Division One U14 Feile Peil Round Up
Game 1: BBSE V St. Sylvester’s
Ballyboden’s group fixtures of Feile 2017 were held in the sunny but blustery pitches of Skerries Harps GAA in the north county Dublin coastal town. Following the opening ceremony, the first contest would pit Ballyboden’s boys against perennial league rivals St. Sylvesters of Malahide.
Boden went with the breeze in the first half and took full advantage with a lively start and early point from Full forward Jason Dwyer. The lead quickly became seven points after two goals in quick succession from sharp shooter David Keane and four more points followed, the pick of them being a super long range effort from Rhys McDonnell. Boden finished the half as strong as they started and tagged on two further points and a net buster from Cian McMahon that had the scoreline 3-7 to no score at half-time.
With the wind at their backs, Sylvester’s came more into the game in the second half but an early goal from Boden’s menacing Cian Durkin seemed to settle the affair early. Despite Sylvester’s racking up a few points, the Boden defence held firm led by the dominant Alex Gavin who put the shackles on the opposition’s best player. Boden goalkeeper Eoin Donne pulled off two excellent saves to deny Sylvesters a way back into the contest, pushing one goal bound effort over the bar and then diving full stretch to tip a low shot around the post to avert the danger. In the end Boden ran out comfortable winners on a scoreline of 4-7 to 0-7
Game 2: BBSE V Skerries Harps
Boden’s next outing was against their fancied hosts Skerries Harps and was played on the inferior second pitch adjacent to the clubhouse. Conditions were difficult due to a strong swirling wind which the locals appeared to come to terms with much quicker than their visitors, in a manner that suggested such conditions were not unusual at their coastal HQ.
Skerries started the brighter and quickly raced into the lead and were 1-1 to the good before Boden started to settle into their rhythm. Boden battled bravely and fought their way back into the game and a pointed free from Cian Durkin had cut the deficit to the bare minimum midway through the opening half. Game on !…However, Skerries rallied again and picked off three unanswered points to lead 1-4 to 0-3 at the break.
The second half promised much and Boden’s defence were resolute in preventing a rampant Harps side from extending their lead before a solo effort from Cian Costello reduced the deficit to three points. Boden went up a gear after that and launched attack after attack only to be denied by a stubborn Harps defence who literally weathered the storm and ran out eventual winners on a scoreline of 1-9 to 0-6 to secure their place in the semi-finals.
Game 3: BBSE V St. Vincents
The crunch game in the group stage saw Boden face surprise package St. Vincents who had given Skerries Harps a run for their money in their opening fixture and then went on to inflict a surprise defeat on St. Sylvester’s and effectively ended their challenge after Round 2.
Boden would take nothing for granted though and set about their task in a clinical and efficient fashion. Five minutes passed before the opening score courtesy of David Keogh to nudge Boden ahead. Cian Mahon added a second score before Vincent’s halved the deficit a couple of minutes later to steady their ship…Stormy waters lay ahead for them though as the hard working Jason Dwyer at full forward found the back of the net before David Keogh added his second point to build a lead for Boden who were now starting to flow. All the while, Boden’s defence held firm resisting any Vincent’s attack with some outstanding performances from David Gannon, Ben Wolfe, Ronan Long and Josh Corcoran and whose efforts were matched in industry and endeavour by Paddy McWalters and Sean Bury who was unlucky not to bag a goal late in the first half. The midfield was under control with Michael McDonald and Rhys McDonnell working hard and Boden’s superiority was confirmed when Cian Durkin slotted in another goal after being set up by some good work by Jason Dwyer. This seemed to stir Vincent’s however and they hit back with a goal of their own just three minutes later and exchanged points to leave the scoreline at 2-4 to 1-2 at the interval.
The second half promised much with both sides eager to secure their place in the semi-finals…and it didn’t disappoint with both teams providing exceptional football and entertaining an ever more engaged crowd as they vied for the spoils. Vincent’s firmly threw down the gauntlet with a goal soon after the restart. Both sides then exchanged points before the excellent Boden stopper, Eoin Donne pulled off another spectacular finger tip save. Vincent’s eventually brought the scores level at 2-6 each with the end of the game in sight. Just as extra-time loomed large, Vincents edged ahead with two quick points but the Boden spirit was intact and they found a way back to take the lead in the dying moments after a sensational goal that seemed to seal the deal…However, lady luck was conspicuous by her absence for Ballyboden on this day as St. Vincent’s somehow managed to land a sucker punch goal on the final whistle to snatch a win and secure the semi-final berth.
It could have gone the other way so easily and although crestfallen at the end, Ballyboden lads can hold their heads high having represented their clubs and families with such distinction, dignity and pride and outstanding sportsmanship throughout the tournament and each of them are a credit to their coaches and mentors.
Further acknowledgement and thanks must go to the brilliant Under 13 lads who helped bolster the squad for the tournament…Bula Bas Sam Doyle, Leon Kennedy and Oisin Byrne who proved more than capable at this level and displayed great character, endeavour and ability when called into action.
And finally, a special mention to team captain, Hugh O’Sullivan, who missed participating in Féile as he is recovering from Glandular Fever, but nobody cheered louder or longer from the sidelines…Well done Hugh!
So despite being a tough day for all, it was a mighty effort by the group and they were so unlucky not to push through to the next stage of the competition.
Congratulations to all the boys on a great display on behalf of your club…Your best days lie ahead of you…le Cheile.
Post Script: Skerries Harps went on to win Feile Peil Division One.