Dog-eat-dog in thrilling group of death
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.