Ballyboden book a league final berth

by Gazette Reporter
Cathal Flaherty in action for Ballyboden. St. Enda’s in their AFL1 Semi-final win over Lucan Sarsfields. Picture: John Kirwan

BALLYBODEN St Enda’s kept their winning run rolling as they reached the All-County Football League Division 1 final, with a 2-12 to 2-6 home semi-final win over Lucan Sarsfields at Páirc Uí Mhurchú on Sunday.

It keeps the Firhouse side in strong form, as they extended their unbeaten run to 23 games in both Championship and league in 2019, ahead of their AIB Leinster senior championship semi-final next Sunday at TEG Cusack Park in Mullingar at 1.30pm.

With a lot of first team players not available due to injury or being rested, the depth of the Boden squad was tested. Tom Hayes took over the frees from the left and had a point on the board from a free in the first minute.

Lucan replied with two points from play in the seventh and 19th minutes with Brendan Galllagher and Harry Ladd on target, before Warren Egan restored parity a minute later.

While scores were hard to come by in the first 20 minutes, the next 10 were more generous. Lucan went four points up with a goal and a point in the space of two minutes.

Corner-forward Brendan Gallagher was Lucan’s top-scorer overall, and delivered a well placed goal.

This was certainly putting it up to the home team and they duly responded.

Cavan man Hayes scored twice from frees, but Lucan got one back from a free as Gallagher added to his tally.

Then three points in a row from play from the versatile Conal Keaney, Hayes and Alan Flood brought the sides level as the half time whistle blew, on a 0-7 to 1-4 score-line.

The second half started with Ross McGarry and Collie Basquel coming off the bench.

McGarry popped over a point after five minutes followed quickly by Flood when he fisted over.

Egan then powered his way through the defence and finished to the back of the net.

Collie Basquel converted two frees to put Boden seven points ahead approaching the mid-way point of the half, on a 1-11 to 1-4 score-line.

The visitors got a point back and were awarded a penalty which they duly converted with Gallagher again finding the back of the net, to bring Boden’s advantage back to three points.

The home team were then awarded a penalty but they didn’t manage a goal from it, as Warren Egan popped over for a point.

Lucan cancelled this out to leave just three points between the sides.

With time running out, and the home goalmouth under pressure, the ball was cleared to Kieran Kennedy who carried the ball up the right wing.

He spotted Keaney all alone in front of goal and duly found him. Although he was being tackled by a Lucan defender, the former Dublin star managed to get a shot off past the goalkeeper to put six points between the sides and the final whistle sounded shortly afterwards.

This was a match that gave some of the extended panel members an opportunity to show management that they were available for selection for the Leinster semi-final.

Many of the players put their hands up, none more so than Cian Murray at corner back.

Ahead of Sunday’s last-four provincial tie, Ballyboden St. Enda’s will be weighing up their options, with Dubs Stars nominee Michael Daragh Macauley making a five-minute cameo in their quarter-final win over Newtown Blues.

Macauley suffered concussion a week previously in Boden’s Dublin final win over Thomas Davis.

There’s also concerns over Aran Waters, who picked up a knock in the win over the Louth champions last time out.

Keaney has also had injury concerns this year, but performed well in the league semi-final win last weekend.

Ballyboden’s 2016 All-Ireland winning captain Darragh Nelson didn’t feature in the Drogheda encounter.

Sunday’s semi-final will be broadcast live from Mullingar on TG4.

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