Ballyboden St. Enda’s 3-11   Kilmacud Crokes 4-12

Our lives are regimented by time; we set alarms, we meet deadlines and we measure how long it takes to do something. Our lives are busy and we’re always looking for more time; sometimes 24/7 isn’t enough. To make up for our lack of time we only partially complete tasks or complete them to a standard that we are not happy with.
This year on the football field it’s been a tale of the two types of time; not enough time to prepare as fully as one would like. Normally at this stage in the championship a team would have played three or four league games and probably a similar number of challenge matches. Plenty of time to figure out how to play, who to play and where to play them. Plenty of time to physically prepare, to hone the skills and develop a team spirit that would galvanise the group for the long season ahead.
This year we started in early January with great commitment, plans were laid for a serious assault on the season, challenge matches were had and even one league game successfully negotiated.
But then BANG. Everything stopped. Players stood down. Look after yourselves lads was all we could say.  As the days turned into weeks prospects of a return to play were diminishing. Lads kept in touch and the occasional “I saw so and so running in the park” comment whistled through the grapevine. “Yer man’s in good shape” was whispered quietly because we all believed he was wasting his time – there’d be nothing this year. Walking by the club we were like hungry goats looking at the lush green pasture, maybe that’s all it was going to be fit for – grazing.
But then rumours, the good Doctor was plotting a route out of our sporting exile. You can have your golf but get me back on a football pitch. And sure enough at the end of June, after time had effectively stood still for almost four months, we re-entered our field of dreams with sterilised balls, hand wipes and a little social distancing. Some of us had lost friends and relatives to this insidious  curse but as with life time rolls on and we have to get on with it.
From the re-start time has moved apace. Straight into championship. This is going to be crazy, a rollercoaster, a whirlwind of activity. Training, training, challenge, training, challenge, training, pulled muscle, sore back, broken toe, suspected cruciate confirmed
We are back.
And so to the big day in Sancta Maria. From the late afternoon calm and pre-match torrential downpour time started to gather pace. Following the throw-in the game becomes a blur. God, it’s fast! We haven’t trained like this. Scores raining in at both ends of the field. This was end to end and tough. More injuries – bee baw bee baw. It’s half time and things are going well. Whistle, re-start, more scores. Looking good. Cracking goal. Another bee baw – poor lad. If we could blow it up now we’d be grand.
There’s too much time left and no subs. Ah no, no, no. Down to 14, on the back foot and time is our enemy.
Final whistle. Lost.
Panel: Jake Turley, Fionn Maguire, Karl Reddy, Owen Lennon (35′ Fergal Haran), Keith Sweeney, Paddy Dunleavy, John Murphy, Conor Lowe (40′ Mark Walsh), Daragh Kilduff, Colly Dunne, Barra McGarry, Seamus Keane (45′ Ruairi Kirwan), John McGinn (45′ Lewis Cawley), Evan Flanagan, Mikey Dunne (5′ Mal Codd).
Not used: Stephen McGrath, Eoghan Monahan, Cian Bates, Scott Cullen, Ciaran Archbold, Luke O’Donoghue, Tommy Burke, Oisin Carolan, David Leach, Conor Hanrahan, Enda Cashman, Sam Lally, Dylan Walsh, John McGuire (inj), Jack Lambert (inj), Ronan Cleary (inj).
Mentors: Donal Monahan, Wally Durkin, Daire Walsh, Martin Murphy & Covid Mick (Maher)
Fógra: thanks to Maguire security services for manning the gate (Ciaran and Ger).
Fógra eile: thanks to Liam for the photos