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North IHC 5th Round - Ballinahinch 1-11 Ballina 2-23

posted 4 Aug 2011, 13:15 by Unknown user
Ballina remain unbeaten after group phase

Ballina 2-23
Ballinahinch 1-11
by Colin O'Brien in Dolla.

An impressive performance from Ballina was sufficient enough to overcome a disappointing Ballinahinch side in this North Intermediate Championship game last Saturday afternoon.
Ballinahinch entered this game in good spirits following an important win against reigning champions Shannon Rovers and would have fancied their chances of back to back victories. Their cause however was not helped by two noticeable absentees in Marcus Ryan and Alan Kelly, their squad down to the bare bones.
Ballina can look forward to the knockout stages with a certain amount of confidence. Their side is very settled looking, a half back line playing very well and a forward line that balances strength and hard work with an eye for goal. Much of this side has been knocking on the door in this championship for a number of years so maybe the time is now for them to make the break through.
Ballina started much the brighter and opened up a two point cushion early on with scores from Sean McKeogh and David Hickey from play. John Foley got Ballinahinch off the mark in the seventh minute after good work from Donnacha McGrath before Fergal Collins pointed for Ballina.
Eoin Kent was using his height and strength to good effect at centre forward for Ballina and set up T.J. O'Connell for his first score in the tenth minute. Cormac McGrath from a puck out picked out Mark Kelly and he narrowed the gap shortly afterwards from long range. Ballinahinch had the first goal chance of the game in the 13th minute as Ger Griffin played in Shane McGrath whose shot was brilliantly blocked on the line by Ballina corner back Rody Kennedy. Kennedy's luck held up as his clearance was very nearly blocked down right on his own line before Ballina cleared their lines.
Eoin Kent and Ger Griffin from a 65 swapped points before Kevin Cosgrove got a lovely score for Ballina from the left touchline followed soon after by a similar score by Fergal Collins after good work by Sean McKeogh as Ballina led 0-7 to 0-3 after fifteen minutes.
Ballinahinch upped their game and managed fine scores from Shane McGrath and Donnacha McGrath who probably should have goaled from close range. Ballina though, were giving as good as they got and David Hickey was very prominent at this stage. Two brilliant scores from him and a straight forward free kept Ballina five points in front.
Ballina were well on top at this stage and further points from Hickey and a 65 from wing back Brian O'Connor meant a lead of seven which could have been more had T.J. O'Connell's shot gone in instead of hitting the post in the 27th minute.
Credit to Ballinahinch though, they finished the first half very well. Firstly Ger Griffin narrowed the gap from a 65 before they got the first goal of the game. A long range free from Shane McGrath wasn't properly cleared and Ger Griffin pulled the ball to the net from a tight angle. Ballina responded well and got the last score of the first half, Sean McKeogh pointing on the run from out on the right touchline. At half time, they led 0-13 to 1-6.
The Shannonsiders continued to extend their lead at the start of the second half with David Hickey and Brian McKeogh both scoring from play. McKeoghs score was his last piece of action before being replaced by the experienced Brian Stritch who staked his claim for a starting berth with a very impressive cameo.
John Skehan pointed with a wonderful sideline cut for Ballinahinch while Thomas Collins replied for Ballina before two goals in a five minute period ended the game as a contest. T.J. O'Connell was the man who got both for Ballina, the first came in the 43rd minute, Eoin Kent found him with a handpass and he finished with aplomb. The second came after Ballinahinch net minder, Cormac McGrath made a fine save from Sean McKeogh and O'Connell tapped in the rebound to leave the scoreline at 2-16 to 1-8.
Ballinahinch did respond with a lovely score from Shane McGrath but Ballina were well on top, David Hickey and Eoin Kent both scored. Ballina piled on the scores late on, substitutes Michael Breen and Kevin Stritch pointed as did T.J. O'Connell and David Hickey twice from play. Ballinahinch had points themselves from Mark Kelly and Donnacha McGrath before Michael Breen rounded off the scoring in injury time to complete a fifteen point victory for Ballina.
Ballinahinch have much to improve on, Cormac McGrath did as much as he could in goals with some decent saves, Ger Grace had some good moments while Shane McGrath, John Foley and Mark Kelly tried hard further out the field. Ballina will be delighted with their performance. Rody Kennedy, Jerry O'Brien and Thomas Collins had fine games in defence while Sean McKeogh, Eoin Kent, David Hickey and TJ O'Connell were prominent in attack.

Ger Griffin: 1-2 (1f, 1 65'), Mark Kelly 0-3 Shane McGrath, Donnacha McGrath, John Foley(1 s/l) 0-2 each.