Understrength Ballyboden return to Dublin football final

Holders beat St Jude’s without Colm Basquel and Michael Darragh Macauley

Ballyboden St Enda’s 2-11 St Jude’s 1-11

Holders Ballyboden St Enda’s kept their title defence ambitions alive as they edged local rivals St Jude’s by three points in an entertaining Dublin SFC semi-final at Parnell Park on Saturday evening.

Despite being deprived of the services of key personnel in the form of the injured Colm Basquel and Michael Darragh Macauley, Ballyboden were full value for their victory, showing greater focus in front of goal in contrast to a Jude's team that failed to take their chances at key moments.

This has proven their Achilles heel over the past decade, during which the Templeogue side have reached seven semi-finals but only progressed to the final on one occasion.

The holders were first to make an impression as late replacement Alan Flood justified his inclusion with a point inside 20 seconds, before Jude's restored parity through Brian Coakley two minutes later.

In Basquel’s absence, Boden required others to step up to the plate in terms of a scoring threat and it came in the unlikely form of the excellent Robbie McDaid, who delivered an imperious display from centre-back.

McDaid had already clipped over a superb point in the sixth minute before he raced onto an incisive Warren Egan pass two minutes later, leaving Paul Copeland helpless with a precise, low finish from eight yards.

Ross McGarry continued to keep the St Enda's scoreboard ticking over and while Tom Devlin and Coakely replied in kind, late frees from Ryan Basquel and McGarry handed Boden a healthy four-point (1-7 to 0-6) interval lead.

With Declan O’Mahony sin-binned either side of the half-time break, St Jude’s took advantage as they dominated possession upon the restart, gaining some tangible reward through points by Kieran Doherty and Niall Coakley.

However, from less plentiful possession, St Enda’s managed to restore their four-point buffer with Basquel and McGarry once again on target as Jude’s began to rue their profligacy at the opposite end.

Some uncharacteristically slack defending from the challengers allowed Ballyboden the opportunity to settle the issue as dual star Simon Lambert crashed home from close range with the hard graft done by impressive wing-back Brian Bobbett.

St Jude’s were handed a lifeline in the 58th minute as Simon King poked home a scruffy effort, but despite seeing goalkeeper Darragh Gogan receiving a straight red card following an altercation with Kevin McManamon in injury -time, the holders prevailed by a deserved three-point margin.

BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S: D Gogan; K Kennedy, S Clayton, C Flaherty; B Bobbett, R McDaid (1-1), D Nelson; A Waters, D O'Mahony; A Flood (0-1), W Egan, D O'Reilly; R McGarry (0-5, three frees), R Basquel (0-3, one fee), C Keaney. Subs: J Holland for Waters (21 mins), S Lambert (1-0) for Flood (51), D McCabe for McGarry (57), T Hayes (0-1) for O'Reilly (57), J Turley for Egan (63).

ST. JUDE'S: P Copeland; O Manning, J McGuire, C Fitzpatrick; M Sweeney, R Martina, R Wallace; T Lahiff, K Doherty (0-1); T Devlin (0-2), C Guckian, D McLoughlin (0-1); N Coakley (0-3, two frees), B Coakley (0-3, one free, one '45'), K McManamon (0-1). Subs: C Murphy for Martina (h-t), S Ryan for Wallace (44 mins), S King (1-0) for Doherty (44), P Spillane for Guckian (46), P Clarke for B Coakley (57).

Referee: B Tiernan (O’Dwyers).