Ballyboden St Endas 2-09 Portlaoise 1-11
Congratulations to local GAA side Ballyboden St Enda’s who claimed the club’s first ever Leinster senior club football title yesterday afternoon after an epic final against Portlaoise.
O’Connor Park Tullamore was the venue as Boden became the eighth Dublin team in 11 years to be crowned provincial champions in front of a crowd of 3,663. The winning margin in the end was only a point and Boden can count themselves lucky to have just done enough to get over the line.
The Laois champions had two gild edged opportunities that most half decent under 14 players would have scored to take the game into extra-time in the dying minutes but they shanked both of them. Paul Cahillane’s miss from a free right in front of the posts in injury time has to be seen to be believed and even he himself probably doesn’t know how he failed to put the ball between the posts.
This was Portlaoise’s third Leinster defeat in four years and probably the hardest of the losses to take considering on the second half performance yesterday they should have won.
Boden made a great start to the match scoring two goals in the opening half. The first came after six minutes when Andrew Kerin hit a scruffy toe poke that the Portlaoise keeper Brody should have probably saved. Michael Darragh Macauley added the other on the stroke of half time just seconds after Paul Cahillane had scored a goal for the Laoismen.
The Dublin champs had led by four points after 10 minutes but then the pendulum swung towards Portlaoise with former county captain Brian McCormack taking the game by the scruff of the neck and hitting four points without reply to draw the teams level in the 22nd minute.
Donegal goalkeeper Paul Durcan only arrived in Ireland from Doha, Qatar (where he’s now based) after an eight hour flight on Friday. It was the third time in the last few months he’d made the massive round trip for a Boden game and his club must be delighted he had as he made two excellent saves in the second half yesterday to deny Brian McCormack and Brian Glynn what looked like certain goals.
Boden had got off to a great start in the second half going two points ahead in the opening exchanges but three unanswered points restored Portlaoise’s lead.
Ballyboden levelled the match through Kerin with six minutes to go and the same player should have scored a goal when he ballooned over the bar. Both teams scored points and it looked like the game was heading for extra-time until substitute Aran Waters kicked a dramatic, and historic, late winning point for Boden.
There was still time for Portlaoise to miss two unbelievably easy frees as Boden held on to win one of the most entertaining and exciting provincial finals in years. Next up for the local lads is a semi final with either Tipperary’s Clonal Commercials or London’s Tir Chonaill Gaels February.
Scorers for Ballyboden St Enda’s: A Kerin (1-2); C Keaney (0-4 frees); MD Macauley (1-0); C Basquel, S Maloney, A Waters (0-1 each).
Scorers for Portlaoise: P Cahillane (1-2, 0-2 frees); B McCormack and B Smyth (0-2 each); C Rogers (0-2, 0-1 free); E Whelan, C Healy and B Glynn, (all 0-1).
Ballyboden St Enda’s: P Durcan; B Dwane, S Hiney, S Clayton; S O’Connor, D Nelson, R McDaid; MD Macauley, D O’Mahony; D O’Reilly, C Basquel, D Davey; S Moloney, C Keaney, A Kerin. Subs: S Gibbons for Davey (34); A Waters for O’Reilly (42); S Durkin for O’Connor (47); D McCabe for O’Mahony (63).
Portlaoise: G Brody; J Delaney, C Healy, D Seale; E Whelan, K Lillis, B Mulligan; D Cullen, C Boyle; G Dillon, C Rogers, B Glynn; B McCormack, P Cahillane, B Smyth. Subs: C Dunphy for Cullen (12); R Maher for Dillon (52).