Bally­bo­den fin­ish the stronger in re­play

Seán Mo­ran:

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Front Page - SEÁN MO­RAN at Par­nell Park

Kil­macud’s run of hard luck in Dublin county fi­nals con­tin­ued on its un­yield­ing course with a third suc­ces­sive de­feat in yesterday’s re­play at Par­nell Park. Bally­bo­den were the more con­sis­tent side and with the match in the bal­ance in in­jury-time at 2-13 to 1-15, they fin­ished the stronger, send­ing on Dublin foot­baller Colm Basquel and he obliged with the last point of the match af­ter Paul Ryan had stretched the lead to two.

It was a great win for a club, which must have felt its ti­tle win­ning days were un­likely to be re­vis­ited, hav­ing won six in seven years dur­ing a se­quence that ended in 2013. Their vet­er­ans, in­clud­ing Ryan and espe­cially Conal Keaney with four points from play, played big roles in the suc­cess.

“Ah, Keaney is just a spe­cial tal­ent,” said win­ning coach Joe For­tune. “I got a call from him – I had a lit­tle girl on Tues­day, a baby girl – and Keaney is the first one to text and he said ‘I know the per­for­mance level wasn’t good enough the last day. We’ll win it this week.’

“And he’s an im­mense char­ac­ter to deal with. There’s a lot of guys that are there that are pure tal­ent. But Keaney is just a spe­cial guy to deal with.”

The con­test ar­guably turned in the 26th minute when Marc Howard, Crokes’ in­flu­en­tial full for­ward was chopped down for a penalty at the end of an elec­tric run at the Bo­den de­fence – and played no fur­ther part in pro­ceed­ings, go­ing off with what looked like a se­ri­ous in­jury – it was feared af­ter­wards that he might have in­jured his cru­ci­ate.

Made amends

Shane Durkin was shown a yel­low card and to make bad worse for Kil­macud, Oisín O’Rorke – pressed into free tak­ing ser­vice on Howard’s with­drawal – shot weakly and Gary Maguire saved. O’Rorke made amends with a pow­er­ful few min­utes be­fore half-time, shoot­ing three points and fin­ish­ing a goal just be­fore the break to push Kil­macud into a 1-9 to 1-7 lead.

It didn’t last long af­ter the re-start and trail­ing by a point, 1-9 to 1-10, Paul Ryan drilled a 20-me­tre free into the Kil­macud net with most peo­ple as­sum­ing he’d take the handy equal­izer. From then on, Bally­bo­den were never headed.

Kil­macud man­ager An­thony Daly was still un­happy about the first-half in­ci­dent, as he had been at the time, but ac­knowl­edged that his side had lost to the bet­ter team.

“An­other tough, ti­tanic bat­tle but we came out the wrong end of it. I sup­pose over­all they were slightly the bet­ter team on the day. A few more of their big play­ers stood up from last week and prob­a­bly got them over the line.

“Then there was the penalty. I’m sorry for Marc Howard; I think his ACL might be gone. Hard to be­lieve that there wasn’t an­other card than a yel­low one. Look I wouldn’t take it off Bo­den. They re­ally stood up both days but I’d be proud of the boys.”

Kil­macud hadn’t helped them­selves by giv­ing away frees at ei­ther end of the field but they un­doubt­edly missed Howard and three of their in­flu­en­tial vet­er­ans, Niall Cor­co­ran, Ryan O’Dwyer and Ross O’Car­roll – the lat­ter two very prom­i­nent the pre­vi­ous week – were re­placed dur­ing the third quar­ter.

Howard got the first point of the match within 30 sec­onds but al­most im­me­di­ately Conor McCormack was on hand to tap the ball into an empty net at the end of an en­ter­pris­ing move. It was a live­lier match than the draw with a bet­ter flow.

Kil­macud re­sisted all the way to the fi­nal whis­tle but they couldn’t get the goal they prob­a­bly

Bally­bo­den St Enda’s Si­mon Lam­bert and Stephen O’Con­nor cel­e­brate af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle. PHO­TO­GRAPH: OISIN KENIRY/INPHO

needed to turn the match around. Bally­bo­den were sharp and com­mit­ted in de­fence. Half way through the sec­ond half for in­stance, a promis­ing at­tack was bril­liantly cut out by Dean Cur­ran and Paul Do­herty ended up scor­ing at the other end for a four-point lead, 2-12 to 1-11.

Al­though the mar­gin was re­duced to the min­i­mum, the gap would never closed.

Bally­bo­den now go on, hop­ing to de­fend the All-Ire­land ti­tle won for Dublin for the past two years by Cuala, and will play West­meath cham­pi­ons Clonkill in Par­nell Park next Sun­day.

Af­ter­wards Daly was asked about the mount­ing spec­u­la­tion that he would ap­pointed the next Dublin man­ager, re­sum­ing a po­si­tion he held be­tween 2009 and ’14.

“I don’t know any­thing about that lads. I’m just try­ing to process what’s af­ter hap­pen­ing there now.”

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