Explosive start by Ballyboden leaves the champions floundering
Andrew Kerin’s two goals meant there was no way back for out-of-sorts St Vincent’s
Ballyboden St Enda’s players celebrate with the cup after beating St Vincent’s to win the 2015 Dublin senior football championship. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Ballyboden St Enda’s 2-8 St Vincent’s 0-10
Ballyboden St Enda’s were celebrating on Sunday a sensational Dublin football final victory against the champions of the past two years St Vincent’s. After three hard seasons of campaigning it wasn’t just the wheels that came off the holders’ challenge but the engine and gearbox as well.
The damage was done in an extraordinary opening quarter during which Ballyboden raced into an eight-point lead, 1-5 to no score. They set up very cautiously, keeping at times just four players in the opposing half and frustrating the champions’ attempts to open up space.
This holding job was complemented with good running, accurate passing and precise finishing. Veteran marksman Andrew Kerin scored two well-timed goals to leave the deficit essentially out of reach for most of the match.
Vincent’s came back at them in the second half but never closed the deficit to the point where the revival got any serious traction.
It was a tactical coup for winning manager Andy McEntee, who had set out to limit the champions in the early stages.
“The way it ended, we would have been in trouble had we not had the good start. But look it Vincent’s have a habit of burying teams in the first 20 minutes of games so we knew we really had to get out of the blocks early. It was probably beyond our expectations but we’re glad it worked out that way.
“You saw it against Na Fianna and Ballymun and how they can run up four, five or six scores in a matter of minutes if you switch off. One of the key things was to avoid a situation like that. Even though it didn’t happen, they probably hit the last four or five scores.”
To be strictly accurate however Vincent’s had a nightmare day with their usually devastating and variously resourced forward play muted by Ballyboden’s committed hounding in defence but also by poor shooting from the favourites, who stacked up eight wides in the first half compared to only one for their opponents.
By the 11th minute the score had risen to 0-5 to nil, as Kerin’s early free was supplemented by points from the Basquels, Ryan, with two, and Colm before auxiliary defender Darren O’Reilly added the fifth. Three minutes later a high ball fell awkwardly in the Vincent’s square and Colm Basquel set up Kerin for the first goal and an eight-point lead.
It took all of 22 minutes before the champions scored: Gavin Burke hitting a point that even then was cancelled out by Aran Waters within a minute.
Vincent’s desperately needed inspiration but the most obvious source, Diarmuid Connolly struggled to get into the match with marker Bob Dwan a robust companion for the afternoon. Usually if that happens the other forwards step up to the mark but not on this occasion, as the stifling attentions of their opponents’ defence gave little space and less time.
Tomás Quinn, the most reliable candidate when it comes to picking up the slack, was restricted to frees and full forward Ciarán Dorney was replaced before half-time.
Michael Darragh Macauley and Declan O’Mahoney also had the upper hand at centrefield and fighting a daunting deficit, Vincent’s couldn’t establish any momentum.
The half-time lead of seven, 1-7 to 0-3 grew to 10 within minutes of Macauley lost a free by taking it from the wrong place, won the throw -in, got fouled himself and played the ball into Conal Keaney, who was taken down by Michael Concarr.
Kerin calmly dispatched the penalty.
Keaney’s point shortly afterwards concluded Ballyboden’s scoring for the day but the 10-point lead was as daunting as a cricket declaration. Their replacements’ bench worked hard - including Dublin hurler David O’Callaghan - and they kept the champions at bay.
Vincent’s did their best to get back into the game but the rhythm wouldn’t come. Donegal ‘keeper Paul Durcan, who was a substantial presence in goal and whose kick-outs kept Ballyboden on the move, made an acrobatic save from Ruairí Trainor and Shane Carthy took a point when a pass might have been the better option.
Quinn’s accuracy, slightly awry in the first half, was impeccable as he converted what frees came the team’s way and gradually the scoreboard tightened but the deficit never shrank below four.
It was the winners’ third title and first since 2009 and in a week’s time they take on Louth champions St Patrick’s in the Leinster championship.
Ballyboden: P Durcan; S Hiney, S Clayton, S O’Connor; D Nelson, B Dwan, A Waters (0-1); MD Macauley, D O’Mahony; S Gibbons, R Basquel (0-3), D O’Reilly (0-1); C Basquel (0-1), C Keaney (0-1), A Kerin (2-1, goal a penalty and point free). Subs: D McCabe for O’Mahoney (34 mins), R McDaid for Gibbons (48 mins), D O’Callaghan for C Basquel (49 mins), S Molony for O’Reilly (51 mins), S Durkin for Waters (55 mins).
St Vincents: M Savage; M Concarr, J Curley, H Gill; B Egan, G Brennan, N Mullins; D Murphy, S Carthy (0-1); G Burke (0-1), D Connolly, Cormac Diamond; R Trainor (0-2), C Dorney, T Quinn (0-6, frees). Subs: K Golden for Murphy (23 mins), J Feeney for Dorney (26 mins), Cameron Diamond for Burke (38 mins), C Wilson for Egan (50 mins).
Referee: B Tiernan.