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the great flood

Ballyboden St Enda's withstood a brave second-half comeback from Raheny to claim the Dublin 2014 Under 21 'A' Football Championship title by the narrowest of margins at Chanel College in Coolock last Saturday afternoon.

The winners looked well set for victory as they dominated the first half and they would have felt justifiably disappointed not to have enjoyed a greater lead than the four-point advantage they secured by the interval.

Boden's concerns were realised upon the restart as they struggled to gain primary possession, allowing their opponents to build up momentum that almost secured them a deserved shot at extra-time.

That Raheny failed to gain reward for their battling second-half efforts was in part down to the lack of scoring contribution from their attack, with midfielder Brian Fenton their sole player to score from play over the hour.

That statistic also reflects well on the efforts of the Ballyboden defence with Brian Bobbett, Shane Clayton and Dan McGuinness excelling in their primary duties throughout.

Of course, Raheny's forward line could well have packed a greater punch but for the absence through suspension of Gavin Ivory and his unavailability was especially noticeable as his side was unable to pierce the St Enda's defence with any regularity, despite enjoying generous amounts of possession after the break.

It seemed inevitable from the initial stages that scores would prove difficult to come by and so it proved, despite Raheny taking the lead inside two minutes following a close-in free by Eoin Gillen.

That score failed to act as a platform, however, as the St Anne's Park outfit failed to score for the ensuing 26 minutes with the Ballyboden defence exerting a stranglehold on their attacking ambitions.


In contrast, St Enda's were far more fluent in their attacking play, using Colm Basquel to secure possession and it was last year's Dublin minor who made a telling incision in the sixth minute, timing his pass to perfection to allow Alan Flood to clip a fine finish inside Joe Dowling's left-hand upright for the game's solitary goal.

That score enhanced Boden's confidence, and with their defence winning their respective individual battles, they continued to look more threatening with their lead increased following a free by Conor Dooley in the eighth minute.

However, their early control failed to show on the scoreboard as both sets of forwards struggled to make an impression and it was another 13 minutes before a score arrived, although it was well worth the wait as Sam Molony kicked a glorious point on the run for Ballyboden. Flood looked the most vibrant and direct attacker at this juncture and he was denied a second goal in the 22nd minute after a quintessentially jinking run culminated in his powerful strike being deflected over the crossbar by Dowling.

Ballyboden could count themselves unlucky not to have been handed an opportunity to extend that lead two minutes later as Basquel appeared to be bundled over close to goal after an exceptional delivery by Dooley, but referee Philip Fitzsimons remained unmoved despite their vehement protestations.

Raheny took advantage of that let-off in the closing stages of the half with Brain Fenton eventually landing their opening score from play with a cracking point in the 28th minute and despite Basquel replying at the opposite end, a late Gillen free trimmed Raheny's arrears to just 1-4 to 0-3 by the turnaround.

A James Madden score seven minutes into the second half increased Ballyboden's lead but their difficulties in gaining primary possession began to undermine their ambitions with Raheny tightening up immeasurably, thanks largely to the excellent defensive work of full-back Robert Diffley.

Slowly but surely, a contest developed with Gillen adding a brace of points before Fenton's second score of the day added momentum to Raheny's challenge.

A Gillen free in the 54th minute left Boden's lead looking decidedly shaky but the levelling point proved elusive for Colm McMahon's men as St Enda's did just enough to eke out a narrow but deserved win.

Scorers - Ballyboden St Enda's: A Flood 1-1, C Dooley (f), J Madden, C Basquel, S Molony 0-1 each. Raheny: E Gillen 0-5 (5f), B Fenton 0-2.

Ballyboden St Enda's: D Gogan; D McGuinness, S Clayton, D Buckingham; B Bobbett, K Wigglesworth, C Flaherty; R McDaid, A Waters; S Molony, C Dooley, J Madden; T Hanafin, A Flood, C Basquel. Subs: B McGarry for Madden (50), D Kilduff for Flood (59).

Raheny: J Dowling; J Keane, R Diffley, L O'Shea; B Talty, S Byrne, R Real; B Fenton, P O'Higgins; E Smyth, M Grenham, B Howard; E Gillen, M Collins, S Deignan. Subs: CJ Heapes for Collins (19), S Homan for Grenham (22), D Byrne for Smyth (30), S McMahon for O'Shea (40).

Mentors - Ballyboden St Enda's: Noel Madden, Martin Masterson, Mark Fee, Bobby O'Sullivan. Raheny: Colin McMahon, Pat Ivory, Ray McDunphy, Darragh Pelly.

Referee: Philip Fitzsimons (Liffey Gaels)

Wides: Ballyboden St Enda's: 10 (6+4) Raheny 7 (2+5)

Conditions: A dry and still afternoon.

Player of the Game: Brian Bobbett (Ballyboden St Enda's)