Ballyboden to appeal Declan O’Mahony’s red card

Dublin champions keen to have their big midfielder available for All-Ireland club final

Ballyboden St Enda’s Declan O’Mahony is shown a red card during the AIB All-Ireland club semi-final against Clonmel Commercials.  Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ballyboden St Enda’s Declan O’Mahony is shown a red card during the AIB All-Ireland club semi-final against Clonmel Commercials. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

Given both the nature and timing of the penalty, Ballyboden St Enda’s have confirmed they will be appealing the straight red card shown to midfielder Declan O’Mahony during their AIB All-Ireland club football semi-final.

The automatic one-match ban means O’Mahoney is set to miss the biggest day in the club calendar – and the biggest day so far in the club’s history – when they make the short trip to Croke Park for the St Patrick’s Day showdown. It’s a first final appearance for the Dublin champions, earned by the extra-time victory over Clonmel Commercials in Portlaoise on Saturday evening.

O’Mahony was shown a straight red card on 53 minutes for a high but not indisputably deliberate tackle on Clonmel forward Jason Lonergan.

Ballyboden were down three points at the time but, despite being down a man then too, they produced a stunning comeback to force extra-time and eventually ran out comfortable five-point winners.

“Was it a bit harsh?” asked Ballyboden manager Andy McEntee, in the immediate aftermath, and a spokesperson for the club has since confirmed the appeal. One of their most experienced players, O’Mahony will certainly represent a sizeable loss as Ballyboden look to become the third Dublin club of the last decade to win the football title.

Opponents Castlebar Mitchells – who caused a mild surprise by defeating Crossmaglen Rangers – have made two club finals before but lost them both, the last time to Dublin club St Vincent’s in the 2014 decider.

Late assault

Keaney also reckoned the club now have the momentum to win the title outright.

“Obviously Declan is a huge leader of this team, and would be a massive loss for us,” said Keaney. “But it’s like every other thing that happened this year, this team just keeps rolling on, no matter who’s playing. We just keep going on, and we’re going to win this.”

O’Mahony is not the only player McEntee is worried about ahead of the final, as goalkeeper Paul Durcan is once again unsure about his availability. The Donegal native has been living and working in Qatar since the beginning of November, and while he has being commuting home for Ballyboden’s games, is not yet sure if he can make the March 17th date in Croke Park.

Public holiday

Part of the problem with flying back and forth from Qatar for the club games is trying to acclimatise to the conditions, given the dry heat he’s become accustomed to there.

“It’s hard to get used to the weather back here, when even kicking the ball, because it travels a lot different.”

Still, given his return trips have become a sort of lucky charm for Ballyboden, it’s likely Durcan will be booking another return flight around St Patrick’s Day: “To be honest I told them I wouldn’t come back after the Dublin championship, that’s the way I was heading away. But in fairness they kept on to me, provided flights and that, so they have been very good to me from the travelling point of view, giving me the time. It’s all worked out for the best and I’m really enjoying it.”

What is much less certain however is whether or not Durcan will be making any return trips this summer to play with his native Donegal: “I would chat regularly to Rory (Gallagher, the Donegal manager). He’s a good friend of mine.

“He just said get the Ballyboden thing finished with, see how you are feeling after that. He just said ‘do what you have to do for yourself and that’s the main thing’. So we’ll see what happens over the next few months, we’ll get this over with and you never know what the summer will bring.”

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