Boden secure U-21 title

by Gazette Reporter
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Ballyboden St Enda’s football section proved it is a power to be reckoned with alongside its hurling champions last week when their Under-21 team secured the Dublin championship title for the first time since 2003.

After coming close in last year’s final, where hearts were broken in the final moments when Na Fianna scored a goal to turn the tie on its head, this year’s decider was also a close-run thing, Boden finally taking the crown by a single point in a low-scoring game.

Speaking to GazetteSport after the final, team selector for Ballyboden St Enda’s Under-21s Neil Buckingham said that he was delighted with the result and what it means for the football code at the club.

“For a club of our size, maybe the criticism could be that we haven’t enough championships, particularly in the football section. We have a load in the hurling championships, and it’s great from our point of view to get an adult football championship title under our belt.”

After a defining and confidence-boosting victory against Na Fianna in the quarter-final, and an assured second half against perennial challengers Kilmacud Crokes in the semi-final, Boden were a dominant force in the first half of the final, something that was not reflected on the scoreboard.

“We learned from our semi-final that we couldn’t afford to start slowly, and I thought the lads were magnificent in the first half, particularly the backs,” said Buckingham. “They were on top of their marks the whole way thorough, they set up attack after attack. Alan Flood scored a great goal and we tagged on a couple of points. But the score didn’t reflect how dominant we were at that stage. We missed a couple of frees, and I thought we maybe could have gotten more scores. The score looked better from their point of view.”

However, the second half proved a nail-biting one, Boden scoring a solitary point as Raheny threw everything they could to try to win the tie. Buckingham puts his side’s eventual success down to one significant factor.

“The defence were magnificent in the second half, although they were under fierce pressure. Raheny only got two scores from play. We got turnover ball after turnover ball, and tried to get the ball back down the field. Although it ended up coming back at us time and again, the guys stood firm, and even toward the end when Raheny were banging on the door, they really held firm, held on to the ball and repelled every attack.”

As for the future of this team, Buckingham said he expects to see a lot of familiar faces build on the confidence in their game that this result will bring.

“I think we will have around 24 players or so out of the 30 players in the panel who will continue on at this level next year. No championship is easily won, they are all difficult, but it looks good for us going forward. It’s good for football in Ballyboden.”

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