Result: 4-06 to 1-09

Shane O’Brien reports:

Goals were key as Ballyboden’s senior footballers kept their championship hopes alive with a six-point win over Raheny in Parnell Park on Thursday evening.

A seven-point loss to Kilmacud Crokes in the opening round, coupled with Raheny’s opening round win over Oliver Plunkett’s meant that anything other than a victory would likely see Boden exit the Dublin Championship at the round robin stage. However, goals from Darren O’Reilly, Ryan Basquel, Alan Flood and Colm Basquel paved the way to a victory of relative comfort. O’Reilly’s 14th minute goal gave Boden a lead they would never relinquish and despite the concession of a goal on the stroke of half time and despite Michael Darragh Macauley’s second half sending off, that lead never came under any real threat.

Ryan Basquel got Boden off to the perfect start when he curled over a left footed effort following a strong run from Macauley. The pattern of the game became apparent early on, with Raheny funnelling men back and often leaving a solitary forward inside the Boden half. Boden, however, failed to capitalise on the possession and space afforded to them and kicked numerous wides in the opening ten minutes. Raheny got off the mark with one of their first forays into Boden territory when Cian Ivors landed a 45, and when centre back Sean McMahon fisted a point moments later, many were left scratching their heads as to how Boden found themselves behind. Raheny’s lead would not last long and another surging run from Macauley resulted in wing-forward Darren O’Reilly palming to the net from a rather awkward position. In the opening round of the championship, the concession of two goals in two minutes cost Boden dearly, but Ryan Basquel ensured they were the beneficiaries of a two-goal sucker punch when he hammered the ball into the net moments later. A quick free from Colm Basquel found its way to his brother Ryan and he did the rest, taking on his man before firing a low finish beyond Raheny ‘keeper Ryan Bradshaw.

Raheny responded with another free from Ivors to keep them in touch, and the sides would twice trade points in the ensuing moments with Cathal Flaherty and James Madden notching Boden’s scores to keep the lead at four points. With two minutes remaining in the half, Alan Flood grabbed Boden’s third goal of the day, thumping the ball high into the roof of the net following a flowing move that started with a Conor Dooley kick-out. Flood’s goal stretched the lead to seven, and with half time on the horizon Boden seemed to be building an unassailable lead. However, an Eoin Keogh point cut the lead to six and when Raheny corner forward Aran Kelly seized on a defensive mix up to flick the ball over Conor Dooley and into the net, a score separated the sides as referee David O’Connor brought an end to the first half.

A strong start to the second half was required to quash any hopes of a Raheny comeback, and James Madden’s point inside two minutes of the restart gave Boden exactly that. Alan Flood’s movement was a thorn in Raheny’s side throughout and he found the space to curl over his first point of the afternoon and extend Boden’s lead. He might have had his second goal of the game seconds later after his clever flick hit the post, but Colm Basquel was on hand to fire home the rebound from close range. Macauley was once again pivotal in the build up to Boden’s fourth goal, with his marauding run creating the chance for Flood. Boden, however, would only score once in the remaining 25 minutes as Raheny launched something of an onslaught and the majority of the second half was played in Boden territory. Raheny, boasting Dublin stars Brian Fenton and Brian Howard, were inefficient in front of goal and kicked six wides in the remaining 20 minutes that ensured Boden’s lead never came under threat. The Northsiders only kicked three points in the second half and squandered the numerous goal chances that they created in the dying moments, including a triple-chance for corner forward Simon Duignan, with Conor Dooley and Cathal Flaherty combining to keep his efforts out. Even when Michael Darragh Macauley was sent off on 55 minutes, Raheny proved to be wasteful in front of goal which allowed Boden to close out the game and secure a crucial win with relative ease.

Boden now move level on points with Raheny in Group 1 of the Dublin SFC. Kilmacud Crokes’ victory over Oliver Plunkett’s on the same evening sees them top of the group with four points, while Plunkett’s are all but out with no points from two games.

Plunkett’s represent Boden’s next task and, barring a Raheny victory over Crokes, a win will guarantee them a place in the last eight of the Dublin Championship for the first time since 2015. The difference in mood between the Crokes defeat and the Raheny victory was palpable and there is real cause for optimism that Boden can get the victory required to progress through the group stages.

The Dublin Championship will now be put on hold until the Dublin footballers exit the All Ireland Championship, so it is unlikely that Boden will meet Plunkett’s before September.

Pics by John Kirwan, see more HERE