Sunday 17 December 2017

Ballyboden manager hits out at GAA over O'Mahony's ban

Ballyboden's Danny O'Reilly and David Breen of Na Piarsaigh have plenty of reasons to celebrate All-Ireland glory at Croke Park (SPORTSFILE)
Ballyboden's Danny O'Reilly and David Breen of Na Piarsaigh have plenty of reasons to celebrate All-Ireland glory at Croke Park (SPORTSFILE)
Ballyboden's Danny O'Reilly and David Breen of Na Piarsaigh have plenty of reasons to celebrate All-Ireland glory at Croke Park (SPORTSFILE)

Colm Keys and Donnchadh Boyle

Manager Andy McEntee took time out from the Ballyboden St Enda's celebrations at Croke Park to express his "disappointment" with the GAA over Declan O'Mahony's suspension.

O'Mahony was red-carded in their semi-final win over Clonmel Commercials and failed to have the one-match ban overturned at hearings and appeals level before a Disputes Resolution Authority panel turned him down.

"Declan was a huge motivating factor for the team," said McEntee. "We felt that he should have been playing and we tried to make a positive out of what was very much a negative for a great servant of the club."

McEntee felt the GAA "hid behind process" during the case.

"I expected him to get off. We looked at the video evidence and we had a statement from the player that he tackled," he added.

"I'll probably get into trouble for this, but it's disappointing when you see an association like the GAA hide behind process and procedures instead of doing the right thing.


"Yet again, we turn around and see club players being treated differently than county players, and that's all I really want to say."

McEntee's future might lie elsewhere down the line but he wouldn't be drawn on that.

"There is a league game in a couple of weeks' time and this season has already started," he said.

"So unless they are unhappy with me, I will be wearing this (bainisteoir) top in a couple of weeks' time."

Overall, it was the sort of day that defies any real analysis. Both winners were on top of their game; both losers will have to carry with them heads full of regret and 'what-ifs'.

Given another shot, Cushendall and Castlebar would certainly give a better account of themselves. There's probably a part of them that would think they'd win it.

But that's of no relevance now. All-Ireland finals aren't big on second chances.

It was a day for the less celebrated. All four teams had marquee players, but Adrian Breen was the hurling final's man of the match.

Breen was dropped for Na Piarsaigh's semi-final but by last Tuesday night he had forced his way back into the team. After 34 seconds he had the ball in the net and he never looked back.

"Adrian was so disappointed to be dropped for the semi-final. In a household with three brothers playing on the team all year and then one of them doesn't start for the All-Ireland semi-final, one of the biggest games he'll have ever played, it's pretty tough," said his brother David.

"You are better off confronting those things head on. He's a mature lad and if you are dropped you are dropped for a reason and he fought his way back on to the starting team and I was delighted to see him get man of the match. He is such a talented player but doesn't always get his just rewards."

It also ended a hoodoo of sorts in Limerick. The last senior team to win a final in Croke Park was the 1973 Liam MacCarthy heroes.

Since then, nine finals have been lost at inter-county and senior club level.

If one long standing losing streak run was out to bed, Mayo football's poor run in All-Ireland finals continued. Clubs from the county have lost All-Ireland finals this year across junior, intermediate and senior.

And while one reading of that could point to the rude health of football in the county, their record in finals now reads five wins from the last 34 All-Ireland senior, U-21, minor, league and senior club finals since 1986.


Like Cushendall, theirs was a complete systems failure.

Three-quarters of the way through, they had kicked just three points. Nine first-half wides only emboldened Ballyboden, who were in a ruthless mood.

If Breen was an unlikely hero, Bob Dwan was Ballyboden's equivalent. He was detailed to pick up Richie Feeney and was dragged out the field where he ended up landing three points on a dream day for the Dublin club.

"Richie Feeney has dropped deep in all the games he's played," Ballyboden manager Andy McEntee said.

"There's nothing new about that, we weren't surprised about that. Bob is a fantastic athlete, you know. You're taking a risk when you bring him out the field. He thinks he's a forward."

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