They came, they saw and they did the club proud.
The Downs was celebrating their 125 year anniversary and Ballyboden had the honour of representing Dublin in The Pat Walsh Memorial U10 Boys Football Tournament in The Downs GAA in Mullingar on 23rd September.

The ethos of the tournament was a “focus on players playing football, enjoying and expressing themselves in a sporting manner” with each team guaranteed to play in a final for four different trophies.

Our boys took to the field for their first game in near perfect conditions against local Westmeath side Killucan and with the aid of reasonable breeze in the first half they quickly established a lead that they never surrendered. It was a great start for Boden with the high work rate and tackling of the Boden boys commended by the Killucan coaches.

Next up for Boden was another local side Mullingar Shamrocks who had shaded their first game. Once again the level of intensity and fair tackling that Boden brought made it difficult for Shamrocks to get into their stride. Boden soon had the umpires busy and an evenly contested second half had Boden over the line.

Offaly team Edenderry was the opposition for our last group game. With both teams having done well in their opening two games it was clear from the off that our boys were in a very tough game. Edenderry quickly took an early lead and it was clear they could match our boys in the physical exchanges. Taking a leaf out of the Dublin senior team our boys settled down to play football and slowly worked their way into the game with some fine kick passing and hand passing, always looking for the boy in the best position to take the score. Slowly Boden built a lead. Edenderry began to kick long to get back into the game and our defence held strong. When the whistle went at the end of the second 12 minute half Boden led.

And so after 3 fantastic group games Boden went into the Pat Walsh Memorial Cup final against the hosts, The Downs GAA.

The Downs bounced out of the dressing room with less than 2 minutes to throw in and looked seriously up for it. Sporting the black and amber of Kilkenny the team looked formidable and had a few inches to spare in many of the match ups. The siren blew and it was game was on. Boden flew into the early exchanges with abandon and the Downs responded in kind. Boden had an incredible 12 blocks in the first half and the courage of the lads to dive onto the boot was simply great to see. Though the Downs carved out a good few early chances the pressure put on by our boys ensured the umpires hands stayed down. At the other end Boden took their chances and built up a good lead. The local crowd cheered on the local boys and to their great credit they rallied, showing some great fielding and long kicking. A highly entertaining and sporting final. The story. Boden took more chances and smothered the Downs in front of the sticks.

The cup was presented to the Boden Boys by Delia Walsh, Pat Walsh’s wife. Pat was great servant to The Downs having held the position of Chairman. It was honour for us to have Delia present the cup. After the presentations the boys from all 8 clubs shared water, sandwiches, pizza’s and chips in the clubhouse, all laid on by the Downs, and the coaches shared a cup of tea and a chat.

Well done to all who represented our U10’s and our club so well on Sunday. Their sporting behaviour was exemplary and all the coaches are proud of you all.

Thanks to all the coaches who supported on the day. Thanks to Des O’ Dohonue, Mark Dunne, Andrew Minch, Des Keogh and Dan Culleton and Richie Connell.
Thanks to the parents who travelled on the day for their support.
A very special thank you to The Downs GAA for the invitation to their tournament and to all of organisers for their hard work. A wonderful success!

Boden Abu!
Many thanks to Naomi Bartley for the photos. For more, see here