12 months ago, Boden safely advanced to another showpiece with 11 wins and one defeat to their name.

Their sole reversal came at the hands of Na Fianna on May 30, when their well-drilled opponents had five points to spare (3-13 to 2-11) at St Mobhi Road.

In comparison to Boden, who had to work their way through a hectic schedule in recent weeks, Na Fianna were perhaps short of competitive match practice.

They faced a stiff breeze during the opening period and didn’t open their account until the 14th-minute, with Boden already five points up.

Paul Doherty broke the deadlock before the elusive Basquel split the posts at a right-hand angle to offer his side early leeway, and Doherty added two more early scores.

Na Fianna finally responded with a Gavin King free, before Basquel rattled the back of Jonathan Treacy’s net to stretch their cushion to six points. Na Fianna did gain some degree of solace in the shape of King and Donal Burke points, but they remained five points in arrears (1-6 to 0-4).

It has been a collective squad effort for Ballyboden this year, epitomised by the introduction of Conor McCormack and Ryan either side of the interval.

Seconds after his introduction in the 33rd minute, Ryan converted a free on the left-hand touchline, and Durkin’s second of the day followed.

Na Fianna suffered a hammer blow when central attacker Tomas Watters received his marching orders for an off-the-ball incident involving his direct marker Dean Curran.

Na Fianna dealt admirably with their numerical deficiency, and King knocked over a brace of frees – including one from his own 65-metre line, and they earned a potential lifeline on 58 minutes.

Treacy stepped off his line to size up a goal-scoring opportunity at the far end. Via a deflection, he fired past Gary Maguire to cut the deficit down to four.

Another inspirational Kelly single kept Boden on tenterhooks, but Ryan displayed his true class with an ‘over the shoulder’ strike before finding the target again from the next attack as Boden held out.