Long wait is over for Ballyboden
Ballyboden St Enda's celebrate with the trophy in O'Toole Park (Images: John Kirwan)

Long wait is over for Ballyboden

AFTER a 51-year gap, Ballyboden St Enda’s secured only their second ever Intermediate Football title in O’Toole Park on Sunday, November 6.

The Division Three outfit faced defending champions Na Fianna, who play their league football in a higher division, to emerge narrow 1-14 to 1-11 winners in a well-contested final.

The Mobhi Road side, playing into the road end, were displaying their running brand of football which saw them attack and defend in pods of eight to 10 players.

Boden opened their account from the boot of Keith Sweeney following a patient build-up, pivoting the ball horizontally to try and breach the Na Fianna cover.

Patience would be the key as both teams defended in large numbers, which was reflected in the score line of only three points each after twenty minutes.

The final 10 minutes of the half saw Na Fianna push hard, to try to take advantage of the, now gusting, wind. Four Na Fianna points were only countered by a long-converted free from Boden ‘keeper, Josh Kane which saw the northsiders only lead 0-7 to 0-4 at the break.

The Na Fianna captain dives mid-air to deny Ballyboden’s Luke Byrne

The second period saw Boden take the game to Na Fianna with scores for Rob Cullen, John Murphy, and a brace for Daire Sweeney.

Soon after following a turnover by the Boden defence, they broke quickly downfield with Colm Dunne delivering a 40-yard pinpoint pass to his brother Michael, creating a two-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Dunne floated the ball over the ‘keepers head for Malachy Codd to palm the ball into an empty net.

Ballyboden’s Malachy Codd goes on the attack

In a blistering 18 minutes of exhibition football, Boden turned a three-point deficit into a seven-point lead and it could have been a lot more only for two stunning fingertip saves by the Na Fianna net minder, from the boot of Rob Cullen and Luke Byrne with 10 minutes left.

Na Fianna to their credit never gave up and took full advantage, after Boden’s Colm Dunne was sent to the line following a second bookable offence.

The high ball into the Boden square delivered a scrappy goal and reduced the gap to just three points just as the clock ticked into added time.

The eight minutes of added time saw plenty of drama but Enda’s held out for a dramatic victory.

Ballyboden St Enda’s captain Fionn Maguire lifts the trophy

After the match Ballyboden St Enda’s chairman Donagh O’Farrell said: “They are a great group of lads that have worked incredibly hard all year and are a credit to themselves, their families and the club.

“It’s great to see Noel Callen here today, who played on the 1971 team that last won this competition, it’s a great day for the club.”

Ballyboden: Kirwan, Michael Dunne (0-3), Luke Byrne, Ciaran Duggan, Stephen McGrath, Evan Flanagan, David Leach, Keith Sweeney, David Keane, Malachy Codd (1-1), Scott Cullen, Tom Hanafin, Harry Colclough, Conor Hanrahan, Barra McGarry, David Ballyboden’s Malachy Codd goes on the attack Keogh.