A truly memorable weekend was hosted in Marley Park last weekend as Ballinteer St Johns hosted the Division 1 football feile. Having been pitted in a group against St. Vincents, St. Brigids and Fingallians, the boys had a tough job ahead of them to qualify for the Semi Final on Sunday morning.
Vincents were first up on pitch 1 and it was a very nervous start by both teams with a score not being registered until the 10th minute. The teams soon settled down and the scores began to flow. The attack was lead superbly by captain Jack Lundy, who was battling flu all week, at centre forward with Conor Joyce and Conor Browne either side of him. The inside forwards of Luke Cullen and Luke Kenny were superb with their movement and picked off some beautiful points with Cullen scoring a great goal. Oisin Brennan, Luke Breathnach, Matt Lynch, Billy Hendley and Charlie Boyle all helped out in the forwards as well getting some lovely scores when introduced. The game ended 3-07 to 2-02 to Ballinteer and it was the perfect start.
Next up were Fingallians and it was a close run thing last time these teams met in the league and the lads were looking to guarantee a Semi Final with a victory. Again it was a cagey start but Ballinteer soon got into their groove and flew ahead of their opponents. Dylan Byrne made some crucial saves while full back Ben Millist and his two corner backs Liam Smith and Rob Callinan made sure any threats from Fingallians were dealt with. Hugh Grant led by example at centre back with Finan Chambers and David Reinhart supporting on the wings. While Ronan Cullen came back to mop up anything loose. Liam Walsh, Cormac O’Dwyer and Oisin Grady were also extremely solid when introduced. Liam Fenton and Paddy Quinn Glennon worked tirelessly in midfield to help both attack and defence as did Adam O’Brien when called upon. A fantastic 4-07 to 1-02 victory was rounded of by a great substitute appearance by Billy Hendley scring one goal and laying another on a plate for Conor Browne. This win not only guaranteed a Semi Final but guaranteed a home Semi Final.
The final group game ended up as a dead rubber as Brigids were already knocked out and Ballinteer had already topped the group so a home Semi Final against Oliver Plunketts was next in line on Sunday morning. In such a tightly contested game a goal right on the stroke of half-time gave Plunketts a four point lead. They came out strong in the second half as well and went six points clear with ten minutes remaining. It looked like everything was going wrong for Ballinteer as the hit the post on two occasions and the crossbar on another. However, Ronan Cullen had other thoughts on his mind! He won a breaking ball in midfield and took off beating four men before burying a ball into the top corner to breath new life into Ballinteer. Liam Fenton brought his shooting boots and slotted over some frees and scores from play that wouldn’t look out of place in a Senior football match and Ballinteer progressed to the final with a 2 point win much to the delight of the massive crowd in attendance.
Focus then switched to a final in Parnell Park that afternoon and Castleknock were the opposition. An early goal put Castleknock in the driving seat but Ballinteer battled on to stay in touch and the score was 1-04 to 0-04 at half-time. However, within the first 3 minutes of the second half Castleknock scored 3 goals to effectively end the game as a contest. Castleknock showed their class throughout the second half and won comfortably but Liam Fenton and Paddy Quinn Glennon kept chipping away with some fine points for BSJ.
As Castleknock raised the trophy, the Ballinteer boys looked on from the pitch and applauded their counterparts who were deserving winners on a weekend where our boys represented our club with distinction and pride. No doubt there will be a number of these togging out for our Senior footballers in the years to come.
You can see more photos of the weekend here, courtesy of Paul Lundy.