On a day when the weather ranged from lovely sunshine to torrential rain in Parnell Park last Saturday, the 21st of May, Ballyboden Under 16 Boys footballers contested the Dublin Championship ‘A’ Football Final, in a pulsating game against last years Under 15 Champions Whitehall Colmcille.

The football from both sides was of the highest quality throughout. The qualities of determination, bravery, and intelligence alongside wonderful skill, excellent score taking and hard work were on show in abundance through this close encounter. The game ebbed and flowed and both sides experienced periods of dominance and pressure. Ultimately the difference came down to goals. Whitehall got three! Boden’s chances for goals were minimal. This Ballyboden team has had periods of dominance in games throughout this Championship when they have played exceptional team football for a group so young. They totally dominated the first 15 minutes of this final. Full forward Dylan Dunleavey lead the line very well in the first fifteen minutes scoring 2 points and getting on the end of wonderful flowing passing moves involving Kevin Desmond (Captain), Jack Kenny, Ciaran O Reilly and John McGinn. These moves  started from a dominant half back line with David Ward, Matthew Fitzpatrick and centre back  Seán Heeran continuously supplying great ball to the inside line. Boden grew in confidence went in to a 0 – 6 to 0 – 2 lead with well taken points from John McGinn, Dylan, Ciaran O Reilly and Enda Cashman.

Time and time again, Boden cut through the Whitehall defence. However Whitehall kept working hard and 20 minutes in, when the heavy rain began to fall. their luck turned. The ground and the ball were becoming very greasy and Whitehall got the goal they needed following a high ball which floated from a free into a crowded goalmouth and it ended in the net. To make matters worse for Boden, Whitehall started and finished an excellent move which opened up the Boden defence finishing yet again in the net. This was despite the heroics of some excellent goalkeeping from Boden‘s Adam Farrell who commanded the square well and made some pivotal saves. The excellent fielding and work rate of full backs Killian Kirwan and Ruairí Mac Mahúna kept Boden in this game. They were well supported by Daire Lynch and Luke MacDwyer and Luke Grady.

Whitehall went in at half time 3 points to the good 2 – 4 to 0 – 7.

Boden came out in the second half determined to get back into the game. Following a Whitehall point, Ciaran O Reilly, Jack Daly and John McGinn kicked three from play and it was game on with Boden 2 points down.Again lady luck didn’t shine on Boden as Matthew Fitzpatrick had to leave the field injured. Aidan Garvey come on for Matthew and caused problems for Whitehall with his pace, Conor Lowe came on for Luke MacDwyer and whipped over a cracking point and James Kinsella came in for Daire Lynch and made a fine contribution. Boden committed players forward and got caught at the back. Following a double save by Adam Farrell, saves which ultimately  should have been cleared by the Boden backs Whitehall hit the net again following a lucky floating kick which ended in the top corner. Time was running out for Boden. Evan Cullen came on for Dylan Dunleavey and Boden continued to press forward. Ciaran McDonald replaced David Ward to get his first taste of Championship action.  Whitehall kicked some fine points in the closing stages to win the day and the 2016 Under 16 championship.

Congratulations to Whitehall Colmcille and well done to the Ballyboden boys who contributed hugely to a hugely entertaining County final.

Scorers Ballyboden: John McGinn 0 – 5 (3f),  Dylan Dunleavey 0 – 2, Ciaran O Reilly 0 – 2, Enda Cashman 0 – 1, Conor Lowe 0 – 1, Jack Daly Kenny 0 – 1.

Ballyboden: Adam Farrell, Daire Lynch, Killian Kirwan, Ruairi Mac Mahúna, David Ward, Sean Heeran, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Luke Grady, Kevin Desmond, Aidan Garvey, Ciarán O Reilly, Enda Cashman, John Mc Ginn, Dylan Dunleavy, Luke Mac Dwyer, Evan Cullen, Jack Daly Kenny, Adam Carrigan,  James Kinsella, Conor Woods, Ciaran MacDonald and Conor Lowe.

Postscript: And it has to be said 3 U16 Finals in 3 years is no mean feat!

The future is bright for Ballyboden!

Many thanks to John Kirwan for the great photos. For more photos, see here