AIB Leinster Club SFC: Ballyboden reach decider
6fsAIB Leinster Club Semi-Final
BALLYBODEN ST ENDAS (DUBLIN) 3-14 GARRYCASTLE (WESTMEATH) 0-12
By Paul Keane at TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar
Former All-Ireland champions Ballyboden St Endas cut loose with a powerful display at TEG Cusack Park to storm through to the AIB Leinster club football final.
A strong start that included a Robbie McDaid goal allied to second-half majors from Colm Basquel and James Holland propelled the 2016 All-Ireland winners comfortably through to the decider.
They'll face Eire Og of Carlow on December 8 in what will be an intriguing final for 'Boden boss Anthony Rainbow who previously managed Carlow and a number of the Eire Og players.
Ballyboden are already second favourites to regain the All-Ireland they previously won in 2016 and will go into that provincial final in a fortnight with expectation upon them.
McDaid was terrific for them, bursting forward from defence and pinching 1-1 in total while the Basquel brothers, Colm and Ryan, contributed 1-6 between them.
It was a bittersweet day for 40-year-old Garrycastle and Westmeath great Dessie Dolan who played his last game for his club and confirmed his retirement afterwards.
He top scored for the Athlone side with seven points and gave a strong display until he was taken off after 50 minutes.
Garrycastle, Leinster champions back in 2011, returned to Mullingar armed with confidence and momentum after 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 Firhouse Road side were virtually unstoppable in this period despite starting without five-in-a-row 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 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 may very well be 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 Holland added the third soon after after a clever one-two down the right.
Scorers for Ballyboden St Enda's: Colm Basquel 1-3 (2fs), Robbie McDaid 1-1, James Holland 1-0, Ryan Basquel 0-3, Ross McGarry 0-3, Alan Flood 0-2, Conal Keaney 0-1 (f), Darren O'Reilly 0-1.
Scorers for Garrycastle: Dessie Dolan 0-7 (6fs), Ger Heneghan 0-1 (f), Eoin Monaghan 0-1, James Dolan 0-1, Jason Nugent 0-1, James Sheerin 0-1.
BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S: Darragh Gogan; Bob Dwan, Shane Clayton, Kieran Kennedy; Sean Gibbons, Robbie McDaid, Brian Bobbett; Donogh McCabe, Declan O'Mahony; Alan Flood, Colm Basquel, Darren O'Reilly; Ryan Basquel, Warren Egan, Ross McGarry.
Subs: Michael Darragh Macauley for McCabe (43), Conal Keaney for Flood (45), Tom Hayes for Egan (50), James Holland for O'Mahony (55), Cian Murray for R Basquel (58), Ciaran O'Reilly for McGarry (60).
GARRYCASTLE: Sean Brennan; Mark McCallon, John Gaffey, Jack Donohue; Doron Harte, Matthew Guiheen, Gary McCallon; Justin Barrett, James Sheerin; Andrew Monaghan, James Dolan, Michael Monaghan; Eoin Monaghan, Alex Gardiner, Dessie Dolan.
Subs: Jason Nugent for Eoin Monaghan (h/t), Conor Cosgrove for D Dolan (50), Mickey Greene for Andrew Monaghan (50), Eoin Mulvihill for Donohue (55), Ger Heneghan for Michael Monaghan (57).
REFEREE: David Gough (Meath).