Dog-eat-dog in thrilling group of death

Bray People - - SPORT -

BALLYMANUS BAL­LI­NA­COR 0-15 0-09

WOW, what a sen­sa­tional bat­tle this D’Arcy Sand In­ter­me­di­ate Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship is turn­ing into, es­pe­cially in this group of death, where it’s dog eat dog, with score dif­fer­ence gone out the win­dow due to walk-overs.

It will be like win­ning a cham­pi­onship alone,to qual­ify out of this group, with the re­sults else­where over the week-end. It was near neigh­bours Ballymanus and Bal­li­na­cor turn to serve up the next chap­ter in this in­trigu­ing saga, in serene con­di­tion’s in Pearse’s Park, Ark­low on Satur­day evening last.

Mark Kenny pointed in the open­ing minute af­ter a great pass from Paddy Byrne to draw first blood for the Bil­lies.Roan Lynch added a sec­ond and the in­dus­tri­ous Padraig Byrne made it three points in the open­ing four min­utes be­fore Bal­li­na­cor knew where they were. Ger Byrne was fouled up the other end and pointed the re­sul­tant free for Bal­li­na­cor’s opener in the sev­enth minute as they set­tled into the game.

Both sides traded pointed frees from Padraig Byrne and Ger Byrne. Paddy Byrne landed a smash­ing 50m to split the posts to put the Bil­lies 0-05 to 0-02 up.

James Mur­phy pointed af­ter a fine pass in from Dan Dowl­ing for Bal­li­na­cor. Chris Mur­phy won the kick-out and found Conor Par­sons with a sub­lime pass, who laid off to Ger Byrne who raised an­other white flag as Bal­li­na­cor were start­ing to find some mo­men­tum. Up the other end, Padraig Byrne broke through two tack­les and his shot was bril­liantly saved and cleared by goalie Ciaran O Neill.

Ger Byrne lev­elled mat­ters with a pointed 45m free af­ter a Ballymanus back had han­dled the ball on the ground in the 20th minute.

Martin Byrne pumped in a high ball and full back Sean O Neill put it out for a 45. Up stepped Ger Byrne once again to split the posts to give Bal­li­na­cor the lead for the first time in this tight game.

Mid­fielder Dar­ragh O Keefe won the re­sul­tant kick-out and landed the fi­nal score of the half to leave it 0-06 a piece at the in­ter­val. Ballymanus blitzed Bal­li­na­cor in the open­ing minute off the restart, when Dar­ragh O Keefe pointed within ten sec­ond’s and Mark Kenny had an­other point on the board af­ter 53 sec­ond’s as goalie Ciaran O Neill heard the wrath of his man­ager,

Joe Mur­phy. Ciaran Whe­lan pointed an­other a minute later as the Bil­lies drove on for this defin­ing pe­riod of the match.

Whe­lan pointed a free and Mark Kenny hit an in­spi­ra­tional point to put Ballymanus five points up with-out re­ply in the 38th minute. Bal­li­na­cor’s first at­tack of this half should have yielded a goal but a Dan Dowl­ing shot just cleared Bren­dan Doyle’s cross­bar. Ro­nan Phe­lan was brought on for Bal­li­na­cor. At the end of the third quar­ter, Bal­li­na­cor thought they had won a free when Ger Byrne was brought down, Play On, was the call from the ref, how­ever Ger Byrne had to go off in­jured mo­ments later, a mas­sive loss to them at this stage. Mark Kenny tagged on an­other point af­ter a great pass from Padraig Byrne.

Conor Par­sons hit a great point for Bal­li­na­cor to leave it a five point de­fecit with 50 min­utes on the clock. Bal­li­na­cor ap­plied some pres­sure but not con­vert into score’s they badly needed.

Ciaran Whe­lan set­tled things down for the Bil­lies when he pointed an­other free. Paddy Byrne fi­nally put the nail into Bal­li­na­cor’s cof­fin with a good point in the 55th minute. Bal­li­na­cor hit the last score of the game with a point from David Carter to bring an end to this bat­tle. Ballymanus go on to meet un­beaten Rath­new, while Bal­li­na­cor will fancy get­ting back on track against near neigh­bours Aughrim in the next round, which will be piv­otal to­ward’s qual­i­fi­ca­tion to the knock-out stages for all sides.

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