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09th Dec 2019

For a sub to do what Warren Egan did takes nerves of stainless steel

Niall McIntyre

For 50-odd minutes, Éire Óg almost deserved it.

Working like trojans, playing like their lives depended on it. Watching the Carlow side in Sunday’s Leinster club football final was an inspirational fare.

Joe Murphy’s team ruled the early exchanges through sheer fire and effort. By the 11th minute, they’d reeled off three without reply and it wasn’t until the 23rd that the Dublin kingpins breached their resistance with a Collie Basquel point.

With the wind having aided them, you worried for the Carlow side when they went into the dressing room all square at 0-3 apiece, but they came out for the second half even braver and hungrier.

The conditions were atrocious but the men of Éire Óg were horsing their sizeable frames into everything that moved. And so as the clock ticked towards 60, you thought a Sean Gannon point might have been enough.

You felt for a couple of moments, as the Carlow men closed off every attacking avenue with resolve and desire, that another big shock may be on the cards. 21 years on from their last final win, that Éire Óg might have been on for it again.

But just as their obituaries were being written, that’s when Ballyboden St Enda’s showed their class. First it was Warren Egan. The nerveless sub was only on the field a matter of moments before he demanded the ball and the initiative.

Watch his levelling score from 1.38 in the below clip, where a jink sets him up for the swing, and his right boot doesn’t let him down.

There were two Carlow men around him when he swung it over in the dying moments, and that was the point that grabbed the momentum and changed the game.

For a sub to come on and do something like that is incredible. Egan, who was a Dublin minor in 2014, made a priceless contribution here.

Ballyboden were roaring now and Éire Óg looked in bother. Having been shut out for the rest of the game, Ryan Basquel showed his character then. It’s a measure of a player that they can contribute handsomely even when a game isn’t going their way, and the older Basquel brother showed just why he was made the ‘Boden captain at the start of the year.

With the rain falling, the wind blowing and the crowd roaring, he called for it and he nailed it. Didn’t think twice about it, just hit it with conviction and won the game for his club.

They were two incredible points worthy of winning any game. You’d have to feel for Éire Óg, and their effort on this dreary day in Portlaoise was commendable but Ballyboden had more in their locker when it came down to the clutch.

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