Result: 1-05 to 2-05
A confident Junior A team travelled to Páirc Ciceam for the first of three group stage games in the Junior 1 All-County Championship. After a glorious Saturday of spring weather the gods decided that they didn’t want us to get used to sunshine and duly presented us with very challenging conditions with driving rain and very soft underfoot conditions on the morning of Sunday 15th April. Boden took to the field against a Ballymun outfit that taught us a lesson or two a few weeks previously. However this was going to be different as we had a few lads back from injury and other duties.The first few minutes began at a hectic pace with both teams making light of the difficult underfoot conditions. Boden were holding their own and giving as much as they received. However, we were wasteful and attempted long range shots with little chance of success. After three Boden wides Ballymun broke down the pitch and a speculative shot deceived Conor Conway and Stephen McGrath in the Boden goal and ended up nestling in the net. All our good work had borne no fruit.
Further pressure from Boden continued to create opportunities and solid work from Eamonn O’Reilly and David Gilheaney eventually presented a point scoring opportunity which Eamonn pointed with the outside of the left foot. We were finally on the board after 14 minutes. Massive effort in the engine room by Kev, Tommy and Conor kept honours in the middle tilted in our favour. At the back the sprightly Cathal and Barry frustrated numerous Ballymun attacks. Young Conway at fullback was a rock and never shirked a challenge, much like Kev who did the same at centre back. Ballymun scored their second point in the 20th minute and Boden responded with a long range Gillo point in the 26th minute.
A couple of talking points before the interval resulted in a yellow card for a Mun midfielder when others thought the colour might have been different. The conditions contributed to the foul and the ref’s decision. A couple of minutes later Mono had got around the cover and was bearing in on goal only to be dispossessed by a tackle from behind. Play was waved on much to the dismay of the Boden
At half-time the score was 1-2 to 0-2 in favour of the hosts. Boden had created the bulk of the chances but had come away empty handed. Gillo and Cian were causing problems inside while Karl and Lar covered a lot of ground at wing forward. In defence Sean and Keith prodded and poked to find openings as well as attending to their defensive duties.
The second half continued much the same way as the first with Boden doing all the pressing. Rory soon came in for Sean who had run himself into the ground. Sam replaced Conor to add fresh legs to the middle. Against the run of play Ballymun knocked over a couple of points to stretch their lead. An unfortunate miscommunication from a kick-out gifted Mun another goal. The challenge was even greater but the lads never gave up. A point from a 45 from Lar rekindled hopes. Boden were then awarded a penalty after a sustained period of pressure but the keeper saved Gillo’s effort low to the keeper’s left. Nothing was going right. Gillo stole the ball from a defender and a resulting free was put over.By this stage Fionnan and Ryan had been introduced and Cathal O’Dea managed to create space put over a point to narrow the gap. Boden were still 6 points in arrears but were doing all the pressing. Mark and Ross entered the fray for the final 10 minutes and Ross nearly flicked the ball to the net straight after his introduction. Another attack generated further chaos in the Mun defence and Keith eventually swept the ball home to leave a goal between the teams. A couple more passages of play ensued but Boden never really threatened and the referee finally called a halt to proceedings.
Despite being on the end of a defeat it was a magnificent game of football played by two committed teams. The referee (G. Carty) it has to be acknowledged also contributed positively to the game. This was certainly one that got away. In the after match discussion the players remained upbeat about the upcoming games and committed themselves to re-doubling their efforts.
Team: Stephen McGrath, Barry O’Donnell, Conor Conway, Cathal O’Dea, Keith Sweeney, Kevin Cronin (C), Sean Mulligan, Tommy Burke, Conor Barton, Lar Murphy, Eamonn O’Reilly, Karl Weldon, David Gilheaney, Eoghan Monahan, Cian Lynch.
Substitures used: Rory Jordan, Sam Lally, Ryan Bradshaw, Fionnan Keogh, Ross McCormack, Mark McGee
Not Used: David Leech