Friday 16 November 2018

Vincent's downed by 'Boden's early blitz

Ballyboden 2-8 St Vincent's 0-10

The Ballyboden players celebrate with the cup in the dressing room
The Ballyboden players celebrate with the cup in the dressing room
St Vincent's Gavin Burke in action against Ballyboden's Darren O'Reilly
Ballyboden's Robbie McDaid in action against Brendan Egan for St Vincent's
A dejected Shane Carty, of St Vincents, after the game
St Vincent's Michael Concarr Conal Keaney, Ballyboden St Endas, which resulted in a penalty for Ballyboden

Martin Breheny

St Vincent's came to Parnell Park seeking a third successive county title but left with a thumping Halloween headache after being totally spooked by Ballyboden's obsessive determination to shred the outsiders' tag.

And so the Dublin crown returns to the Firhouse Road for the first time since 2009 in circumstances that no-one could have anticipated.

St Vincent's, the dominant force in Dublin and Leinster over the past two years and All-Ireland winners in 2014, just couldn't cope with a Ballyboden blitz that took them 1-5 to 0-0 ahead after 14 minutes.

There was so much energy and effervescence underpinning Ballyboden's game in the opening quarter that Vincent's looked completely out of their depth, a condition rarely associated with the famed northside club.

However, on this occasion, their southside rivals were so tuned into what they were doing that there was little Vincent's could do except bunker down and hope their kingdom wasn't devastated when the storm subsided.

But irreparable had been done by the time Gavin Burke kicked their first point in the 22nd minute. They kicked seven wides in the opening 25 minutes, while Ballyboden's sole wide of the first half came just before the whistle.

Their early period of enterprise was superbly executed. Ryan and Colm Basquel kicked some excellent points, while Andy Kerin was in the opportunist's chair when a goal chance came his way in the 14th minute.

"Vincent's have a habit of burying teams in the first 20 minutes so we knew we had to get out of the blocks early," said Ballyboden manager Andy McEntee.

Vincent's had the necessary experience to remain calm through difficult times but were still facing a massive problem at the interval when they trailed by 1-7 to 0-3.

A serious situation became even more perilous three minutes into the second half when Ballyboden pounced for their second goal in a manner that typified the difference between the teams as two Dublin stars, one past, one present, combined with deadly effect.

Michael Darragh Macauley won a throw-in around midfield, spotted Conal Keaney making an angled run and punted a long-range precision pass which gave the No 14 the chance to whizz in on goal.

Keaney was hacked down in the square and Kerin expertly guided the penalty kick to the net. Keaney added a point in the 37th minute to stretch Ballyboden's lead to 10 points.

"There's no bad time for a goal but that goal (penalty) was certainly a very good time. You come out for the start of the second half and you want to tag on a few scores - we missed a few we should have got but then the penalty came and Andy is reliable when the chances arise," said McEntee.

Remarkably, Ballyboden didn't score for the final 23 minutes but had deposited so much in the scoring bank that they could afford to withstand some hefty withdrawals by the desperate Vincent's raiders.

With Ballyboden being forced ever deeper into defence, their free giveaway rate increased, allowing Mossy Quinn to kick four points, while Shane Carthy and Ruairi Trainor added two more.

It cut the deficit to four points in the 55th minute but it was as close as Vincent's got as the remainder of the game yielded no further scores.

Having cut six points off the Ballyboden lead, Vincent's will be disappointed not to made further inroads in the closing minutes but their real regret arises from their dismal start and the fact that over the course of the game, they kicked 11 wides to Ballyboden's three.

It underlined the contrasting efficiency levels on a day when Macauley was hugely influential for Ballyboden while his Dublin colleague Diarmuid Connolly was largely anonymous for St Vincent's.

Bob Dwan was given the unenviable task of marking Connolly, a man who regularly torments top inter-county defenders, but on this occasion he never got into the game.

Dwan shadowed him relentlessly and, with their main playmaker a largely peripheral figure, Vincent's found it difficult to make real progress.

Macauley, in contrast, was the dominant figure in the middle third, using his experience and power to telling effect.

There was a whole lot more to admire too about a Ballyboden side for whom Donegal goalkeeper Paul Durcan won a Dublin county medal in his first season with the club.

He had a relatively quiet day behind a solid defence which, apart from a spell in the second half, dealt very capably with the Vincent's challenge.

Having replaced Vincent's at the Dublin summit, Ballyboden are now hoping to follow the good example set by the northsiders on their Leinster adventures.

"Any time Vincent's come out of Dublin, they feel they can go on and win the All-Ireland - that's just the way they are. That's the challenge for us now, whether guys are happy with this or whether we push on," said McEntee.

Ballyboden have a quick turnaround as they will play Louth champions St Patrick's in the Leinster quarter-final next Sunday. On yesterday's evidence, their season could have quite some way to go run yet.

Scorers - Ballyboden-St Enda's: A Kerin 2-1 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), R Basquel 0-3, C Basquel, D O'Reilly, A Waters, C Keaney 0-1.

St Vincent's: T Quinn 0-6 (6f), R Trainor 0-2, S Carthy, G Burke 0-1,

Ballyboden-St Enda's - P Durcan; S Clayton, S Hiney, S O'Connor; D Nelson, B Dwan, A Waters; MD Macauley, D O'Mahoney; S Gibbons, R Basquel, D O'Reilly; C Basquel, C Keaney, A Kerin. Subs: D McCabe for O'Mahoney (33), D Davy for R Basquel (28), R McDaid for Gibbons (48), D O'Callaghan for C Basquel (48), S Molony for O'Reilly (51), S Durkin for Waters (55).

St Vincent's - M Savage; M Concarr, J Curley, H Gill; B Egan, G Brennan, N Mullins; D Murphy, S Carthy; G Burke, D Connolly, C Diamond; R Trainor, C Dorney, T Quinn. Subs: K Golden for Murphy (23), J Feeney for Dorney (26), Cameron Diamond for Burke (28), M Loftus for Cormac Diamond (47), C Wilson for Egan (50).

Ref: B Tiernan (O'Dwyers)

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