BALLYBODEN ST ENDA’S 5-28 COOLDERRY 5-25
Sunday saw Ballyboden St Enda’s play host to Coolderry of Offaly in the AIB Leinster Semi-Final. Those in attendance got more than they bargained for as it took 90 minutes to finally separate the pair.
A grand total of 10 goals and 53 points were amassed by both sides as they tried to secure their passage to the Leinster show piece. Major personal hauls were the order of the day as Paul Ryan and Colm Basquel contributed 14 points and 3-03 respectively for Ballyboden, while Brian Carroll left with 2-16 to his name for Coolderry, in what was a contender for game of the year.
Ballyboden came out of the blocks quick netting a brace of early goals to race into a 2-01 to no score lead. It was following this early onslaught that the Offaly men began one of many comebacks getting the next 6 unanswered scores. Just as they had clawed their way back into the game Ballyboden found the net once again to leave the score 3-08 to 0-10 at half time.
The second half took on a life of its own with Coolderry bagging an early goal to move them within 3 points of their hosts. It was then the turn of Basquel to once again show his hurling prowess scoring Boden’s fourth goal of the game with a brilliant individual effort. This was the signal for Coolderry to kickstart again and the produced a Houdini act to score two more goals before a Kevin Connolly point looked set to give them an unlikely yet well-deserved victory. When Basquel won a late free it fell to the ever-reliable Ryan to slot it over and force us to our first period of extra time.
This first period did not disappoint and certainly lived up to the previous 60. Basquel and Caroll once again exchanging majors scores to ensure that another 10 minutes would be required as neither team would accept defeat.
These final two periods would prove decisive as Ballyboden finally managed to engineer enough breathing room to see them home. The Dublin outfit outscored Coolderry 6 points to a goal during this time to set up a clash with Kilkenny Champions Ballyhale Shamrocks.
This enthralling game had everything and was the very embodiment of the saying ‘Neither team deserved to lose’. Ballyboden can certainly say they have earned their place in the Final on December 2nd following a run that has included a replay and three periods of extra time in 4 games. This is surely the definition of the toughest journey.