Colm Basquel’s 36th minute goal ultimately proved decisive for Ballyboden St Enda’s in a dour encounter, securing the Dublin champions a November 22 Leinster club semi-final clash with St Loman’s of Westmeath.
It was far from pretty in windy, rain sodden conditions and ‘Boden manager Andy McEntee found most of his post-match interview taken up with questions about players who weren’t involved.
All-Ireland winning Donegal goalkeeper Paul Durcan was a notable absentee following last weekend’s county final heroics. McEntee explained that due to Durcan’s relocation to Qatar, he was unable to make the game and it’s not clear if he’ll be back for Sunday week’s tie either.
As for Ryan Basquel, another strong performer a week earlier in the county final win over St Vincent’s, his absence was noted too.
Meath man McEntee revealed that the forward, who kicked three points against Vincent’s, “has a broken jaw from the last day” though didn’t say how it happened.
Michael Darragh Macauley, the Dublin midfielder, did compete but was nursing a hand injury and was below par.
In truth, few shone in terrible conditions and aside from Conal Keaney’s two late points in injury-time, there were just five points registered from play in the hour.
McEntee, who guided Meath’s minors to an All-Ireland final, summed it up best when he described the quarter-final tie as “a battle of wills” where progression was paramount.
“Sure it was never going to be anything else,” said McEntee. “Whether you won by one, two or three, it was always going to be very close. St Pat’s had a ball cleared off the line at one stage so it would have taken very little for that game to turn around in their favour.
“Anybody who knows their football wouldn’t have thought we were going to come to Drogheda and walk over St Pat’s anyway. Nothing here was a surprise, we were expecting a really tough test and we got one.”
A heavy fall of rain shortly before throw-in, allied to high winds throughout, meant it was a day for steel more so than silk.
Ballyboden slipped three behind early on but were good value for their win overall though it remains to be seen if they can live up to their All-Ireland credentials having remarkably started the day as second favourites for outright success.
McEntee smiled at the billing having only just claimed a third Dublin title last weekend.
Asked if he laughed at the odds, he said: “Yeah, I did. I think it’s just because you win Dublin and because the standard in Dublin is so high.”
Pat’s had a shot cleared off the line at one stage though will reflect moreso on the late goal by ex-All Star midfielder Paddy Keenan that was ruled out.
Keenan slammed a quick free to the net, which would have levelled it in injury-time, but hadn’t been permitted to take the kick and had to settle for a point from the retake.
Pat’s played with the wind in the first half and moved three clear after points from Karl White and Keenan. But they didn’t kick on and paid a high price for only hitting the interval with a 0-4 to 0-3 advantage.
Ballyboden, a week after the county final, looked sharper after the restart and sniped 1-1 in the opening minutes of the second-half to take firm control of the game.
Darren O’Reilly won a free that Andrew Kerin converted before beating Pat’s defender Paddy Kirk to a ball and playing it across for Basquel to slam into the roof of the net from close range.
A Kerin (0-5, 4 frees), C Basquel (1-0), C Keaney (0-3).
P Keenan (0-4, 3 frees), K White (0-2, 1 free), D O’Connor (0-1)
C Dooley; B Dwan, S Hiney, S Clayton; S O’Connor, D Nelson, A Waters; MD Macauley, D O’Mahoney; S Gibbons, C Basquel, D O’Reilly; C Keaney, S Molony, A Kerin.
D McCabe for O’Mahoney (h/t), R McDaid for O’Connor (38), D Davy for Gibbons (47), C McCormack for Molony (49), S Durkin for O’Reilly (54).
S Connor; K Toner, P Kirk, D O’Hanlon, O Zambouglou, E Lafferty, E Breen; P Keenan, E O’Connor; D O’Connor, K White, A McCann; D Lafferty, C Grogan, D Finnegan.
R Murphy for Zambouglou (55), A O’Connor for D Lafferty (61).
P Maguire (Longford).