On Saturday last, 21 U13 Boden boys gathered at the very early time of 6.45am at Heuston Station eagerly awaiting a trip to Tralee. Even though the tiredness was evident in many of the boys they soon embraced the spirit of this away trip.
On arrival at Tralee we were met by John Mitchells Juvenile Chairman Denis Fitzgerald who accompanied us to their clubhouse where we were served soup, sandwiches and drinks. A bus collected us and brought us to John Connolly Pk home of Austin Stacks.
First up was a game against Salthill Knocknacarra and this was a game of two halves as there was a very strong breeze blowing straight down the pitch.
Boden played with the wind and led at half time 0-3 to 0-0. Salthill came at Boden early in the 2nd half and levelled the game 3pts apiece and in the final 10 minutes kicked 3 more pts to win 0-6 to 0-3
Next up was a game v Legion from Killarney and Boden got the fast start and led 2-2 to 0-2 at the break. Boden extended their lead early the 2nd half and eventually ran out winners 2-5 to 0-3
Our final group game v Na Gael Tralee would decide which team went into the Shield semi final. Boden won the toss and decided to play with the wind and after a tough 15 minutes of football led 1-2 to 0-1 at half time.
Playing into a strong wind Boden scored a goal to lead by 7 but Na Gael fought back to get within 2pts and with time up launched one last attack lobbing the ball into our square, the ball cannoned off players from both teams before a Boden foot deflected the ball wide of our goal.
The full time whistle blew and Boden were in the Shield semi final. FT score 2-2 to 1-3.
The semi final was played at 5.30pm and even though the Boden players legs were tired they somehow summoned up the reserves of energy to defeat Ennistymon of Clare 2-6 to 0-2.
After a quick team meeting the players and parents retired to John Mitchells clubhouse where the boys were fed “a wholesome meal”. Gifts were then exchanged between John Mitchells Juvenile Chairman Denis Fitzgerald and Boden mentor Dave Kiely on behalf of their respective clubs.
The Boden boys then met their host ‘mammies’ and were whisked off to their new homes.
The Boden parents then retired to the Meadowlands Hotel for a well deserved meal and some ‘very light refreshments’
Sunday morning dawned with heavy showers and a gale of wind blowing. Everyone made their way to John Connolly Pk for the Shield Final between Austin Stacks and Ballyboden St Enda’s.
Stacks won the toss and elected to play against the strong wind. Boden started well and Sam Doyle got the first point of the game. Stacks steadied the ship and managed to score 2 goals and 1pt before the Boden boys knew what hit them but this Boden team who all believed and trusted each other began to eat into Stack’s lead with 3pts from frees from the boot of Ciaran Kiely and points from play from Sam Doyle, Scott Cramer Walsh and Fionn Keating McDermott to leave the score at half time 0-7 to 2-1.
A half time team talk that told Boden not to panic and to play the ball through the hands into the wind worked a treat. Early in the 2nd half Boden went ahead with another Ciaran Kiely free but Stacks replied with an equaliser. That proved to be Stacks final score as from there to the finish Boden scored 3 more points from Michael Murphy, Sean O’Shea and Ciaran Kiely that saw Boden over the line.
At the full time whistle there were scenes of pure joy as the Boden boys celebrated a great victory.
At the presentation, the wife of the late Billy Breen presented specially commemorative Centenary medals to each Ballyboden boy before Ciaran Kiely was presented with his player of the game trophy and finally the Billy Breen Shield was presented to joint Captains Oisin Murray and Evan Nugent. Evan was unfortunately unable to play in the tournament as he got injured 4 days earlier playing for the U13 hurlers.
Ballyboden St. Enda’s Lee Strand Tournament Panel:
Stephan Pullan, Myles O’Sullivan, Eoin MacPhaidin, Shane Flood, Aodhan O’Reilly, Andrew McGough, Scott Cramer Walsh, Scott McDonald, Sean O’Shea, Sam Doyle, Oisin Byrne, Ciaran Kiely, Oisin Murray, Michael Murphy, Jim Kennedy, Leon Kennedy, Barry McGuire, Daniel Daly, Fionn Keating McDermott, Jack Hutchinson and Evan Nugent.
We would also like to thank John Mitchells Juvenile section for all their hard work and hospitality, they really put on the red carpet treatment for both players and parents and for that we are very grateful.
Finally a big thank you to the parents who travelled to Tralee to support the boys. The treasured memories of this group of boys will long live into the future.