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Fianna's avengers


Na Fianna produced a dominant second-half performance to deservedly account for Ballyboden St Enda's by six points in their Dublin Under 16 'A' Football championship final at Parnell Park on Saturday.

The result offered a degree of revenge for the Glasnevin club following their defeat at the hands of 'Boden in last year's decider and their six-point winning margin accurately reflected their supremacy over the hour. However, the eventual outcome may have differed but for a superb penalty save by Jonathan Treacy in the first half which was a telling turning point given Ballyboden's impressive opening.

Although Glenn O'Reilly started the scoring for Na Fianna with a third-minute free, they initially struggled against a well-organised St Enda's defence in which the classy Shane Clayton shone like a beacon throughout from centre-back.

To Clayton's right, Brian Bobbett bobbed and weaved to telling effect as 'Boden levelled matters in the fourth minute through a cracking point from wing-forward Mark Dolan.

It was one-way traffic towards the church end from that point with classy full-forward Warren Egan fetching superbly before clipping a point in off the right-hand upright to hand his side a deserved lead in the ninth minute.

Two frees ensued from Adam Carney to increase that advantage before Dara Langan raced clear down the right flank to feed Colm Basquel who converted at the second opportunity despite the best efforts of Treacy for the game's opening goal at the end of the first quarter.

Although O'Reilly tagged on a point in the 18th minute for Na Fianna, their ambitions seemed deflated when Carney was bundled down by Kevin McDonnell within a minute but Treacy pushed Egan's powerful penalty onto the crossbar and away to safety.

Although Egan made partial amends with another cracking score a minute later, Na Fianna found their stride with Aaron Byrne's electrifying run down the middle getting the finish it deserved from Dara Gray's left boot for a sublime goal.

Crucially, the Mobhi Road lads kept tabs on their opponents for the remainder of the half and Alasdar Fitzgerald's 27th-minute point ensured they trailed by just 1-5 to 1-3 at the interval.

Backed by a healthy breeze, Na Fianna drew level within two minutes of the restart through scores by O'Reilly and Fitzgerald and although Carney replied with a 40th minute free, the balance of play was drifting towards the Glasnevin side.

Shane Barrett and Eoghan McHugh gradually began to dominate around the middle third and a point apiece from the aforementioned duo, in addition to Byrne's first score of the day allowed Na Fianna to build a lead.

Three consecutive frees by Gray, Paul O'Dea and O'Reilly increased that margin and another sumptuous score by McHugh in the 56th minute all but secured their victory.

Half-back Eoin Murchan joined the party as 'Boden's brave defensive effort inevitably wilted in the evening sunshine with a late riposte from substitute Kevin Lynch was of scant consolation to the holders.