Well it was definitely worth the wait wasn’t it? Liam O’Dwyers team put in a magnificent performance to claim the Fitzgerald Cup in the MFC A final last night in Parnell Park. The Boden faithful were there in controlled numbers (many more watched on Live stream) to witness our first MFC since 2010 and what a great game it was too. A blistering start by Ballinteer had us on the ropes early on but the lads steadied the ship and by half time led by a point in a very even match.
While Ballinteer came out strongly in the second half a quick fire burst of 3 Boden goals put us in a commanding position and the lads saw the game out with a maturity beyond their years. Congratulations to the players, management and the football committee for a fantastic victory, commiserations to our neighbours Ballinteer who gave everything on the night.
Dublingaa report here
Big thanks to John Kirwan for the photos, see more on our FB page here
Gizmo gives his last match report, or more to the point personality assassination, on this minor team below!
The wait is over – Minor A Football Champions 2020 – Gizmo reports from Parnell Park
After a ten (well, eleven) year wait, Ballyboden St. Endas have been crowned 2020 Minor A Football Champions for only the 7th time in the last 51 years. “It’s a great night for the lads and just reward for all their hard work and commitment” said an ecstatic Liam O’Dwyer. He went on to say, “It was a tough battle in humid conditions, but they didn’t panic, stuck to the plan and got what they deserved. Drinks are on me” which is completely out of character as he is so miserable, he wouldn’t tip you in a game of chasing.
For the heathens amongst you, there were several omens hanging over this fixture which may give you reason to profess that the result was written in the stars. (Ye could do with a good Latin Mass, that’s all I’d say.)
1. Mentor and forwards coach Andy Kerrin, was part of the 1998 Minor Football Championship winning team, when the final was not played until 1999.
2. The last time Boden lifted the Fitzgerald Cup was in 2010, the final was also not played until the following year.
3. The captain of the 2010 team, has a cousin playing with this current team.
4. 18th August 2021 is World Beer Day, and everyone knows that mentor Maguire all too frequently worships at the altar of Arthur Guinness. Stop, I’ve said too much.
So, for believers in Fate, the universe was realigning around the Firhouse road.
Following a delayed throw in, the game started at a ferocious pace. Each team traded points in the opening 7 minutes, the pick of the bunch coming from Kenny off his left peg. Byrne and Keane were creating havoc within the Ballinteer defence and they carved out a 1 on 1 that saw the Ballinteer net minder produce a fantastic save. “The momentum seemed to swing to Ballinteer when they netted the opening goal,” said defensive coach Jack Donaghy, who has all the charm of a war crime. He went on to say, “although we went to the water break 4 points behind, we reiterated the plan and each individual’s role.”
Early 2nd quarter frees from O’Dwyer and Byrne set the tone for the next 15 minutes. Constant pressure from midfield duo of Colclough and McDonald, ably assisted by the industrious Behan, led to a defensive mix up between the goalkeeper and centre back which was pounced on by Byrne, as he palmed the ball into the back of the net. The noise from the travelling support could be heard back in Knocklyon and visibly lifted the team. “There is a lot to be said for that 16th man tripe, there may actually be something in it”, said rotund water boy Declan Maguire, “We stuck on 1-4 and restricted Ballinteer to just 2 points in those 15 minutes.” Impressive statistics from the numerically dyslexic Maguire, particularly when he owes you a few bob.
