Ballyboden break Portlaoise hearts to claim first Leinster Championship

Ballyboden St Enda's captain Darragh Nelson lifts the cup following his side's victory. AIB Leinster GAA Senior Club Football Championship Final, Portlaoise v Ballyboden St Enda's. O'Connor Park, Tullamore, Co. Offaly. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Ballyboden captain Darragh Nelson lifts the Leinster Championship : Image supplied by sportsfile

Leinster Senior Football Club Championship Final 6th December 2015 Ballyboden St Enda`s 2-09 –  1-11 Portlaoise

Ballyboden St Enda`s have won their first ever Leinster Senior Football Club Championship against seven times champions Portlaoise.

Substitute Aran Waters was the hero for Ballyboden having kicked a dramatic late winning point as Ballyboden St Enda’s clung on for a first ever AIB Leinster Club Senior Football Championship final win.

The game was played in difficult conditions with an arctic chill and a harsh wind blowing around O`Connor Park in Tullamore.

In what was an epic game Ballyboden took the match to Portlaoise and got the first point of the match, with Sam Molony scoring it. Portlaoise hit back straight away equalising with a point of their own moments later courtesy of Craig Rodgers .

Ballyboden then restored their lead with goal from Andrew Kerin a finish that wouldn`t be out of place on a soccer pitch dribbling along the ground and then shooting from close range which went through the keeper and trickled into the goal.

Both teams then enjoyed spells of possession, and started to rack up the points on the scoreboard with Ballyboden increasing their lead and Portlaoise scoring points to reduce the deficit.

Ballyboden`s Conal Keaney received the first card of the game, receiving a yellow after giving away a free in a dangerous position.

Portlaoise scored three quick points in succession with no reply from Ballyboden. Eoghan Whelan got the point that would tie up the game.

Ballyboden then had two excellent chances to score with Sam Molony having his shot saved by the Portlaoise keeper who made another fantastic save from Ballyboden goal scorer Andrew Kerin. But finally managed to get a score with a free from Conal Keany tapping over the bar from close range.

In the last minute of normal time at the end of the first Portlaoise got a goal through Paul Cahillane who knocked the ball into the net after a looping ball was played in from out wide.

The slender lead was short lived for Portlaoise as Ballyboden went straight on the attack from the kick out and Michael Darragh MacAuley was played in and beat the Portlaoise keeper with a cool finish to restore the Ballyboden lead in the last minute of injury time. With Ballyboden leading by 2-04 to 1-06 at half time.

As the second half began excitement levels were at fever pitch after the performance both teams put in during the first half.

Ballyboden got the first point of the second half as the first few minutes of the half became a battle for possession but Portlaoise got their first point of their half through Paul Cahillane with a free after Conor Dunphy was fouled by Sean Gibbons.

After a spell of both teams adding to their score with points, in the 50th minute Brian McCormack had his chance to get a second Portlaoise goal saved after the experienced Paul Durcan tipped his shot onto the post.

Ballyboden got two points in quick succession as they were trying to close out the game while Brian Smyth and Cahir Healy tried to keep the Portlaoise dream alive.

Aran Walters broke Portlaoise broke Portlaoise hearts with seconds to go in normal time with a point to put Ballyboden a point ahead going into injury time.

Disaster then struck for Ballyboden as Declan 0`Mahoney was yellow carded and gave away a free in front of goal.

Deep into injury time Paul Cahillane stepped up to take the free right in front of the posts in a position that looked impossible to miss from.

Incredibly Cahillane put the shot wide after slicing his free to end any hopes of Portlaoise getting a result from the game. The missed chance will surely play on the mind  and feature in the nightmares of Cahillane for months, years to come. With the final ending 2-09 to 1-11.

Ballyboden will be delighted with their first Leinster Championship title weeks after winning their third Dublin Championship. Andrew Kerin was the Boden`s top scorer with 1-2. While Portlaoise will be ruing their missed chances.

Ballyboden St Enda`s will now play either London Champions Tir Chonaill Gaels or Munster Champions Clonmel Commericals in the AIB All-Ireland Club Championship Semi Final on the 13th February.




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