By Paul Keane
Dublin hurler Paul Ryan has described Ballyboden club colleague Colm Basquel as a hurling star in the making, but acknowledged it’s highly unlikely he’ll play for the county.
Instead, the expectation is that the speedy forward, 22, who struck a magnificent 3-3 on his full senior club hurling debut on Sunday in the AIB Leinster championship, will concentrate on football in 2019.
Basquel has made just one Championship start for the Dublin footballers, against Roscommon in the Super 8s last summer, but came on three times and was on the bench for the 2016 and 2018 final wins.
He’s also an All-Ireland U21 medallist from 2017 and memorably netted for the Ballyboden footballers early on in their All-Ireland final win over Castlebar in 2016.
Like fellow dual star Con O’Callaghan, the unfortunate reality for new Dublin hurling manager Mattie Kenny is that Basquel is unlikely to join him in the small-ball setup any time soon.
“You’re always going to be up against the footballers and they’re going for five-in-a-row,” said experienced Ballyboden and Dublin forward Ryan of Basquel. “Jim Gavin will probably want to have his full panel there, and more. So to pull [players] from that panel, I don’t know.
Ballyboden manager Joe Fortune revealed that Basquel contacted him about playing hurling for the winter following Dublin’s four-in-a-row win.
The pacy attacker came on in the county final replay win over Kilmacud Crokes and scored a point and was introduced in the provincial quarter-final win over Clonkill.
His first senior start only came on Sunday against Coolderry and he grasped the opportunity by scoring three goals in a man-of-the-match display.
“Collie has been tipping away in training with us,” said Ryan, who hit 0-14 against Coolderry.
Ryan himself is among a group of ultra-experienced players that lined out for ’Boden when they last reached the provincial final 11 years ago.
They suffered an agonising defeat to Birr that day, the start of a run of six defeats in seven Leinster games for the club before this season.
They’ll face Henry Shefflin’s Ballyhale Shamrocks in the final on Sunday week.
“A massive regret of ours is never doing anything in Leinster,” said Ryan. “We always said that if we got back there, we’d give it a rattle. We’re just so happy to get back to a final. The first year we came out in Leinster was 2007, when we played Birr. We thought we should have won that game and we lost by a point. I was only a young lad at that stage, I’m 30 now and you look back at it and, absolutely, it’s a missed opportunity. We have that opportunity now to make history for the club.”