What a weekend for the U14C football team! Glorious weather, a super Saturday and so near in the final on Sunday. 19 fit footballers (we cruelly lost Tom McGrenery due to concussion protocols) made the trip to 12th Lock, Lucan, to do battle in Division 8. Due to the division being 10 teams, we had 4 group matches. Our numbers meant there was plenty of work for all the squad, with all seeing significant game time in all matches.

Match 1 – v Lucan Sarsfields B

Playing the hosts first up always meant the first job was to quieten the noisy home support. Lucan put it up to us in the opening exchanges, but gradually we settled into rhythm. A constant feature of the team was strong running from midfield with Eoghan Walsh and Ollie Brophy doing the necessary this time. Our 3 13s (CJ Balance, Cormac Nolan, Fionn Flanagan) all appeared at half time and made a strong contribution in forwards and backs. And we also saw a wonderful rare event, our full-back and best man marker Oran Kelly popped up with a sublime point from 40 metres.

FT BBSE 2-9 Lucan 0-1 (Goals Eoghan, Fionn)

Match 2 – v Kilmacud Crokes C

No need for a motivational team against our rival from Glenalbyn, and they had also won their first game well. Both teams, in the heat, locked horns in a game which would turn out to have an exciting finish. Boden were on top for long periods with the half-back line dominating (Eoin MacPhaidin with some spectacular high catches, Dan Kennedy reading the game brilliantly and Louis Lovett with great energy and passing skill). The problem was not creating chances, it was putting them away. We became increasingly anxious as the clock ran down and the Crokes started to put us serious pressure. Some key contributions saw us home – a goal from a long range free kick by full forward Myles O’Sullivan, confident goalkeeping/ excellent kick outs from Tom Giblin and last gasp defending by James Cullen

FT BBSE 2-5 Crokes 1-5 (Goals Eoghan, Myles)

Match 3 – v Na Fianna C

Our third match came immediately next, with stamina as we struggled with the heat (and Na Fianna were playing their second match). This game was a about grinding a result, with full rotation being used – Jason Callaghan, Sean Wall and Alex Stewart all asked to take a shift in midfield and all did well. Whilst we probably not at our best, we managed to get in front and hold on without the coaches having too much cause for anxiety. Well done Daniel Walsh, CJ and Cormac who made important contributions.

FT BBSE 2-3 Na Fianna 0-5 (Goals Cormac, Myles)

Match 4 – v Geraldine Morans

A 3 hour break till this game, and Gers also came to the match immediately a heart-breaking 1 point defeat to Na Fianna, effectively eliminating them from the competition. We really went for it from the start and our forwards worked together as a strong unit – Matthew Gray, Paul O’Grady made significant contributions, as did Mark McSharry who worked tirelessly throughout the tournament, running strongly with the ball. The game was won by half-time, in fairness, Moran’s kept work and the second half was level.

FT BBSE 5-13 Gers 2-4 (Eoghan, Paul, Miles (2), Fionn)

Final – Trinity Gaels (Blakestown Road)

Looking back it’s hard not to feel what might have been, when you are up by 7 with 15 minutes to go. The truth is that the players gave everything, Trinity Gaels (who had a points difference in their Division over +100) finished strongly and the efforts of the previous day meant our small squad didn’t have the energy to respond.

But what a final:

-great Boden support from the Blakestown grandstand;

-a fast start with Trinity under severe pressure. 1-3 did not flatter us at half-time and we also hit the post twice and the bar once;

-more of the same in the first 5 minutes of the second half with Trinity penned in and us going for the jugular;

-Trinity’s larger squad, a tactical change where they started to press us, and a dip in our energy meant the momentum started to turn;

-heroic goalkeeping, defending, and still the occasional dangerous foray meant the game could have gone either way, but in the end we came up just short.

HT BBSE 1-3 TG 0-1 (Goal Paul)

FT BBSE 1-6 TG 1-8

Mentors: Mark McGrenery, Pearse O’Sullivan and Peter Gray

Team: Alex Stewart, CJ Balance, Cormac Nolan, Dan Kennedy, Daniel Walsh, Eoghan Walsh, Eoin MacPhaidin (*), Fionn Flanagan, James Cullen, Jason Callaghan, Louis Lovett (vice-captain), Mark McSharry, Matthew Gray, Myles O’Sullivan, Ollie Brophy, Oran Kelly, Paul O’Grady, Sean Wall (captain), Tim Giblin, Tom McGrenery

*player of the tournament as voted by his peers.

We would like to thank Lucan Sarsfields for their hospitality on Saturday, and Peregrines for having Blakestown Road looking so well. A big thank you to the Ballyboden Feile committee, to all the parents who gave great support, and noting Daire MacP (comms), Charlie K (pictures) and Peter C (scoring)). And another big thank you to physio Niamh McMahon, who kept the lads going to their limits. And most of all thank you to all to our players. You’re a wonderful group, your mentors are proud of you and you should be very proud of your achievements.

Boden Abu! For more photos, see here