Ballydesmond and Millstreet meet in back door clash
A SECOND throw of the dice brings Ballydesmond and Millstreet to Kiskeam on Friday evening for a round 2 engagement to the County IFC.
Both sides had cause foe rueful reflection after opening round defeats to Kanturk and Glenville. Championship babes Millstreet entered this campaign as 2014 co. JAFC champions yet they endured a tough baptism of fire on a defeat to a sharper Glenville.
At key stages, the victors dominated and possessed more zip in their game to land the spoils.
Credit Millstreet on offering plenty of spirit and resolve, recovering from a 0-7 to 0-1 deficit to come within a point of their opponents twice in the second half. Indeed Millstreet passed up on goaling opportunities after the break yet inconsistency proved to be their downfall.
Team wise, Millstreet will look to the guidance of Patrick Coleman, Michael Vaughan, Tadhg Collins, Mark Ellis, Paul Sheehan and Michael Murphy. Their hopes are dimmed by injury to Kevin Crowley and team captain Brian Sheahan is again unlikely to start.
Over recent years, Ballydesmond have reserved their best football for this championship. Defeated by Kinsale in round 1 last season, Ballydesmond enjoyed a promising run to overcome Cill na Martra before succumbing to Mayfield in a replay.
Against Kanturk to this campaign, Ballydesmond had their fancied opponents on the ropes during the closing exchanges and came ever so close to pulling the game out of the fire. Central to Ballydesmond’s charge was a powerful performance at midfield by Bertie O’Callaghan whose fetching ability and general workrate transferred onto colleagues such as John O’Keeffe, Liam and Shaun Murphy in defence in addition to Jerry Healy, Aidan and Niall Fleming effective upfront.
Of course, inter county player Donnacha O’Connor missed out for the opening round and his availability is again in doubt. Still Ballydesmond can take many positives from the display against Kanturk yet they came away empty handed.
Neither Millstreet nor Ballydesmond are expected to operate at full strength. That said, there were encouraging signs for both sides from their previous outings.
Competitive tussles between the pair have been few yet a close contest is predicted. Still Ballydesmond will fancy their chances, that comes on the basis of experience and some noteworthy performances in the grade since their elevation to intermediate ranks in 2008.