Boden’s final flourish

by Cóilín Duffy
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AIB Leinster Club Football Final
Ballyboden St Enda’s 0-8
Éire Óg, Carlow 0-6

BALLYBODEN ST ENDA’S battled until the end, to deliver their second ever AIB Leinster Senior Club Football title, and made it a 50th Anniversary to remember, thanks to a two-point win over Éire Óg, Carlow at MW Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise on Sunday.

In tough weather conditions, both sides were keen to maintain unbeaten records – Éire Óg having never been beaten in a provincial decider, and Boden aiming to continue their unbeaten streak in 2019 – across league and championship competitions, in both Dublin and Leinster.

In the end, three unanswered points in the dying minutes sealed the deal for Boden, in a game where scores weren’t hugely plentiful, but nonetheless an entertaining contest.

Late points from substitute Warren Egan, captain Ryan Basquel and Dublin star Michael Daragh Macauley ensured silverware for the Firhouse Road club.

After a defensive battle royale, it took 10 minutes for either side to get on the score-board, with some excellent blocks put in by both sides. Ross Dunphy opened the scoring for Éire Óg, and, within 50 seconds, the Carlow outfit had raced 0-3 to 0-0 clear, with their captain Sean Gannon, and corner-forward Chris Blake adding scores.

Boden tried to build from the back, but were unable to make inroads on the scoreboard, with Éire Óg losing defender Paul McElligott through injury, after a clash of heads with Conal Keaney.

It wasn’t until the 23rd minute before Ballyboden opened their account through a fine Colm Basquel both and, with Keaney and Ryan Basquel on target, the sides entered the break tied at 0-3 apiece.

Colm Basquel and Dunphy traded points in the 36th minute, before Keaney pushed Boden in front.

Scores were at a premium and, while Jordan Morrissey grabbed an equaliser – his point was the only score of this game between the 41st and 55th minutes.

A 55th minute Sean Gannon point edged Éire Óg in front, but a trio of unanswered scores from a hungrier Boden side in the closing minutes, saw Anthony Rainbow’s charges to victory.

Time ran out for Éire Óg, as referee Fergal Smyth signalled full-time, and with it jubilant scenes of celebration as management, substitutes and Boden supporters streamed onto the field, before minutes later Ballyboden captain Ryan Basquel accepted the McCabe Cup from Leinster GAA Chairman Jim Bolger.

It will be a blue, blue Christmas for Boden, as they now look ahead to an All-Ireland semi-final date with first-time Ulster winners Kilcoo of Down in Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday, January 4 – a homecoming over sorts for Boden player and Cavan native Tom Hayes.

But 2019 isn’t over yet for Ballyboden St. Enda’s, who still have a Dublin AFL1 Final to look forward too, when they face Ballymun Kickhams in Parnell Park next Tuesday night (December 17) at 7.30pm.

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