Result: 1-05 to 0-07

U21 Football Champions!

After a prolonged campaign the U21 Football Championship finally came to a conclusion in Chanel College on Saturday 7th Feb. Never is a Championship easily won and so it was the case here with two fiercely combatative teams Ballyboden and Raheny vying for glory.

The Boden lads, the younger but arguably more battle-hardened of two teams having overcome Kilmacud Crokes just two weeks earlier, were determined to start strongly this time out, and even though they conceded the first point to Raheny courtesy of a free they looked like they meant business. They set about harrying and hassling their opponents giving them no time on the ball and some great tackling provided turnover after turnover to set the team going forward. The six backs Dan Buckingham, Shane Clayton, Dan McGuinness, Brian Bobbett, Kenny Wigglesworth and Cathal Flaherty were dominant at this stage and were ably assisted by Tom Hanifin in the sweeper role. One of those turnovers lead to the only goal of the game when wing forward James Madden dispossessed Rahenys Brian Fenton in the middle of the park and, in the best move of the match, Conor Dooley passed to Colm Basquel who found Alan Flood who cooly hit the back of the Raheny net. There could have been another goal to follow but for a bizzare refereeing decision which denied Boden a stonewall penalty when Basquel was hauled down but it didn’t stop the pressure being applied and Raheny were forced into 3 substitutions before half time. Boden were winning the midfield exchanges too thanks to heroic work from Aran Waters and the returning Robbie McDaid. Further forward Sam Molony, Flood and Madden were setting the tone keeping Raheny on the back foot which set Boden on their way and further points from Dooley, Basquel, Molony and Flood meant Boden led 1-4 to 0-3 at the break.

In a low scoring second half Raheny came out all guns blazing and displaying an intensity they lacked in the first half. Just as Boden had had the better of the midfield exchanges in the first half Raheny now had momentum and were rewarded with a couple of scores to bring them within touching distance. Boden, for the first time in the match looked a little edgy and spurned a couple of good chances to put the game beyond doubt. Their only score of the half was a hand fisted point by James Madden which eventually proved crucial. Raheny pressed and pressed and got themselves to within a point as the game entered the final few minutes. Prayers were said, brows were mopped despite it being early February but thankfully the Boden defence held firm and the referee blew for full time to scenes of jubilation for the Boden players, mentors and supporters.

Never is a Championship easily won but Boden deserved this win and there were great celebrations back at their Firhouse road headquarters with their first U21 football win since 2003. Well done to a hardworking squad and group of mentors on this great achievement.

Full Squad: (as pictured)

Back L-R: Bobby O’Sullivan (Selector), Noel Madden (Manager), Michael Dunne, Stephen Moran, Aran Waters, Stephen Ward, Josh Kane, Lorcan Mullaney, Robbie McDaid, Stephen McDonald, Cathal Flaherty, Darragh Kilduff, James Madden, Shane Clayton, Kenny Wigglesworth, Dan McGuinness, Conor Deane, Mark Fee (Coach), Marty Masterson (Coach),

Front L-R: Fionn Maguire, Collie Basquel, Tom Hanifin, Ryan Gillen, Paul Doherty, Alan Flood, Brian Bobbett, Darragh Gogan, Barra McGarry, Brian O’Shea, Andy Hughes, Dan Buckingham, Alan McGrath, David Gilheaney, Conor Dooley, Sam Molony, Neil Buckingham (Selector)