JUST 90 SECONDS into the 2016 AIB All-Ireland club football final, Colm Basquel danced through the Castlebar Mitchels defence and fired a screamer to the net.
The stunning score put Ballyboden St Enda’s into a lead they would ultimately hold onto and they picked up their first ever club title that afternoon.
Over two and a half years on, Basquel has added three All-Ireland senior medals with Dublin and was on the bench for the 2016 and 2018 final wins over Mayo and Tyrone.
Yet at 22, he’s still waiting for his football career to truly lift off and has started just one Championship game for Dublin, the dead rubber demolition of Roscommon in the Super 8s last summer.
It was against that background that the blindingly fast forward made a quite extraordinary full championship debut for the Ballyboden hurlers in the semi-finals of the AIB Leinster club SHC yesterday.
He scored 3-3 from play against Coolderry, did the spadework for Conal Keaney’s goal, won the free that forced the game to extra time and drew three more frees right at the death that Paul Ryan converted in what was a three-point win.
Colm Basquel celebrates a goal with team-mate Conor Dooley.
Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO
“I spoke to Collie maybe two months ago after Dublin finished up,” said Ballyboden manager Joe Fortune, explaining how Basquel came to be part of the panel.
“He actually came out to me and chatted to me one night. He explained to me how much he loves hurling as a player and how he always did the whole way up. But he’d got a massive opportunity with Jim Gavin and the Dublin senior footballers.
“We set him a target – and he hit his target (against Coolderry). He’s that kind of a player who can be very special at times. He’s probably as special on a football field as he is on a hurling field.
“It’s not fair maybe to single out one player but I thought in general, did he answer what we asked him to do? Yeah, he did.”
It begs the obvious question what exactly Fortune and his management team asked of the debutant that he came up with such a memorable display?
“To score!” smiled Fortune.
Joe Fortune celebrates Ballyboden’s victory.
Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO
“Not necessarily to be direct, we just said it to him on the basis that he has the quality. People talk about other forwards around the country and Collie’s as good as them. Hurling, coming up along, was his number one sport.
“I just think he needs a little bit of work, he’s a bit raw yet. We’ll see how the next couple of weeks go and see will he start the next day first of all.”
Basquel’s father and uncle sat high up in the main stand at Parnell Park on Sunday as the former Dublin U21 football star displayed his full array of skills.
His father explained that Colm played little hurling in the last five years or so as he focused on underage and senior football with Dublin teams, winning an All-Ireland U21 football medal in 2017,
Yesterday’s performance against Coolderry, the 2011 Leinster champions, means he’ll be a marked man on Sunday week when they take on the might of Henry Shefflin’s Ballyhale Shamrocks.
“That’s a huge challenge,” said Fortune of the final, Ballyboden’s first since 2007.
“No matter what final you go to, there’s only one job to do and that’s to win it. Is Ballyhale going to be a massive challenge? Of course it is. But, you know what, I don’t think they’ll fancy us either. At the end of the day it’s two great teams going head to head in a Leinster final and it will be the best team that will win it on the day.”
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