Ballyboden St Endas’ timing couldn’t have been better as they staged a late burst to claim their second Leinster title in four years in an attritional game in MW Hire O’Moore Park.
Thanks to a Seán Gannon score in the 55th minute, Éire Óg led by a point going into the final minute when substitute Warren Egan let fly and found his range following a series of passes.
Ryan Basquel followed it with his second of the game, a beautifully judged kick from distance and another replacement Michael Darragh Macauley sealed the win with a fisted point deep into additional time.
It was tough on Éire Óg who had battled tigerishly in their defending but Ballyboden had bossed the majority of proceedings in conditions that were close to unplayable never mind difficult. The teams had been tied 0-3 apiece at the interval.
Facing a gale in the first half, Ballyboden dominated territory and possession but didn’t muster a shot at posts until the eighth minute and it was the 23rd minute before they registered their first score.
Éire Óg’s purple patch was so quick you could have missed it, three points in approximately 90 seconds. After Ross Dunphy kicked an 11th minute point to finish off a counter attack, Éire Óg turned over Ballyboden’s kick-out and Seán Gannon sent a breeze-assisted strike over the bar.
They repeated that trick when again Ballyboden were found wanting with their short restart and Christopher Blake took advantage. Needless to say, Darragh Gogan punted his next kick-out.
Because of the elements, Ballyboden had to carry far into the Éire Óg half and the Carlow champions were happy to stay back in numbers and crowd them out. Alan Flood was trying his best and he was involved in a move which prompted Éire Óg goalkeeper Ricky Keating to be sharp in snuffing out a Colm Basquel goal opportunity.
It wasn’t until Colm Basquel found his range after Conal Keaney broke down a Gogan 45 that Ballyboden had something to show for their better performance in general play.
Keaney turned scorer in the 28th minute and a Ryan Basquel free followed a minute later when Mark Fitzgerald was booked for bringing down Flood.
C. Basquel, C. Keaney. R. Basquel (1 free) (0-2 each); W. Egan, M.D. Macauley (0-1 each).
R. Dunphy, S. Gannon (0-2 each); C. Blake, J. Morrissey (0-1 each).
D. Gogan; B. Dwan, S. Clayton, C. Flaherty; K. Kennedy, R. McDaid, B. Bobbett; D. McCabe, D. O’Mahoney; A. Flood, C. Basquel, D. O’Reilly; R. McGarry, R. Basquel (c), C. Keaney.
M.D. Macauley for D. McCabe, S. Gibbons for B. Bobbett (both 40); W. Egan for A. Flood (49); T. Hayes for R. McGarry (50); J. Holland for C. Keaney (57).
R. Keating; B. Kavanagh, M. Fitzgerald, J. Lowry; R. Mahon, M. Furey, P. McElligott; J. Morrissey, E. Ruth; R. Dunphy, S. Gannon, C. Hulton; D. O’Brien, C. Mullins, C. Blake.
K. Chatten for P. McElligott (inj 17); D. Hayden for C. Mullins (44); N. Quinlan for C. Hulton (56);
Referee: F. Smyth (Offaly).