South Dublin’s Ballyboden St Enda’s is one of the country’s bigger clubs with the Knocklyon club winning eight senior county titles in the past 10 years, six in hurling (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013) and two in football (2009 and 2015).
The club was founded in 1969, and due to the huge population growth in the area field about 70 teams in different grades and codes. It is also where golfers Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley played GAA.
The ladies scene is strong too, with the club winning two All Ireland football titles, as well as nine Dublin and one Leinster camogie titles.
In fact, four years ago the club’s football scene was in trouble, with most of their men’s recent success coming in hurling. And now they find themselves in the highest profile football match possible. Stepping into the unknown, this is their first All Ireland final, as on their previous attempts after winning the county they failed to reach even the provincial deciders.
Although the club does not favour one discipline over the other, a new chair of the football committee has made all the difference.
When Ger Flaherty took on the role he focussed on strength and conditioning from minors up to seniors, and the introduction of Conor Deegan from Kilmacud Crokes and County Down, along with Andy McEntee have started a new footballing era at the club.
Ballyboden filled 12 buses with supporters for their semi-final win, after extra time, against Clonmel Commercials and they expect to pack four more on St Patrick’s Day.
Ironically, many of their club members hail from Mayo; the home county of their All Ireland opposition. About 30-40 per cent of our club is made up from Mayo,” a club spokesperson told the Journal.
“When Dublin have played Mayo in recent years Ballyboden is always full with visitors. This is going to be a great occasion for the Mayo people in the club.”
In their semi-final they too needed extra time as they beat Clonmel Commercials by five points after an additional 20 minutes.
They capitalised on a black card to Clonmel’s star player Michael Quinlivan, putting two points past them in the first period of added time, before an unanswered three in the second 10 minutes. At time of going to press Paddy Power offer odds of 5-2 for them to lift the Andy Merrigan cup.