Ballinacor blitz brave Aughrim
BALLINACOR AUGHRIM 2-14 1-09
A blistering opening 20 minutes was enough for Ballinacor to comfortably see off the challenge of Aughrim in this IFC Group 2 game at Pearse’s Park, Arklow on Saturday evening.
The men in green and white were out to get back on the winning trail, after last week’s defeat to Rathnew and after 20 minutes they led by 13 points. It looked set to be a complete demolition job as they also faced an Aughrim team down a man after Willie Kavanagh received a straight red after 10 minutes for an inexcusable and altogether stupid off the ball incident.
To Aughrim’s credit though they dug deep and showed brilliant character with their back’s to the wall and facing certain defeat. They took the game to Ballinacor in the second half and actually won the second half by four points to add a certain degree of respectability to the score line.
Rory O’Brien and the diminutive wing forward Shane McGuckian had good games for the losers but in Robert Lambert they possess undoubtedly one of the best centre backs in the county.
The Aughrim captain was at the centre of everything and took the game to Ballinacor, even when things looked very bleak for Aughrim.
Throughout the field though Ballinacor simply had far too much class for Aughrim. They looked reasonably solid at the back and in midfield but it was the Byrne trio in the full forward line where they simply took Aughrim to the cleaners. Kevin and Ger always looked dangerous and got some fine scores but it was Paddy Byrne who really put the fear of god in the Aughrim back line. There really is no substitute for pace and time and again he drove past flaying tackles, kicking three points himself and setting up many other scores.
The game actually began with Aughrim on the front foot. Conor Phelan made a good run in behind and was dragged down enabling the trusty boot of Robert Lambert to convert the close in free off the ground. They attacked again and Patrick Kavanagh’s goal effort from a tight angle was just wide but it wasn’t long before Ballinacor turned the screw.
Ger Byrne turned sharply and got a shot away which was well saved by Brian Lynch but he was being fouled and he duly dusted himself off to open Ballinacor’s account after 5 minutes with a pointed free.
Things started to unravel for Aughrim rapidly after this. Brian Hanlon caught on the left wing as Aughrim seemed to stop momentarily as there was confusion over whether the mark was called. Hanlon didn’t wait as he arced in for goal. His shot was saved but straight into the path of Ger Byrne who had a simple finish after Aughrim had a melt down at the back.
Ronan Doyle soon added a point before Ger Byrne opted to fist over when a goal was on.
Aughrim’s nightmare opening continued as in the 10th minute Willie Kavanagh was deservedly shown a straight red card after sprinting in from 30 yards and striking one of the Ballinacor forwards. Paul Lacey soon followed him to the line as he received a black card for some choice words towards referee Pat Dunne.
Ger Byrne, Conor Parsons and Hanlon added points for Ballinacor before Kevin Byrne tapped into an empty net as Brian Lynch in the Aughrim goal palmed the ball down in an attempt to stop a point going over.
After 20 minutes Ballinacor led by 13 points and one really feared for Aughrim as every time Ballinacor attacked they looked like scoring. But thereafter the game seemed to break up and the flow of scores for Ballinacor slowed considerably.
Whether Ballinacor took there foot off the pedal or not there’s no doubt that Aughrim got stuck in and didn’t let their heads drop as they kept battling for every ball.
Robert Lambert kicked two frees either side of the interval to reduce the deficit to 11 before Rory “Rooster” O’Brien caught, turned and swung a left foot effort into the top right corner to the delight of Aughrim’s players and management alike.
Aughrim kept batting away as Patrick Kavanagh and Conor Phelan with a high effort from the stand side got in on the scoring act but in truth Ballinacor’s lead never really looked threatened as they were able to keep ticking over with a few points here and there.
There will be much to work on but Ballinacor will be delighted to be back on the winning track.
Scorers - Ballinacor: Ger Byrne 1-5 (0-2 frees), Kevin Byrne 1-2, Paddy Byrne 0-3, Conor Parsons 0-2, Brian Hanlon 0-1, Ronan Phelan 0-1.
Aughrim: Robert Lambert 0-7 (all frees), Rory O’Brien 1-0, Conor Phelan 0-1, Patrick Kavanagh 0-1.
Ballinacor: Ciarán O’Neill, John Devitt, Martin Byrne, John Paul Byrne, James Byrne, Philip Byrne, Chris Murphy, Ronan Phelan, Daniel Dowling, James Murphy, Conor Parsons, Brian Hanlon, Paddy Byrne, Ger Byrne, Kevin Byrne. Subs: Tyrone Byrne for Kevin Byrne (44 mins), Mick Dowling for Conor Parsons (48 mins), David Greene for Paddy Byrne (50 mins).
Aughrim: Brian Lynch, Paul Lacey, Oisín Doyle, Jamie Fleming, Ian Clancy, Robert Lambert, Willie Kavanagh, Micheal Brennan, Eoin Forsyth, Patrick Kavanagh, Conor Lambert, Shane McGuckian, Richard Keegan, Rory O’Brien, Conor Phelan. Subs: Willie Byrne for Paul Lacey (Black Card, 13 mins), Frank Byrne for Richard Keegan (53 mins), Diarmuid Whelan for Shane McGuckian (58 mins).
Referee: Pat Dunne
Donard-The Glen’s Conor Healy tries to shake off the attentions of Carnew full-back Paul Nolan in Baltinglass. Photo: Joe Byrne