Conal Keaney leads out Ballyboden in their All-Ireland semi-final

BALLYBODEN manager Andy McEntee feels his side will have to improve the finishing ability they displayed in their extra-time semi-final win over Clonmel Commercials in order to beat Castebar Mitchells in the All-Ireland Football Club Championship final on St Patrick’s Day.
The sides meet at Croke Park in the decider on Thursday with Ballyboden looking to take a first ever All-Ireland title to add to their maiden Leinster championship title.
Speaking to 98FM Sport, McEntee said: “Obviously, we need to improve but there’s no need to panic either. We were doing a lot of things right.
“I think the wide count at the end of the game was 15 to four, so we were doing a lot of things right. We just weren’t finishing it off.
“Obviously that’s a huge part of the game, so it’s something we need to work on, but again lads showed a lot of patience, a lot of faith in themselves, a lot of faith in what we were trying to do.
“And they pulled through and that will stand to them.”
The magnititude of the achivement of just reaching the showpiece decider is not lost on McEntee and the boss is keen to ensure that his players don’t leave such a rare opportunity behind them.
“Any club footballer in Ireland – there’s 2,000 clubs in Ireland and there’s two clubs left – I think most fellas would say, ‘Look it, this is the pinnacle of their football career’, apart from maybe a couple of guys who are playing inter-county stuff.
“Of course there’s excitement but there’s a good work ethic here and everybody realises chances like this don’t come around too often.
“You wouldn’t want to be dependent on being back at this stage next year. You have guys that have been around the club a long time and then you have the infectious youth of Collie Basquel and Shane Clayton and Aran Waters and fellas like that and they give everybody a new lease of life.
‘There’s half a dozen young fellas that are quite special and they raise your expectations.”
Pressure, and the fear of it, plays a big part in such big sporting occassions, and McEntee was keen to point out that he feels his side are well up to facing and overcoming that psychological element of the final.
“You can be afraid of it or you can welcome it as an opportunity and I’d like to think that our fellas will welcome it.”