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North Intermediate Hurling Championship 4th Round 2012

posted 8 Sept 2012, 13:36 by Unknown user   [ updated 8 Sept 2012, 13:40 ]
Ballinahinch pull clear to reach semis   
Ballinahinch 2-20
Shannon Rovers 2-10
by Liam Hogan in Cloughjordan.
Ballinahinch produced a storming finish to overcome Shannon Rovers and claim a place in the semifinals for the North Intermediate Hurling Championship for the second year running on Saturday evening.
In a winner takes all match, Ballinahinch hit the right notes when they outscored their opponents 1-7 to nil in the final quarter as they produced some cracking scores with the advantage of an extra man which made little difference -Derek Horan’s dismissal in the 59th minute - as the winners were six points ahead at that stage. With the news that Silvermines had denied Newport in the other fifth round game, Ballinahinch learned that they face Ballina in the semi-finals and based on this performance, they could well reach the final for the first time since 1977.
But it looked far from easy in the early stages as Ballinahinch’s five-point lead was overturned with Rovers taking a one-point lead as the game approached half time. But in a sign of things to come, Ballinahinch hit two late points to head for the dressing rooms with a 1-11 to 2-7 interval lead.
Rovers needed early second half scores but good opportunities were wasted in the opening five minutes of the second half but still managed to level 1-13 to 2-10 by the 43rd minute.
But Ballinahinch regrouped and one minute later, a high delivery dropped in the edge of the square before Ger Griffen doubled to the net. From there on the Ballinahinch defence shut up shop as they denied Rovers with any room to create a score or two and up front, their forwards added 1-7 leaving their opponents bewildered with Liam Berkery, Brendan Ryan, Brendan Healy and substitute Raphael Ryan scoring some brilliant points, both from distance and the wing.
This was a great hour for Ger Griffen, Liam Berkery, John Foley and Shane McGrath with Alan Kelly, John Ryan (Bawn), and Brendan Healy well on top. Foley continues to be the heartbeat of the Ballinahinch side and another great performance earned him three points from play. Rovers on the other hand were very disappointing, the second year in which they have failed to reach the North semifinals. Remember they were North champions in 2010 but emigration has hit them very hard in the interim. Goalkeeper, Paddy Heenan, along with defenders, Enda Hogan, Alan Hannigan and Andrew Byrne tried hard. Up front, Austin Tierney, Tom Hogan, Padraig O’Meara and Alan Hogan had their moments.
Ballinahinch had the better of the exchanges in the opening quarter and a goal by Liam Berkery helped them into a fivepoint lead. But Rovers stormed back and two quick goals by Tom Hogan and Austin Tierney gave them a one-point lead and but on reaching half time, Ballinahinch recovered their grip and two more points gave them a 1-11 to 2-7 lead at the break. On the resumption, Shane McGrath fired over a 65. Padraic O’Meara replied from play and in the 37th minute, McGrath added a free. A quick response by George Hannigan narrowed the gap but Rovers search for an equaliser had to wait another six minutes – after some poor shooting it must be said – before Alan Hogan pointed a free.
The scoreline read 2-10 to 1-13 before Ballinahinch rushed into overdrive. Ger Griffin’s goal in the 44th minute set them alight and a splendid point from Liam Berkery left four between the sides. Meanwhile, Alan Hogan’s low drive from a twenty metre free was saved. Rovers came with more endeavour but met a strong and improving Ballinahinch defence. Ballinahinch had a chance or two at the other end before Brendan Ryan stretched the lead to five with a brilliant score out near the sideline.
Five minutes from time, Rovers won another close in free but Alan Hogan was denied for the second time with a 65 resulting. Rovers failed to convert with the dropping ball cleared away and with it Ballinahinch swung down field as the wily John Foley found the target. Rovers rallied again but their wides tally increased and with Derek Horan now dismissed, the Shannonsiders were a beaten side. The fresh legs from the Ballinahinch bench made another difference especially Raphael Ryan – on for the last quarter of an hour – when he scored his first point in added time. Shane McGrath added a 65 and with added time stretching past the fifth minute, Ballinahinch increased their lead through further points by Brendan Ryan and Raphael Ryan once more.
Man of the match: John Foley
Scorers: Ger Griffin 1-04, Liam Berkery 1-03, John Foley 0-03, Shane McGrath 0-3 (1f, 2 '65s), Adrian Kelly, Raphael Ryan 0-02.