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Fr. Minihan Cup Final - Ballina 1-07 Ballinahinch 0-08

posted 10 Mar 2011, 14:37 by Unknown user
Ballina retain Intermediate league title The introduction of super sub Brian Stritch mid way through the second half proved vital as Ballina overcame a tough Ballinahinch side to claim the intermediate league title on Sunday afternoon.

As Brian Stritch entered the fray Ballina were trailing by five points and looked beaten, but a goal and a point in quick succession from the substitute, along with two points from the outstanding Brian O'Connor was
enough to see the Shannonsiders over the line.

The game started with referee Martin Griffin awarding an early free to Ballina when wing back Brian O'Connor was fouled by Ballinahinch's Liam Berkery and O'Connor duly pointed the free. Not long after that O'Connor
fouled Berkery and the resulting free was also sent over the bar, this time by the deadly accurate Ger Griffin.
Brian O'Connor was Ballina's only scorer in the opening half, his second point coming from a 65' in the 20th minute. Ballinahinch were finding it hard to hit the target as well and most of their scores came from placed balls, Ger Griffin hitting four magnificent frees from a variety of angles.

Only two Ballinahinch men managed to register points from play during the first period, these came from captain John Foley and Shane Healy. Foley's point was a contender for score of the game, having been struck from nearly ninety yards. Shane Healy's point was hit from nearer the goal, but was still impressive as it was created by a neat hand pass from Shane McGrath. The Tipp star was unable to register a score for himself during the game, but provided quality ball into the forwards throughout the sixty minutes.

Ballinahinch began the second half with the same fifteen as started the game, but Ballina opted to bring in Stephen Stritch for Paul Ryan at centre forward. Stritch played well following his introduction and was a thorn in the side of the Ballinahinch defence throughout the second period.

The second half seemed to be continuing in the same vain as the first, with Ballinahinch free taker Ger Griffin punishing the indiscipline of Ballina, the first of his second half frees came around the forty minute mark.

Soon after that Stephen Stritch was fouled on the 21-yard line and his fellow substitute Brain Stritch stepped up to hit the free. He bravely opted to go for goal, only to have his shot deflected out for a 65' by Ballinahinch's reliable goalkeeper Sean Berkery. Brian O'Connor was again on hand to point the 65'.

It was around then that Ballina, who won this title last year, began to fight their way back into the game, with both Stritch's instrumental in helping their side gain the upper hand.Brian Stritch's goal came in the 50th minute, an opportunistic double after the shot of T.J. O'Connell was blocked away by Ballinahinch goalkeeper Sean Berkery. Stritch struck again just a minute later with a fine point from just outside the 21'.
Ballinahinch pressed hard in last five minutes, desperately trying to regain the advantage, but they could only manage a pointed free from the faultless Ger Griffin late on in the half.

As Griffin and Shane McGrath went on the attack towards the end they were repelled again and again by sturdy Ballina backs like Pat Cosgrove, Thomas Collins and Rody Kennedy.

Ballina wing back Brian O'Connor sealed victory for his side with a superbly stuck free just before the final whistle. Ballinahinch will feel that they left this game behind them, having lead for almost fifty minutes, but full credit must go to Ballina for a resilient and gutsy performance.