Twin terrors steer Baltinglass to comfortable victory
BALTINGLASS EIRE OG GREYSTONES 1-12 0-8
BALTINGLASS produced a dominant display in the first half to run out comfortable victors over a fancied Eire Og team at Avondale last Tuesday evening.
A goal and eight points from twin terrors Jack Timmons and Lee Furlong accompanied by an impressive defensive display from centre-back Tommy Cullen proved too much for the Greystones men to overcome.
The match started brightly for the east coast team though with talisman Willie O’Hagan pointing a free in the first minute to give them the lead for the only time in the contest.
On six minutes Balto took the lead they were never to relinquish.
A diagonal ball from marauding wingback John Whelan saw Jack Timmons bravely beat onrushing goalkeeper Dermot Blake and full-back Domanic O’Brien to the ball to palm it into the path of Lee Furlong as all three collided leaving the Balto full-forward with the simple task of rolling the ball into the empty net.
The major score seemed to deflate Eire Og and Balto took complete control of the match. If they did not claim clean ball in the middle third the half-back line of Whelan, Tommy Cullen and Mick Dowling took the scraps and drove the men from the west on.
This resulted in much territory and possession and gave Jack Timmons plenty of shooting practise. He opened his account from a free on ten minutes. Cullen’s distribution to his forward line was worth the admission fee alone.
From a Cullen pass, Timmons lost his marker and pointed a delightful effort with his right peg from out on the right touchline, that the watching Tommy Murphy would have been proud of back in his heyday. He added a free soon after.
More dominance at midfield saw a beautiful fetch from Niall Kirwan, before he fed Stephen Quinn, who off loaded to Furlong who clipped another score to stretch the advantage to five. More Eire Og indiscipline gave Timmons his fourth of the evening after only 15 minutes.
When Eire Og did launch an attack and get beyond midfield, the workrate and hassling qualities of the Balto rearguard came to the fore and they snuffed out the danger.
On a sidenote a shuddering shoulder collision between Greystones powerhouse Anto Byrne and Balto’s James Keane sounded and looked like two stags clashing on the nearby Avondale house estate as neither man gave an inch.
Balto closed out the first-half scoring with another Timmons free and wing-forward Robin Farrell pointing a beautiful effort on the run after collecting his own breaking ball to deservedly lead by nine at the interval.
Eire Og received a rollicking at half-time from manager Eddie Davis as they came out fighting.
O’Hagan pointed a free within seconds before Balto resumed control. Timmons pointed another free followed by an audacious right-footed effort from Mark O’Shaughnessy way out on the right wing. A poor kick-out by Blake was capitalised on by Brian Lord who slipped a simple point before Kirwan galloped through to make it 1-11 to 0-2 with 20 minutes left. It looked like it could get embarrassing for the seaside club.
However, a purple patch saw them kick the next six scores, as an unlikely comeback seemed just about on. On 43 minutes O’Hagan pointed his third free before they finally scored from play, Cian O’Flaherty pointing a gorgeous effort from 35 yards out ten in from the touchline into the complex end.
To prove it was it was no fluke he followed up with an effort from 50 yards out moments later.
When full-forward Daniel Webb set O’Flaherty in on goal only a last-gasp diving block by Cullen deprived a near certain goal.
From the resulting 45 Darren Quigley pointed and preceded to give an exhibition of place kicking off the ground as he pointed two more classy efforts from distance to narrow the scores to six points.
The Greystones men were on top now but never really looked like overtaking the third favourites for the junior crown. It was in fact Balto who closed out the scoring after good interplay between Furlong and Kirwan freed up Timmons who stroked nonchantly through the uprights for his seventh point of a fruitful evening.
Eire Og will regret the opening half where they left themselves too much to do but the second half will renew confidence for the challenges ahead.
They had good performers in centre-back Matt Maguire and Cian O’Flaherty, their stand-out player was Daniel Webb who battled gamely till the end.
For Balto a good all round team effort was what pushed them over the line.
They did take the foot off the gas in the second half, their best performers were Furlong and Timmons but Tommy Cullen was man of the match with an outstanding display of positioning, bravery, distribution and leadership when it was most needed from centre-back.
Scorers: Baltinglass: Jack Timmons 0-7 (0-5f), Lee Furlong 1-1, Robin Farrell 0-1, Brian Lord 0-1, Niall Kirwan 0-1, Mark O’Shaughnessy 0-1
Eire Og: William O’Hagan 0-3 (0-3f), Darren Quigley 0-3 (0-3f), Cian O’Flaherty 0-2