Under 21 F Football Championship Final.
Vs. Kilmacud Crokes
Venue: Sancta Maria.
Result: Ballyboden St. Endas 3.05 Kilmacud Crokes 2.06
Report By Liam Carter
The Prunty pitch in Sancta Maria was the venue for the championship final on a cool but dry and calm night on Wednesday with conditions perfect for football on the immaculately prepared pitch. A very large crowd gathered to watch the final match of the year with nine of the Ballyboden squad hoping to add to their medal haul following the memorable victory over Raheny in the Under 21 hurling final a few days earlier.
Early exchanges were cagey as in most finals but in the first home attack into the Templeroan end, a good passing move featuring Kevin Kirwan and Edward Phelan resulted in a great finish by Enda Cashman to raise the first green flag of the evening. This was quickly followed by a pointed free by Enda following a foul on Cian Durkin.
Kilmacud began to win more possession which resulted in a pointed free to narrow the gap.
Excellent defensive work led by Joey Donohue and Ollie Brophy greatly limited the scoring opportunities for the visitors while David Monahan and Micheál Manning in the two wing-back positions were covering every blade of grass in getting forward at every opportunity with Oisín King working hard at wing forward to secure possession.
Halfway through the first half, Kilmacud scored a goal following a rather fortunate deflection off one of the home defenders which brought the scores level.
A well-taken point from the left foot of Eoghan Deignan edged Ballyboden in front as the intense midfield battle continued with Richie O’Halloran and Jack Hutchinson working hard to ensure possession.
The final five minutes of the first half were to prove vital to the final outcome of the game.
Luke Mulligan Lynch, on one of his many runs forward, finished superbly to the net giving the Kilmacud goalkeeper no chance to save.
This was quickly followed by a great ball in to Cian at full forward who finished to the net despite being fouled by a combination of the full back and the goalkeeper to stretch the lead.
This was followed by a pointed free to the visitors which was immediately countered by a point from play by Cian to leave the halftime score at 3.03 to 1.02.
The home management team emphasised that the great effort of the first half would have to be maintained for the remaining 30 minutes with an expected fightback from Kilmacud with the title at stake.
Conor Barnes was introduced at this stage and he brought renewed energy around the middle in the early stages of the second half.
An early point by the visitors was countered by a well-taken free from Enda as Kilmacud began to increase the pressure. Great defensive work led by Sean O’Donnell and Joey limited the chances but three well points from play narrowed the gap
Paddy Dunleavy was introduced from the bench, marking a welcome return from injury with Fergal Ryan bringing further fresh energy as the continued incredible effort brought the inevitable tired legs.
A well-worked move resulted in a goal for Kilmacud on as the excitement grew among the crowd with the lead narrowed to two points. Eoin Donne then made two superb ‘Save of the Season’ contenders which gave a huge lift to the team with both resulting in fruitless 45s.
Cian Maher and Davy Keogh, both returning from injury, were now introduced as the home management and squad tried to give maximum encouragement to the team.
Another point from play narrowed the gap to the minimum as the final entered injury time.
Clever use of possession by the team resulted in Davy forcing the defender into a rash challenge which resulted in an excellently converted free by Enda from a difficult angle.
Another attack resulted in a Boden point attempt being waved wide by the umpire despite it looking accurate.
The kick out resulted in the final whistle by referee, Ray McBride, with widespread jubilation among the vast majority of the crowd with the score 3.05 to 2.06 as the team became County champions after a hard-fought and thoroughly deserved victory against a very good Kilmacud team. Captain, Enda, accepted the cup to great scenes and gave a very gracious speech on behalf of the squad.
Thanks to our physio, Conor for his expert work with the squad both in the semi-final and the final, and to Cliona Mellett for her great photos.
To all the supporters who came out in such huge numbers on Wednesday night, the ‘Boden Roar’ meant so much to the team and was hugely appreciated. Thanks also to everyone who supported the team at all the championship matches.
Thank you to Jack Nolan, John Madden and the football committee for the constant support and encouragement throughout the campaign.
Sincere appreciation to Vivian Ruddy, Peter Hanrahan, Frank Brooks, Donal Regan and Martin Durkin for the incredible work in ensuring that the Prunty pitch was always available for training and especially for the hours of work done on Wednesday morning resulting in the ‘Croke Park’ like presentation of the pitch for the final.
Finally, to all of the players in the squad who have made such an effort since October juggling work and college commitments to make training and matches, the management team of Paul, Jim, Evan, Scott and Liam sincerely hope that this championship win further encourages you to play for Ballyboden St. Endas for many years and continue to represent our great club.
Under 21B Squad:
Eoin Donne, Ollie Brophy, Joey Donohue, Luke Mulligan Lynch, David Monahan, Sean O’Donnell, Micheál Manning, Richie O’Halloran, Jack Hutchinson, Edward Phelan, Enda Cashman, Oisín King, Kevin Kirwan, Cian Durkin, Eoghan Deignan, Conor Barnes, Kevin Hickey, Fergal Ryan, David Keogh, Peter Gannon, Daragh Cullen, Conor Cullen, Cian Maher, Eoin Duffy, Timmy Cleary, Liam Mac Pháidín, Thomas Nolan, Fiachra Madden, Cian Corcoran, Daniel Ryan, Patrick Dunleavy, Darragh Kenny, Aodhan O’Reilly, Senan Dwyer, Luke Kelly, Niall O’Donnell.