Junior A Football League 6 Final  29/08/21 Páirc Uí Mhurchú

Ballyboden St Enda’s 1-10 Fingal Ravens 1-9 (AET)

Something had to give. Both teams had journeyed through their respective North and South side leagues unbeaten and both arrived with high ambitions to take the Junior 6 league cup home. Something did give. A barely imaginable scoring burst by the young Boden side late into injury time took the game to extra time with Boden edging it by the finest of margins.

From early on it was very clear that neither team would post anything close to their average winning league score. With both defences on top, space and scores were at a premium. Ravens raised the first white flag with a well taken free just before the water break with only two more white flags raised in the second quarter. One could only marvel at the strong and physical tackling discipline from both sides. In a half in which Ravens enjoyed more of the ball it was Boden who held a slender one point advantage thanks to a well taken 35m free from Daire Sweeney and a massive effort from play from Sean O’Donnell.

Ravens rang the changes and came out very strong in the third quarter. Boden were finding it very difficult to clear their lines and the sustained pressure eventually paid off. Two converted Raven frees book ended a superb team score and Ravens led by 2. When referee Philip Fitzsimons correctly awarded Ravens a penalty for a slightly mistimed tackle by Joey Donohue, the home crowed feared the worst. Ravens confidently despatched the penalty and led by 5. A free from Daire Sweeney cut the lead to 4 points but Boden were still on the back foot. Two fantastic saves from Adam Farrell in the Boden goal kept the game barely alive at the final water break. Looking back now, Ravens will rue not fisting at least one of those chances over the bar.

Boden needed to commit more men forward to lift the siege and that was the clear message from manager Tony Duffy. As both teams began to tire a little, each side registered a number of well taken team scores. Going into the final 10 minutes the score read Ravens 1-07, Boden 5 points, with little to no evidence of the drama that was about to unfold.

Boden began to press as the visitors retreated to hold what they had. The young Boden tyros sensed it and pressed forward at every opportunity. Two excellently worked Boden goal chances came and went but to their credit Boden kept the foot down. A very poor Ravens challenge was judged a deliberate pull down by referee Fitzsimons. A black card and a Boden point the outcome as the game ticked into injury time. Cool heads would have seen the game out for Ravens but inexplicably their discipline, which had been very good to this point, simply deserted them. The referee was left with no choice but to award two more black cards for further cynical play and Ravens were down to 12. Thoughts of older members in the crowd wandered to Dublin’s 12 apostles in ’83 and at times this match rivalled that intensity. Boden cut the lead to 3 with seconds remaining. Would Ravens see it out. The Ravens keeper went as long as possible to nobody in particular and Boden secured the breaking ball. One chance. Boden calmly worked the ball through the hands and away from contact and a small chance opened up. Incredibly, Boden full back Mikey Dunne rose highest between two Raven defenders to claim a fisted hand pass from the excellent Aidan Garvey and in a flash the ball hit the Raven’s net. The teams were level at 1-07 each. Referee Fitzsimons called for the ball and blew the final whistle. What a final 5 minutes.

Drama followed as both sets of management debated the status of the black cards and whether they carried into extra time. After 15 minutes of hot debate the matter was settled. Black cards do carry into an extra time, clearly an anomaly to resolve for the GAA where players in receipt of the more serious red card offence are deemed fit to return for the “new game”.

At this point, the momentum has swung to the home team and three further points from Daire Sweeney, Aidan Garvey and Larry Murphy (a 45) put Boden at 1-10. Ravens could only manage 2 points in response and Boden emerged victors. Only just. Raven’s will know they should  probably have won the match in normal time but some credit must go to a young Boden outfit who proved it really never is over until it is over.

Team: Adam Farrell, Joey Donohue, Michael Dunne, David Monohan, Luke Mulligan Lynch, David Gilheaney, Cian Leahy, Callum Gray, Sean O’Donnell, Conor Cullen, Lorcán O’ Maoileannaigh, Aidan Garvey, Daire Sweeney, Conor Kiely. Damien Kenny, Larry Murphy, Dean Ralph, Eoin Gannon, Barry O’ Donnell, Alex Craven, James McTernan, Colm Humphreys, Craig Irwin, Andy Hughes, Allen Kennedy, Richie O’ Halloran and Rory Jordan.

Boden Scorers: Daire Sweeney 0-5 (3f), Aidan Garvey 0-3 (1f), Sean O’Donnell 0-1, Larry Murphy 0-1, Mikey Dunne 1-0.

More pics by Sean Gilheaney here