A glorious Sunday morning saw the travelling Boden support make the long trip to the “Poor Man’s Dalkey”. The St. Sylvester’s pitch, in the heart of……..well, nowhere, was in immaculate condition. Rumours of tumbling property prices due to the establishment of a Sailing Centre for Midland Culchies was the idle pre match gossip amongst the chattering classes. “It will be just like Portmarnock” said Blanaidh from Estuary View “You know those boggers drink milk from Bodhrans.”
Thoughts quickly turned to matters football, when Liam O’Dwyer’s charges appeared from behind a hedgerow, the new normal for dressing rooms. There was a sombre moment as the untimely passing of Brendan Moran was marked with a minute’s silence. Like every other team in Ballyboden, when they first walk through the gates of the Academy, Brendan had a sincere interest in this group of lads. Down through the years, he constantly enquired as to how they were getting on. He would often remark that they were a lovely group of young fellas and that the club is more about the people and not always about the medals. It would be fair to say there was a collective lump in the throat of the Boden support as they felt his, almost tangible, spirit descend to every square inch of the pitch.
Playing into the “marina” end, the game started at a ferocious pace with both teams exchanging early schkelps to enforce their superiority. Boden were first to trim the sails of Sylvester’s from the boot of corner forward Luke Byrne. Cheers of “Ahoy and tally ho ” rang around Broomfield Demesne as Slyvester’s registered their first point after 6 minutes. Under the ‘Death Stare’ of defence coach Andy Gardiner, the Boden back six quickly responded to “The Enforcer’s” instruction and nothing ‘but the wind’ got past them. Forced into long range shots, Sylvester’s registered just 5 scores in the first 30 minutes. On a number of occasions, Boden split the Sylvester’s defence and Keogh was unlucky when his pile driver came back off the woodwork. The ever industrious McGlynn was creating mayhem up front which allowed Byrne and O’Dwyer register 6 of Bodens 7 first half points with McGlynn himself getting the other one.
At half time, we caught up with mentor Jack Donaghy, who was looking a little the worse for wear. Picture a fat Ronnie Wood in drag. Asked how he thought things were going, he said, “I put on a little Lockdown weight and all of a sudden everyone is Jane Fonda.” When pressed about the match, he said, “The half time stats are good, turnovers won, completed passes, shot conversion and, like Liam O’Dwyer’s wallet, the defence is on 100% lock-down.”
As the 2nd half got underway, Boden raised the intensity and a point a piece from the hard-working midfield duo of McDonald and Colcough saw Boden open up a four-point lead and they were beginning to look comfortable. Sylvester’s did not like the cut of the Boden jib and tacked towards a more traditional set up with a ‘Big Man’ up front. But living in fear of the menacing presence of ‘The Enforcer’ Leahy, Maguire, Gannon and Gavin snuffed out any chances of a comeback. Calls from the Sly’s bench to move the ball from Port to Starboard to get a breakthrough were quickly extinguished by O’Sullivan and Donaghy out on the wings. And somewhat ironically, Sylvester’s were the ones at sea.
The introduction of Sweeney, Keane and Lynch into the forwards saw Boden drop anchor on the game as they extended their lead to 8 points.
As the final whistle sounded, we grabbed salad intolerant mentor Declan Maguire for a reaction. “It was a solid overall performance with lots of positives to take into the Ballymun game, even Harry Donaghy got on the score sheet.” When asked for a more insightful analysis, he panicingly muttered, “Get out of me way before ‘The Enforcer’ catches up with me, I made a remark about how he is the first person from Ballycastle that I met, to have all their own teeth. He’s not best pleased.”
So as this Hack headed for home, my thoughts once again turned to Brendan Moran, the ‘Gentleman of GAA’. And how he would have had a broad smile after such an honest team performance, comfortable in the knowledge that these fine young men are a credit to their families and club. A club which he was passionate about and one he tirelessly and unselfishly invested years upon years of hard work. That’s some legacy Brendan…………………..
.. Rest Easy.
Final Score: St. Sylvesters 0-10 BBSE 0-18
Photographer: John Kirwin or Hawkeye to his friends
The Panel: Eoin Donne, Cian Leahy, Joe Maguire, Eoghan Gannon, Hugh O’Sullivan, Alex Gavin, Harry Donaghy (0-1 First score since 2017!!), Harry Colclough (0-2), Michael McDonald (0-1), Eoin Behan, Ryan O’Dwyer (0-5 (2XF)), Luke Mulligan Lynch, David Keogh, Conall McGlynn (0-1), Luke Byrne (0-6 (2xF)), Daire Sweeney (0-2), Ronan Long, Richard O’ Halloran, David Keane, Daniel Lynch, Cian Hassett, Kevin Hickey, David Monahan, Evan Welsh, Daragh Kenny (Inj), Oisin King (Inj).
Next up: Ballymun Kickhams in PUM – Wednesday 29th July at 7.30pm. Tickets on sale in Ticketmaster and all the usual outlets.