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Denis' Meats North Intermediate Championship Semi-Final 2013

posted 19 Aug 2013, 11:07 by Unknown user

Ballina back within reach of first title.

Ballina 4-19
Ballinahinch 4-16

by Liam Hogan Nenagh Guardian.

Neighbours Ballina and Ballinahinch served up a game to remember as the lakesiders progressed to another North Intermediate final following an entralling semi-final on Saturday afternoon.
The only pity was that so many patrons missed out on the best game in the grade for years. Scores were level five times in the opening half.
This was the highest scoring semifinal since Kildangan overcome Burgess in the 2004 replay by 3-16 to 2-18, after extra time. It was a pity there had to be a loser and no player left the field without contributing to the feast.
Ballina had plenty in the performances of Patrick Cosgrove, Thomas Collins and Michael Breen who finished his side's top scorer, with man of the match Steven O'Brien also leading the way. There many other names one could add to the list.
The list of good contributors was as long with Ballinahinch also where Shane McGrath, Kevin Mulcahy, John Foley and Ger Griffin gave everything.
Ballinahinch left the starting blocks with a blistering three-point run in as many minutes with Ger Griffin, Adrian Kelly and Kevin Mulcahy on target. By the sixth minute, Ballina were level thanks to Eóin Sheehy, a free by Michael Breen and the equaliser by T.J. O'Connell.
Both sides swapped scores before Ballina went ahead after Jerry O'Brien found the target before Ballinahinch hit back to level through Ger Griffin with a free closely followed by an opportunistic Shane McGrath score.
It was level 0-6 each when Breen replied with a free and Ballina went one clear through Fergal Collins in the 19th minute.
Two minutes later Martin McKeogh left his goal-line to blast a penalty to the net leaving four points separating the teams.
Four minutes later Ger Griffin blasted a similar score past Martin McKeogh followed by a Donnacha McGrath point to level before Brendan Ryan gave Ballinahinch the lead once more.
Back came Ballina when Eoin Sheedy sent a bullet to the top corner of Cormac McGrath's net and in the remainder of the half, Ballina outscored their opponents 0-2 to 0-1 to take an interval lead of 2-9 to 1-9.
A Michael Breen free followed by a Steven O'Brien point from play helped Ballina go five points ahead, their biggest lead to date but three unanswered points brought Ballinahinch back into contention with 37 minutes gone.
Both sides swapped points before Steven O'Brien formed a one-two with Michael Breen for the later to grab Ballina's third goal. Five points separated the sides again with a quarter of an hour remaining.
However one could not take their eye of this game as the excellent Ger Griffin had Ballinahinch back within two points after grabbing his second goal with John Foley providing the final pass.
Points from Steven O'Brien and Eoin Sheehy increased the Ballina lead to four once again after 48 minutes but John Foley - who had moved to full forward at the interval - struck for Ballinahinch's third goal, two minutes later. However Ballina's twin strike force of Michael Breen and Steven O'Brien were a constant threat to the Ballinahinch defence and Breen with two points (1 free) plus one from Eoin Sheehy put Ballina four clear with six minutes remaining.
Not to be outdone, Ger Griffin replied with two frees but Michael Breen hit back with two points, one from a free, before another Griffin free left it at 3-19 to 3-16 as the game approached the final minute of normal time.
The goal fest continued as Steven O'Brien struck for Ballina's fourth goal and one would have thought that a six-point lead was enough to seal the win going into added time.
Not a bit of it. Ballinahinch rallied one more time and three minutes into additional time, their superb midfielder, Kevin Mulcahy was on hand to nab his side's fourth goal.
The question now on everyone's lips would Ballinahinch had enough injury time to grab an equaliser. Another ninety seconds followed but Ballina had held out. They were back in the final for the second year running.

Man of match: Stephen O'Brien (Ballina)

Scorers- Ballina: Michael Breen 1-10(0-6f), Stephen O'Brien, Eoin Sheehy 1-3 each, Martin McKeogh(1-0pen), Jerry, O'Brien, Fergal Collins, TJ O'Connell 0-1each.
Ballinahinch: Ger Griffin 2-09 (1-0pen, 0-7f), Kevin Mulcahy 1-02, John Foley 1-0, Adrian Kelly 0-2, Shane McGrath, Donnacha McGrath, Brendan Ryan 0-1.