Boden Abú March 16, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
Tomorrow in Croke Park will be the twentieth club finals I’ve attended. Not once in those 20 years did I even imagine that my own club Ballyboden St Endas would be playing there. The hurlers won multiple Dublin titles but heartbreakingly never won Leinster. Super teams like the hurlers of Ballyhale, Portumna, Birr, Athenry and the footballers of Crossmaglen Rangers, Corofin, St Vincents, Crossmolina, St Galls, St Brigids, Nemo Rangers have all been among the winners in those 20 years and tomorrow Ballyboden St Endas could be added to that.
It’s a huge achievement to get to the final, indeed it was a massive achievement to win Dublin beating the highly fancied St Vincents in Parnell Park. It was an amazing game and the club was hopping afterwards. There wasn’t much rest as a week or two later we were on the bus down to Drogheda to watch Boden play St Patricks of Louth. It was funny as Hunky Dorys Park next door was almost palatial compared to the GAA ground in Drogheda. Boden came out on top. Then on the bus again to a Leinster semi final in Mullingar against St Lomans with a few more buses this time as the club and community continued to get behind the club.
The amazing Leinster final win over Portlaoise was incredible and the scenes back at the club were brilliant afterwards. The Semi Final in Portlaoise when we were as good as gone. 5 minutes left a player down injured I rushed to the jacks and we were all congratulating the Clonmel crowd and wishing them well in the final. Those last few minutes though were just incredible as 14 man Boden somehow brought the game to extra time with an incredible point from Darragh Nelson. Cue absolute Madness. Boden went on to win in extra time and it was a brilliant night down in the club.
The area is buzzing, like most areas in Dublin the local GAA team could be doing well but most of the place wouldn’t know. It’s not the case in Rathfarnham, Ballyboden and the areas around. Since the Leinster final and winning the semi final there are flags up all over the area, banners in the club, schools, shops , pubs and even on houses. It’s huge.
What it has also done is given the younger players an aim to play for the clubs senior team rather than just the Dubs. It’s massive too that there are older brothers , lads who’ve helped train them over the years, lads who’ve helped out on Summer camps and so on on the team. There’s a big connection there. Last night my sons team were training, towards the end on the gap in the pitch where no team was training Paul Durcan was kicking a ball about with some other members of the Senior panel. Slowly they arrived, Michael Darragh, Conal Keaney, Stephen Hiney and other heroes there just kicking the ball around as they waited for the lads to finish. Training ended and the lads walked past wished them luck and when your son gets thanked by name by a few of the senior players and coaches well he walks that little bit taller, has a pep in his step and makes the connection with the club even stronger.
Many of the teams and local schools have done videos supporting the senior footballers and there have been emigrants wishing the team well from all over the world. You can see most of them on the club Facebook Page.
Two years ago my son’s team won the Dublin Football Feile and qualified for the finals hosted by the Connaught Council. … we ended up with Castlebar Mitchels as our host team and we played them and other teams at their home in the shadow of McHale Park in Castlebar. They were wonderful hosts and it’s a coincidence that the two clubs meet again in the biggest day in the club calendar.
Tomorrow will be some day and hopefully the Andy Merrigan Cup will make it’s way to The Firhouse Road.