Sunday 25 February 2018

Ballyboden snatch victory from the jaws of defeat to deny gallant Clonmel Commercials

Ballyboden St Enda’s 0-15 Clonmel Commercials 0-10 (after extra-time)

Ballyboden St Enda's players celebrate the victory. AIB GAA Football Senior Club Championship, Semi-Final, Ballyboden St Enda's v Clonmel Commercials. O'Moore Park, Portlaoise, Co. Laois. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE
Ballyboden St Enda's players celebrate the victory. AIB GAA Football Senior Club Championship, Semi-Final, Ballyboden St Enda's v Clonmel Commercials. O'Moore Park, Portlaoise, Co. Laois. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE

Dermot Crowe at Portlaoise

Ballyboden have made a habit of recovering from bleak situations and they needed all of their wits to survive this.

In the closing stages of ordinary time they trailed a spirited Clonmel by three points with scores notoriously scarce and their midfielder, Declan O’Mahony red-carded for a dangerous neck-high tackle on Jason Lonergan.

They managed to find the safety net of extra-time, somehow, the levelling score raising an ear-splitting cheer from their followers, when Darragh Nelson raced up the field and kicked a fine effort into the night sky.

This marked new territory for both clubs, but Clonmel had created one of the more romantic storylines. Their shock win over Nemo Rangers remains one of the competition’s highlight and will be a favourite moment when the years are being reeled in for decades to come. They looked on course for more fairytale here until Boden’s late surge yielded scores from Basquel, Andrew Kerin and Nelson in added time and landed a huge psychological blow in the Dubliners’ favour.

They have to be admired for going to the end, even overcoming an incredible miss from Conal Keaney when his 20m free from the hand fell short near the end of he first hour, when they were gasping for air. Clonmel, spirited throughout, dogged, and producing some exceptional scores, were ahead 0-5 to 0-4 at the interval and looked set for a place in the final when they held a goal advantage nearing the end of the hour. 

Once in extra-time Boden made the most of their opportunity and held Clonmel scoreless, kicking five points to steam clear. Clonmel’s cause took a further hammering with a black card dismissal for their greatest attacking weapon, Michael Quinlivan soon into the extra-time period.

Kerin, pinpoint for most of the evening, kicked two frees, Ryan Basquel had one from play and Keaney added two more for an exhaustive victory.

Clonmel began the match two inside forwards, Quinlivan and Ian Barnes with Kevin Harney given a roaming role, which he embellished with a good score in the opening half hour. They opened brightly, Quinivan taking on Stephen Hiney in an early run, but their finishing lacked the polish needed. Three early wides betrayed a hint of anxiety.

That was the pattern for much of the first half; Clonmel full of spirit and game but Boden scoring more economically and leading for much of it. Colm Basquel won a free in the seventh minute which Andrew Kerin converted for the opening score. Great work by Clonmel midfielder Aldo Matassa led to a free from which Barnes stabbed over the equaliser four minutes later. That was bettered two minutes later when Jack Kennedy scored a lovely point, curling the ball inside the near post, Kerin levelled at the quarter hit mark with a fine shot when Clonmel stood off him.

An excellent diagonal ball from Robbie McDaid set up Sam Molony for a good score and Boden led by two, but Clonmel hit the last three scores of the first half to lead 0-5 to 0-4 at half time. Keaney, a relatively quiet presence until then, brought the teams level early in the second half with a free but they were finding scores increasingly hard to come by. Daniel Davey was called ashore early in the half after kicking his fourth wide, the management losing its patience.

Back stormed Clonmel, with Barnes kicking a beautiful score from play and then Quinlivan firing over a free to lead by two points nearing the end of the third quarter. When Jack Kennedy landed a spectacular point, after great work by Ian Fahey, three points divided them for the first time with 15 minutes left.

O’Mahony’s red card had Boden in crisis but they never quit and once in extra-time, back to 15 players, they looked liberated.


Scorers: Ballyboden - A Kerin 0-7 (0-4 fs), C Keaney 0-4 (0-3 fs), S Molony, C Basquel, D Nelson, R Basquel 0-1. Clonmel - I Barnes 0-3 (0-2 fs), M Quinlivan 0-2 (0-1 f); J Kennedy 0-2, K Harney, J Lonergan 0-1.


Ballyboden: P Durcan; B Dwan, S Hiney, S Clayton; R McDaid, D Nelson, A Waters; MD Macauley, D O’Mahoney; D Davey, C Basquel, D O’Reilly; C Keaney, S Molony, A Kerin.


Subs: R Basquel for Davey (33  mins); S O’Connor for O’Reilly (34); S Gibbons for Molony (55); D MCabe for Gibbons (70); S Lambert for Molony (77).


Clonmel: J McDonald; F Condon, J Peters, D Lynch; D Madigan, K Fahey, L Moore; S Kennedy, J Kennedy; A Matassa, J Lonergan, I Fahey; I Barnes, M Quinivan, K Harney.


Subs: P White for Madigan (48 mins); P Looram for Barnes (55); S Taylor for Condon (black card 62); N Kelly for Qunlivan (black card, 62); S Flynn for Looran (71); Harney (replaced on black card, 80)

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