Leading by a solitary point entering the 2nd half, the Boden defence were expecting a backlash, and it duly arrived. Mulligan-Lynch, Maguire and Gannon were unflappable and soaked up wave after wave of attack. But 3 quick fire Ballinteer points had them back in the driving seat by two. Sick of defending, the half back line of O’Sullivan, Donaghy and Gavin took matters into their own hands and decided to carry the ball into the forwards. One of these lung bursting runs, set up O’Dwyer to neatly finish into the bottom corner of the Ballinteer net. The resulting forward press (I haven’t a clue what that means either) saw multiple turnovers and kick out errors, one of which fell to young Keane, who coolly placed the ball beyond the ‘keeper’s reach. The crowd went wild. Football chairman Jack Nolan, who was looking like something you would see strapped to the front grille of a bin lorry, said “There is an incredible maturity about this team. The calmness and composure that they go about their business is a credit to them and will stand to them in future years. There’s no palaver”
Finish the job:
With a six-point lead going into the final quarter, Boden didn’t sit back, they went for the jugular. Like a Springer Spaniel on the 1st November, Sweeney and Keogh smelt blood in the air and terrorised the Ballinteer defence. Their only answer was to concede free after free. Wing back Gavin found himself in the ‘Butter Zone’ late on and dropped like a shot seagull when he was hacked to the ground by the Ballinteer keeper. (It kept physio Eamon O’Reilly busy and, let’s be honest, he could do with the exercise). The resultant penalty was dispatched by Byrne and that put the game beyond doubt. The introduction of Hassett, O’Halloran and McGlynn added to Ballinteers woes, as the fresh legs and footballing cuteness allowed Boden to keep the ball and only make line breaking runs when necessary. This was enough to see out the game and collect the crown of Minor A Football Champions.
After the game, we caught up with club chairman Ciaran Maguire, who, like an Irish version of Kim Jong-Un, is clinging onto power at the head of the Ballyboden family. He said, “That was a good game.” Truly insightful stuff. Administration has always been that man’s calling.
Club veteran and academy co-ordinator for this 2002 group, Tony Hassett spoke at extreme length about……………well, I’m not quite sure what he spoke about. I’m not saying Tony is boring but after talking to him you are warned not to drive or operate heavy machinery. We also ran into Mentor Liam O’Dwyer, a fine footballer and a gentleman. I spoke to all three of them and they didn’t have much to say either.
As the lights began to dim around Parnell Park, it gave this hack time to look back on the journey, covering the trials and tribulations of this group of players. The wins, the losses, the expectations, the realities, the smiles, the tears, the hard training, the lashing rain, the freezing cold, the glorious sunshine, the fights, the feuds, the laughs and the craic. Only then did it dawn on me……………………it actually wouldn’t have mattered had we lost the game tonight, because 26 babies in 2002 have become fine respectful, fun-loving gentlemen that are an absolute credit to their families and to Ballyboden St. Endas. And that, in itself, is the real big prize.
So, like a 16 year old Alsatian heading for the vets, we have finally come to the end of the road. It’s been a blast.
Final score: BBSE 4-12 Ballinteer 2-11
Special thanks to John Kirwin for giving of his time to create a photographic record of a truly magical night. Liam owes you a few pints (so you may join the queue!!!!!)
Also, a HUGE thank you to the 2004 minors who assisted in making our limited training sessions competitive and were there to act as cover on the night. Oisin, Leon, Barry & Ciaran I look forward to watching you in this year’s Minor Championship, ye are a serious talent.
And finally, Sean Dolan & Tony Shields – ye adopted this team many years ago and your many forms of support have been greatly appreciated, fair play.
The 2020 Minor Championship Winning Team:
Eoin Donne, Luke Mulligan-Lynch, Joe Maguire, Eoghan Gannon, Hugh O’Sullivan, Harry Donaghy, Alex Gavin, Harry Colclough, Michael McDonald, Eoin Behan, Ryan O’Dwyer (1-4 (3xF)), Daragh Kenny (0-1), David Keogh, Luke Byrne (2-4 (1xPen 3xF)), David Keane (1-1), Daire Sweeney (0-2 (1xF)), Conall McGlynn. Richard O’ Halloran, Cian Hassett, Kevin Hickey, David Monahan, Evan Welsh, Daniel Lynch, Oisin Byrne, Leon Kennedy, Ciaran Duggan, Barry McGuire