A well-rounded team performance helped maintain Ballyboden’s 100% record in the 2020 Minor A football championship. Having already qualified for a home quarter final, mentor Liam O’Dwyer said, “This is an intelligent group of players who understand that championships are won by squads and not teams. We’ll be putting that to the test today.” His charges were showing 3 changes from the team that lined out against Ballymun.
Hyde park in the heart of Dalkey, a hotbed of vegan activism, was the venue for this much anticipated 3rd round clash. Having polished off the Mocha baked oatmeal with almond butter centre canapes, all washed down with copious amounts of Maple cinnamon lattes made with pumpkin seed milk, the queue for the toilet stretched as far as the eye could see as the action got underway. A fiercely proud Cuala side weren’t there to make up the numbers and started the game with a physicality that would bring tears to a glass eye. An early Cuala point was cancelled out by scores from the front three of Sweeney, Byrne and Keane. An exchange of frees saw both sides hit the water break tied at 4 points apiece.
Ballyboden began to impose their game with breaks from defence by Gannon, Donaghy and Gavin. The overlaps created were posing problems for Cuala and the resulting frees saw Boden begin to get a foothold. With scant regard for their own personal safety, bone crunching tackles from McGlynn and Behan showed that these lads have that X factor as well as the technical ability. Two beautifully struck 45’s from O’Sullivan saw Boden go to the break 9 points to 6 to the good.
The action got back underway and Boden picked up where they left off. Sandwiched between a couple of frees from the boot of Luke Byrne came the turning point of the game. After Maguire and Gavin broke up a Cuala attack, Boden moved the ball quickly down the pitch and Mulligan-Lynch found the gap to get through on goal. With three Cuala defenders hanging off him, he calmly slotted the ball beyond the outstretched arm of the Cuala keeper and finally the green flag was raised.
As the game moved into the last quarter, Boden emptied the bench and the energy levels rose another notch. Long, Hickey, Welsh and Keogh responded to the deafening enthusiasm of the Boden support and showed exactly why this panel has a real depth to it. As Cuala threw the hand-crafted, heavy duty fireclay ceramic Belfast sink at it, Boden soaked up the pressure and broke downfield to register 4 points in the final 15 minutes. The pick of the crop being a lung bursting solo run from team captain, Harry Colcough and a sublime finish to split the posts.
As the final whistle sounded, we caught up with some of the ‘hangers on’ for comment. “The Magnificent 7 [defensive unit] were firing on all cylinders again today. That’s three games and no goals conceded”, said defensive coach Andy Gardiner, who hails from the small town of Ballycastle in Mayo. Cold, miserable and wet, Andy is an important member of the backroom team.
Mentor Jack Donaghy who was sporting his ‘New Look’ after shifting the “Corona-carbs” and smelling like a new toilet in a McInerny home, said, “We’ve changed things up for this game and the lads have responded well.” He went on to say, “A championship is about a squad and not any one individual and these lads are playing their part. Now get out of my way fatty, I need to power walk to the line.” You could cut the tension with a knife.
BBSE: 1-15 Cuala: 0-11
The Panel: Eoin Donne, Cian Leahy, Joe Maguire, Eoghan Gannon, Harry Donaghy, Alex Gavin, Hugh O’Sullivan (0-2 x 45’s), Harry Colclough (0-1), Daniel Lynch, Conall McGlynn, Eoin Behan, Luke Mulligan Lynch (1-0), Daire Sweeney (0-1), Luke Byrne (0-9 (6xF)), David Keane (0-2 (1xF)), Ronan Long, David Keogh, Richard O’ Halloran, Evan Welsh, Kevin Hickey, Cian Hassett, Oisin King (Inj), Daragh Kenny (Inj), Michael McDonald (Inj), Ryan O’Dwyer (Inj), David Monahan (Inj)
Next up: ‘Arch Nemesis’ Castleknock in P.U.M. – Sunday 23rd August at 11am.
Tickets available from Ticketmaster and, if it doesn’t go our way, will be live streamed in my head for the rest of my natural days.