Conal Keaney Praises Ballyboden’s Collective Spirit


Ballyboden St. Endas veteran Conal Keaney Once again contributes to a massive Leinster result for his side

No one can say that newly crowned Leinster Senior Football champions Ballyboden St. Endas don’t do things the hard way. Back in 2015 they were almost dragged into extra time facing Portlaoise in the provincial final. But the Firhouse Road men clung onto to win the game by a single point and claimed their first Leinster Senior Football title.

Four years ago, Conal Keaney contributed four converted frees to help his side win the title. And they went onto win the All Ireland Senior Football title a few months later. Yesterday Keaney, now 37, again played a pivotal role in horrendous conditions, to bring the Leinster title back to Dublin.

“I think we showed we really, really wanted it. I can’t believe we snuck out in the end.” Keaney told The Times.

“It was hard, it was impossible. Was the pitch playable? That’s a good question. I don’t know. But you couldn’t hop the ball. You hop the ball and it was spilling everywhere. It was like a bar of soap out there. It was about who really wanted it.”

Provincial win brightens up a dismal day

Weather conditions made yesterday provincial decider a hard game to play for both sides. Scoring was low, winds between 30-40 km per hour made for a very challenging hour of football. But Ballyboden, who were trailing with 56 minutes of time gone on the clock. It was time for the team to dig deep, something they’ve gotten very good at.

Warren Egan, Michael Darragh Macauley and Ryan Basquel stepped up to close off the game and finish two points clear of opponents Éire Óg. And Keaney paid tribute to Anthony Rainbow for holding this group of players together.

“When Rainbow became involved, his character really shone through on the team, just galvanises the whole squad and everyone wants to keep battling for everyone. I know every team says that but this team is all about the collective, not about any individual.”