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2010 Intermediate Round 2 Vs Ballina

posted 7 Jan 2011, 14:03 by Unknown user

Fast finishing Ballina just edge derby clash

Ballina 2-15
Ballinahinch 0-13

by Kieran Mullarkey in Dolla

League champions Ballina began their tilt at championship glory with a hard fought win over a gutsy Ballinahinch side in ideal conditions on Saturday afternoon.

Ballina got a dream start when Ger Sheehy goaled in the very first minute. T.J. O’Connell’s searing pace caught out Ballinahinch’s Padraig Berkery and with the cover drawn across Sheehy placed his shot coolly past Ballinahinch keeper Sean Berkery.

Sheehy’s pace was again evident in the next play and this time the lively Ballina man pointed himself. At midfield, Ballina were particularly on top with Brian Stritch’s bat down falling to David Hickey and he pointed to open up an early fivepoint lead. Slowly Ballinahinch found some rhythm and with their first meaningful attack captain Donnacha McGrath pointed a close in free after Liam Berkery was pushed. McGrath then passed from a tangle of bodies to set up Michael Fitzgerald for a well-taken point before Tipp star Shane McGrath traded frees with the impressive David Hickey.

The second quarter was scrappy at best with neither side able to seize the initiative. On twenty minutes Ballina had a strong penalty appeal when Eoin Kent’s bustling run was rudely ended but they had to settle for another Hickey free. Donnacha McGrath tried hard to keep his side in touch with another free and then a good effort from play when he seized on a loose Ballina clearance.

Thomas Collins at centre back for Ballina caught the eye and he set up Jerry O’Brien for a great point from distance before David Hickey extended their lead to four after good work from Daniel Frawley.

Ballinahinch finished the half stronger with three fine long range points from the impressive duo of John Foley and Shane McGrath, to cut the deficit to just two points.

The early stages of the second half saw both defences on top, eventually Ballina pressure yielded a 65 which David Hickey duly dispatched. Ballinahinch then enjoyed their best spell with John Foley and Donnacha McGrath grabbing two points before Foley’s midfield partner Raphael Ryan hit a beauty after his initial effort was blocked.

The scoreboard showed a tied game and with Shane McGrath winning his tussle with Kevin Stritch it looked as though a shock could have been on the cards. But in the final twenty minutes Ballinahinch would score only twice and returns like that don’t win too many championship games.

In contrast the Ballina forwards found their stride, particularly David Hickey, and T.J. O’Connell. Hickey restored Ballina’s advantage with a free before O’Connell picked up a break from Eoin Kent to fire over.

O’Connell then hit the decisive score in the 50th minute. Sean Berkery saved his initial effort but seconds later Berkery strayed too far from his goals and O’Connell glided past him before driving it low to an empty net.

Berkery redeemed himself moments later with a good instinctive save from Kevin Cosgrove’s shot but the rebound again found an unmarked O’Connell and he tapped over to further add to Ballinahinch’s woes.

For all Ballinahinch’s endeavour their only rewards in the final quarter were a Donnacha McGrath free and a fine run and score from Shane McGrath.

With ten minutes remaining Ballina’s midfielder Paul Ryan collected another poor clearance and pointed to extend their lead before the notable David Hickey added two more in between a Kevin Cosgrove point as the class that saw them collect the title last year slowly began to re-emerge.

Man of the Match: David Hickey

Scorers: Ballina - D. Hickey 0-9 (0-3f, 2 65's), TJ O'Connell 1-03, G Sheehy 1-0, J O'Brien, K. Cosgrave, P. Ryan 0-1. Ballinahinch - D. McGrath 0-5 (0-4f), J.Foley 0-3, S. McGrath 0-3 (0-1f), M. Fitzgerald, R. Ryan 0-1 each.

Team: Sean Berkery (6); Paidi Berkery(6), Marcus Ryan (7), Brendan Healy (6); Thomas Grace (7), Shane McGrath (8), Ger Grace (7); John Foley (9), Raphael Ryan (7); Mark Kelly (7), Michael Fitzgerald (8), Liam Berkery (6); John Ryan (B) (7), Donnacha McGrath (8), Brendan Ryan (7). Subs: Cathal Bourke for B. Ryan.