By John Fogarty
Ballyboden St Endas (Dublin) 2-14 Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo) 0-7
An historic and against-the-odds first All-Ireland senior club football title for Ballyboden - and the fourth time in the last nine years the Andy Merrigan Cup has remained in Dublin.
Castlebar Mitchels were made bridesmaids for the second time in three years. At least they made a game of it against St Vincents in 2014. On this occasion, they put in a whimpering performance as they were second best from the outset.
The 31,518 crowd witnessed a master-class in tactics and application from Ballyboden who it was feared would not be able to cope with the loss of suspended Declan O’Mahoney. Midfield, in fact, was largely bypassed as Ballyboden’s dashing half-back line and roaming Bob Dwan ruled supreme.
Leading 2-5 to 0-3 at half-time, Ballyboden’s start was electric and much in keeping with how they beat defending Dublin and Leinster champions St Vincents last autumn. Colm Basquel struck a goal after just 90 seconds when he was put through by Aran Waters and they could have had a second in the 10th minute when Ryan Basquel was found in a one-on-one situation by a Waters’ long ball but was punished for over-carrying.
The second goal did come, though, in the 15th minute when Tom Cunniffe held Andrew Kerin and the Ballyboden corner-forward slotted home the resultant penalty. That score pushed the Dubliners into a 2-3 to 0-0 lead and it wasn’t until the 20th minute that a shellshocked Castlebar finally registered their first point via a Neil Douglas 45 after Paul Durcan had parried away a Neil Lydon shot.
Douglas and Lydon tagged on points to finish out the half but only to cancel out earlier points from Dwan, his second from corner-back, and wing-back Stephen O’Connor.
C Basquel, A Kerin (1-0 pen) (1-1 each); B Dwan (0-3); R Basquel, S Durkin (0-2 each); MD Macauley, S O’Connor, C Keaney, R McDaid, D O’Reilly (0-1 each).
N Douglas (1 45), A Walsh (frees) (0-2 each); N Lydon, P Durkan, J Durkan (0-1 each).
BALLYBODEN ST ENDAS: P Durcan; B Dwan, S Hiney, S Clayton; S O’Connor, D Nelson, S Durkin; MD Macauley, A Waters; D O’Reilly, C Basquel, R McDaid; R Basquel, C Keaney, A Kerin.
Subs for Ballyboden St Endas: C Flaherty for D Nelson (blood 25-ht); S Lambert for MD Macauley (inj 35); S Molony for R Basquel, D Davey for D O’Reilly (60); D McCabe for A Waters (60+1).
CASTLEBAR MITCHELS: R Byrne; T Cunniffe, A Feeney, D Newcombe; P Durkan, E O’Reilly, R O’Malley; G McDonagh, B Moran; S Hopkins, N Lydon, N Douglas; S Keane, D Kirby, R Feeney.
Subs for Castlebar Mitchels: F Durkan for S Hopkins (25); J Durkan for R Feeney, C Costello for S Keane (both 37); R Burke for D Newcombe (51).
Referee: C Lane (Cork)