AFL DIV. 1 MATCH REPORT: BALLYBODEN ST. ENDAS V NA FIANNA
ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
BALLYBODEN ST ENDA’S 3-16
NA FIANNA 0-11
By Daire Walsh
Ballyboden St Enda’s maintained their 100% winning start to the Adult Football League Division One season with a commanding victory against Na Fianna at Pairc Ui Murchu on Sunday morning.
Hot on the heels of their 12-point triumph (3-12 to 0-9) over Ballymun Kickhams in round one, ‘Boden were confident of securing a second consecutive home success. Just three points separated the teams during the interval, before second half goals by James Madden (two) and Warren Egan helped Anthony Rainbow’s side to ease over the line.
Na Fianna’s 2-5 to 0-17 reversal at the hands of St Jude’s on 18 February left them with ground to make up in the top-flight. They were able to include former Sky Blues dual star Tomas Brady at centre-back, while Aaron Byrne, Michael Deegan and Glen O’Reilly provided a youthful exuberance in attack.
‘Boden were minus the services of Dublin stars Michael Darragh MacAuley and Colm Basquel, but were bolstered by the presence of former county men Darragh Nelson and Declan O’Mahoney.
Six players that featured in their historic All-Ireland club final triumph two years ago were named in the starting line-up, with Sean Gibbons and Bob Dwan also making appearances as second period substitutes.
After Na Fianna were turned over in defence, Ryan Basquel broke the deadlock with a third-minute point. Colm Dunne and Ross McGarry were also on target, as ‘Boden enjoyed a whirlwind start to the action.
The visitors eventually settled with a pointed free from full-forward T Foran – after midfielder Eoin McHugh was fouled deep inside the opposition ’45’. Though ‘Boden were wasteful at times in the first-quarter, they increased their advantage with contributions from Basquel (free) and McGarry.
O’Reilly added another free for Na Fianna, only for Madden to open his own personal tally after Aran Waters had been denied by Dan O’Hanlon. Another Dunne single kept ‘Boden in control but it was Na Fianna who finished the half on a high.
A Sean Caffrey point on the run was supplemented by O’Reilly’s second place-ball effort, leaving them facing into a 0-7 to 0-4 deficit at the midway stage. The hand of the Na Fianna management had been forced in the 14th-minute, when corner-back Farrell Aughney was withdrawn through injury.
His place was taken by Paul O’Hanlon and their southside opponents also made an alteration to their side when the play resumed. James Holland took the place of O’Mahoney in midfield, joining forces with the industrious Waters.
Na Fianna were hoping to build additional momentum after the break and O’Reilly’s third of the contest kept them on the right track. However, ’Boden brought this mini scoring burst to an end with their first goal of the proceedings.
Madden released full-forward Sam Molony for a run at the posts in the 32nd-minute. His eventual strike was parried by O’Hanlon, but Madden was in the right place to finish off the resulting rebound. This major was followed a rapid-fire Waters point, giving the home team a firm stranglehold on the tie once again.
Caffrey helped Na Fianna to settle with a well-worked score and Foran also split the posts in a direct response to Stephen O’Connor and Waters points at the opposite end. Although Killian Deeley and Alistair Fitzgerald provided energy from the bench, ‘Boden effectively placed the outcome beyond doubt with an unanswered haul of 1-3 in a four-minute spell.
McGarry and Basquel (two) raised white flags, while Madden’s deflected strike led to a second goal for the 2016 league champions. Foran’s 0-2 salvo allowed Na Fianna to briefly stem the tide, but ‘Boden’s relentless pursuit of scores ultimately widened the gap.
Basquel’s final act of the game was to add a fifth point on 51 minutes, and his replacement – Egan – enjoyed an instant impact. At the end of an intricate attacking move, the lively substitute found the Na Fianna net with much aplomb.
O’Reilly and Tomas Connell points arrived either side of a similar effort by Molony, completing the scoring at the Firhouse Road venue.
Ballyboden will look to gather further pace in the league when they visit Naomh Olaf at Pairc Ui Bhriain on 9 May. Na Fianna, meanwhile, will entertain Ballymun Kickhams in a northside derby on the same date.
Scorers – Ballyboden St Enda’s: James Madden 2-1, Ryan Basquel 0-5 (2f), Warren Egan 1-0, Ross McGarry 0-3, Aran Waters each, Colm Dunne, Sam Molony 0-2 each, Stephen O’Connor 0-1. Na Fianna: Glen O’Reilly (3f), T Foran (2f) 0-4 each, Sean Caffrey 0-2, Tomas Connell 0-1.
BALLYBODEN ST ENDA’S: Conor Dooley; Cian Murray, Cathal Flaherty, Tom Hannifin; Kieran Kennedy, Darragh Nelson, Stephen O’Connor; Declan O’Mahoney, Aran Waters; Colm Dunne, Ryan Basquel, Darren O’Reilly; James Madden, Sam Molony, Ross McGarry.
Subs: James Holland for O’Mahoney (half-time), Sean Gibbons for O’Connor (43), Brian Bobbett for Murray (44), Warren Egan for Basquel (52), Bob Dwan for Madden (54), O’Connor for Dwan (57).
NA FIANNA: Dan O’Hanlon; Darra Kennedy, Niall McGovern, Farrell Aughney; James Higgins, Tomas Brady, Eoin Connolly; Angus Farrell, Eoin McHugh; Aaron Byrne, Michael Deegan, Glen O’Reilly; Sean Caffrey, T Foran, Tomas Connell.
Subs: Paul O’Hanlon for Aughney (14), Killian Deeley for E Connolly (38), Alistair Fitzgerald for Farrell, JJ Martin for Byrne (both 44), Niall Cooper for Kennedy (52).
Referee: Seamus Farrelly (Ballinteer St John’s).