Craobh Chiaráin 0 20 BBSE 0 09

Report by Ditch Jockey

Say it ain’t so, Naoise, say it ain’t so.

Say that the echo of the scoreboard around O’Toole Park on Saturday wasn’t the death knell sounding of another failed Championship campaign for a Ballyboden Senior B team. Same old, same old, and I’m not interested. Tell me, instead, that the final shrill of Seán Stack’s whistle represented the last big band note of a season that needs to be celebrated for all it achieved and not be clichéd for coming up short. Tell me that and I’m all ears.

So don’t tell me about the match.

Don’t tell me about facing the wind and the hill and the fast start that Ciaran’s got that raced them into a 5 point lead you would never claw back.

Don’t tell me about the fluidity of their play, or their pace, or their physicality or their touch that seemed sharper than yours no matter what you tried to do to match them.

Don’t tell me about Cian Derwin, the Ciaran’s wing forward who hit seven of their ten-point tally in the first half, or that he finished with eleven points at the end, all but four of those from play.

Don’t tell me of your obsession with hitting the ball long into the wind with only Fergal Ryan inside and surrounded by 3 defenders, when running the ball might have been a better way to go.

Don’t tell me that it took 14 minutes for Fergal to register your first score from a free, and 29 minutes before James Roche and Cillian Kirwan got you one each from play.

Don’t tell me about the square ball that was, after the goal that was given, then it wasn’t, and you were seven points down at the break instead of four.

Don’t tell me how the wind died in the second half.

Don’t tell me about the hope we were given and how giddy we felt when Leon Kennedy triggered a scoring spree with two points in 5 minutes, straddling a Ryan free, then Doc O’Connor and Kirwan finishing the flush, and by the 52nd minute you were within four points for the first time since the 10th minute.

Don’t tell me how you were outscored 8 points to 1 point from then on, to finish the match with 9 points to Ciaran’s haul of 20 points.

Don’t tell me about those things because they don’t matter to me.

Instead, tell me about the 16 games you played this season, losing just two and drawing just one. Tell me that in nine of those games you scored between 24 and 31 points, averaging 23 points per match in league and championship and conceding a mean 18 points per game for the year.

Tell me all about the promotion, and that Ballyboden will have two teams hurling in League Division 1 next season.

Tell me about the players, and how having a settled group for the league made all the difference, and how the architecture that blended youth and experience meant that development could prosper.

And tell me how many Kennedys are in the squad, and which ones are related.

Tell me about the performances that stood out every week. Tell me about Fergal’s 10 frees against Judes, and Rochey’s 2-09 against Finbarrs. Tell me about Eoghan O’Neill’s high catches and Matty’s lower down ones. Tell me about the work rate of Doc, the tackling of Davy, the bravery of Cian and the versatility of Fionn. Tell me of the magical points by Jono and Cillian and the hurling guile of Mark Lambert.

Tell me about James Ryan, and Joe McGrath and Wiggy and who taught them how to defend.

Tell me about Barry McGuire, and who taught him how to shoot.

Tell me about the dedication of Brick, and of Daniel and Mal.

Tell me the beauty of a scoring half-back, and how Keith and Peter broke hearts from 80 yards most weeks.

Tell me about the reliability of Dean, the thickness of his chest and his cheekiness to score points from neighbouring eircodes.

Tell me about the 15 minutes of perfection when we watched Darragh Kenny destroy Kilmacud, and about Sean O’Donnell’s self-sacrifice to play in goal for the campaign.

Tell me about the spirit, and the pints and the slagging and the joy.

And tell me about Simon and you, and John and Alex and Ciaran and Ger, and the effort and the hours it took to cultivate what you did.

Tell me all of this, and I’ll tell you a truth.

These are the good old days. Just you wait and see.

Ballyboden St. Enda’s: Sean O’Donnell, James Ryan, Dean Curran, Barry McGuire, Kenneth Wigglesworth, Keith McCarron, Peter English, Dave O’Connor (0-01), Cillian Kirwan, Eoghan O’Neill, Jono O’Driscoll , Cillian Kirwan (0-03), James Roche (0-1), Fergal Ryan (0-02f)), Matty Weldon, Conor Kennedy, Cillian Wall, Cian Mellett, David Keogh, Naoise Maguire, Daniel Glynn, Mark Lambert, Leon Kennedy (0-02), Shane Kennedy, Mal Codd, Jim Kennedy