Dessie Dolan retires after loss to Ballyboden in Leinster semi

Westmeath great Dessie Dolan pulled down the shutters on his playing career on a bittersweet afternoon in Mullingar as Garrycastle exited the AIB Leinster club championship.

Dessie Dolan retires after loss to Ballyboden in Leinster semi

[team1]Ballyboden St Enda's (Dublin)[/team1][score1]3-14[/score1][team2]Garrycastle (Westmeath)[/team2][score2]0-12[/score2][/score]

Westmeath great Dessie Dolan pulled down the shutters on his playing career on a bittersweet afternoon in Mullingar as Garrycastle exited the AIB Leinster club championship.

The 40-year-old former All-Star, a father of three, gave a strong display and top scored with 0-7 in 50 minutes on the field before confirming afterwards that he's hanging up his boots for good.

But the display still wasn't enough to prevent 2016 All-Ireland winners Ballyboden from progressing as expected with the Dubliners turning in a powerful display.

Goals from man of the match Robbie McDaid, Colm Basquel and sub James Holland did the trick for 'Boden who will play Eire Og of Carlow in the final in a fortnight.

The Firhouse Road side, managed by former Carlow boss Anthony Rainbow, will be hot favourites to win that one and to advance through to the All-Ireland series.

They were far too strong and slick for the Westmeath champions and remain unbeaten in both their league and championship games so far in 2019.

Garrycastle, Leinster champions back in 2011, returned to Mullingar armed with confidence and momentum after their own big wins over Killoe of Longford and Meath's Ratoath.

But their race was virtually run within a matter of minutes as Ballyboden sprung from the traps and opened up a significant 1-5 to 0-1 lead.

The 2015 Leinster champions were virtually unstoppable in this period despite starting without five-in-a-row Dublin hero Michael Darragh Macauley, Aran Waters and ex-All-Ireland winning captain Daragh Nelson.

They cut Garrycastle's defence asunder with McDaid, who started for Dublin against Tyrone in the Super 8s, scoring a superb solo goal in the sixth minute.

McDaid consistently burst forward from defence with penetrating runs while the Basquel siblings, Colm and Ryan, happily picked off the points during that early blitzkrieg.

It continued in that vein throughout the half with 'Boden picking off the points at their ease and freewheeling to a 1-10 to 0-5 half-time lead.

Dolan closed out the first-half scoring with a terrific score from distance after a clever dummy.

It gave the underdogs something to cling onto and they restarted with three points in a row, all converted frees from Dolan.

The popular pundit added another from a free in the 40th minute following a foul on his cousin, James, which reduced the gap to five points.

It will go down as his last point as a GAA player because he was taken off 10 minutes later to a huge ovation from the home support.

Unfortunately for Dolan and Garrycastle there was no fairytale comeback as 'Boden powered on to a big win with two more goals.

Colm Basquel struck the first of those in the 54th minute, a shot that deflected in off a defender, and before long Holland added the third after a clever one-two down the right.

Ballyboden St Endas scorers: C Basquel (1-3, 2 frees), R McDaid (1-1), J Holland (1-0), R Basquel (0-3), R McGarry (0-3), A Flood (0-2), C Keaney (0-1, 1 free), D O'Reilly (0-1).

Garrycastle scorers: D Dolan (0-7, 6 frees), Ger Heneghan 0-1 (0-1f), E Monaghan (0-1), J Dolan (0-1), J Nugent (0-1), James Sheerin (0-1).

Ballyboden St Endas: D Gogan; B Dwan, S Clayton, K Kennedy; S Gibbons, R McDaid, B Bobbett; D McCabe, D O'Mahony; A Flood, C Basquel, D O'Reilly; R Basquel, W Egan, R McGarry.

Subs: MD Macauley for McCabe (43), C Keaney for Flood (45), T Hayes for Egan (50), J Holland for O'Mahony (55), C Murray for R Basquel (58), C O'Reilly for McGarry (60).

Garrycastle: S Brennan; M McCallon, J Gaffey, J Donohue; D Harte, M Guiheen, G McCallon; J Barrett, J Sheerin; A Monaghan, J Dolan, M Monaghan; E Monaghan, A Gardiner, D Dolan.

Subs: J Nugent for E Monaghan (h/t), C Cosgrove for D Dolan (50), M Greene for A Monaghan (50), E Mulvihill for Donohue (55).

Ref: D Gough (Meath).

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