Ballyboden book their place in All-Ireland final

Clonmel looked to have Croke Park trip secured before late Ballyboden ressurgence

Ballyboden St Enda's 0-15 Clonmel Commercials 0-10 (after extra-time, 0-10 each after normal time)

Dublin’s apparent football supremacy continues to spread through the club championship, as Ballyboden St Enda’s become the latest team from the capital to book their place in the All-Ireland final.

They did it the hard and spectacular way, surviving the frighteningly close call of normal time before eventually wearing down Clonmel Commercials in extra-time. While the Dublin champions were nonetheless deserving winners, it was a cruel end for the Tipperary club, who appeared to have both feet in Croke Park as the game reached its initial climax.

Two seriously matched teams throughout, playing with equally ferocious pace and commitment, it seemed as if Clonmel side had done enough to seal their final berth, edging three points clear on 49 minutes, with big scores from Michael Quinlivan, Aldo Matassa and then Jason Lonergan.


But then Ballyboden captain Darragh Nelson completed the dramatic comeback by forcing extra time at the death, kicking a brilliant equalising point just when it seemed Clonmel were on the verge of their own club history.

From there the Dublin champions controlled extra-time with relative ease, and thus follow in the footsteps of 2015 champions St Vincent’s, to make the St Patrick’s Day showdown for the first time in the club’s history.

Played in relatively benign conditions, and before a packed out stand, it was effectively point-for-point in the opening half. There were plenty of nerves too as both teams hit several wide balls before their opening score, Andrew Kerin first to strike for Ballyboden, with a free on seven minute.

Ian Barnes quickly cancelled that out with a free at the other end, before Jack Kennedy put Clonmel in front with the first score from play: Kerin then levelled, and it went back and forth like that for the rest of the half – Ballyboden very briefly edging two points clear – before a beauty from Quinlivan levelled it up again.

Barnes then had the last word of the half with his second free, giving Clonmel with the minimum advantage going into the break.

Ballyboden's Declan O'Mahony was also red-carded on 54 minutes for a late challenge on Luke Moore, but they were restored to the full 15 for extra-time. They then lorded most of that extra 20 minutes too, with two more frees from Kerin and two big scores too from Conal Keaney giving them the five-pint win.

Indeed in injury time Clonmel lost their most influential player, with Quinlivan black-carded on 64 minutes, and that proved a psychological blow as much as a physical one. The Tipperary club failed to score in extra time, although that shouldn’t take from their brave effort. Ballyboden simply refused to lie down, and so live to fight on the biggest day of the club football calender.

BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S (DUBLIN): P Durcan; B Dwan, S Hiney, S Clayton; A Waters, D Nelson (capt) (0-1), R McDaid; M D Macauley, D O'Mahoney; D O'Reilly, C Basquel (0-1), D Davey; S Molony (0-1), C Keaney (0-4 three frees), A Kerin (0-7, five frees).

Subs: R Basquel (0-1) for Davey (34 mins), S O'Connor for O'Reilly (35 mins), S Gibbons for Molony (55 mins), D McCabe for Gibbons (70 mins), S Lambert for Molony (76 mins)

CLONMEL COMMERCIALS (TIPPERARY): J McDonald; F Condon, D Lynch, J Peters; D Madigan, S Kennedy, K Fahey; J Kennedy (0-1), A Matassa (0-1); L Moore, I Fahey, J Lonergan (0-2); K Harney (0-1), M Quinlivan (0-2, one free), I Barnes (0-3, two frees).

Subs: P White for Madigan (48 mins), P Looram for Barnes (55 mins), S Taylor for Condon (62 mins), N Kelly for Quinlivan (64 mins, black card), S Flynn for Looram (70 mins).

Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry)

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics