Boden's Michael Darragh MacAuley and Michael McDonald challenge for a ball during Saturday's game against Cuala. Credit: John Kirwan

Senior football championship v Cuala, O’Toole Park, 6 August 2022

Ballyboden St Endas 0 – 16

Cuala 1 – 13

By Paddy Walsh

This first round of the championship was never going to be easy. And so, it proved. Both teams had injury problems, but these had to be set aside. Boden had three players making their championship debuts, Evan Nugent, Alex Gavin and Michael McDonald and three more made their debuts from the subs bench.

Cuala, playing against the hill, were first on the scoreboard with a point after three minutes. Colm Basquel replied with a fisted point. With just 7 minutes gone, Cuala scored a goal that gave them a cushion for most of the match. Darren O’Reilly got a point back after a pass from Colm Basquel. Cuala added two points, but Ross McGarry replied with a fisted point. Cuala, once again, added two points but Luke O’Donoghue kept Boden in touch with another point. Another two points by Cuala put Boden six points in arrears with 22 minutes gone. Then, from a situation where nothing seemed to be going right, things just clicked into place and the next six points were scored by Boden with no reply from Cuala. First up was Colm Basquel with a well-taken point followed by Warren Egan. The supporters were now beginning to hope that the halftime score might be more respectable with three minutes of normal time remaining. Then, in the next four minutes, Michael Darragh Macauley, Luke O’Donoghue, Ryan Basquel and Warren Egan brought loud cheers from the Boden supporters as the sides were level as the halftime whistle sounded: 0 – 10 to 1 – 7. 

Boden’s hopes were high as the second half started but the first four scores were put on the board by Cuala and again Boden were in trouble with just 11 minutes gone. Ryan Basquel (free) and Ross McGarry kept Boden’s hopes alive, with 20 minutes gone. Cuala pointed again but Ryan Basquel cancelled this out with a free. Darragh Gogan made a great save to prevent a certain goal and Boden survived for another while. When Cuala put three points between the sides again with just two minutes remaining, the Boden supporters must have been thinking that defeat was inevitable. But cometh the hour, cometh the man. A free in front of the goal was awarded to Boden. With added time now being played, Ryan Basquel decided to pop the ball over the bar, having been informed by the referee that there were two minutes remaining. Was that the right decision? A minute later, Ryan pops over a point from play. Time must surely be up!!! But there is another play. The ball arrives to Alex Gavin, making his senior championship debut, and from a difficult angle, he fires over from distance to bring the sides level, against all the odds. The ball is kicked out, it goes over the line, and the final whistle blows. Boden have achieved a share of the spoils that looked most unlikely a few minutes earlier.

Next up is Ballymun Kickhams who had a one-point victory over Clontarf in their game on Friday evening.

TEAM: Darragh Gogan; Evan Nugent; Bob Dwan; Cathal Flaherty; James Holland; Alex Gavin; Harry Donaghy; Michael Darragh Macauley; Michael McDonald; Luke O’Donaghue; Warren Egan; Colm Basquel; Ryan Basquel; Darren O’Reilly; Ross McGarry. SUBS USED: Eoin Behan; Alan Flood; Ryan O’Dwyer; Ryan Baynes.

Thanks to John Kirwan for the photos. For more, click here.