Bal­ly­murn hit back

First pro­vin­cial hur­dle is cleared

Wexford People - - SPORT - DAVE DEV­EREUX in New Ross

CROSS­ABEG-BAL­LY­MURN fought back from a four-point half-time deficit to safely ne­go­ti­ate the first hur­dle in the AIB Le­in­ster Club Ju­nior foot­ball cham­pi­onship in O’Kennedy Park, New Ross, on Satur­day.

Af­ter be­gin­ning brightly they were rocked back on their heels by two goals in the space of three first-half min­utes from the Car­low cham­pi­ons, who built up a head of steam to lead by 2-4 to 0-6 at the in­ter­val.

How­ever, the Wex­ford out­fit re­grouped well in the sec­ond-half and picked off a num­ber of eye-catch­ing points, with Bal­lon, who had only beaten Fe­nagh in the Car­low fi­nal three days ear­lier, look­ing more and more leg-weary as the game wore on.

Cross­abeg-Bal­ly­murn had five days ex­tra to re­cover from their ti­tanic tus­sle with Naomh Eanna and they cer­tainly looked to be the fresher side in the early stages, with two nice points from the busy Pádraig Fo­ley, ei­ther side of a Cormac O’Rourke dou­ble, putting them four to the good af­ter 13 min­utes.

A Michael O’Leary free mid­way through the half got Bal­lon off the mark, and mo­ments later they were level when, af­ter a flow­ing move in­volv­ing John Git­tens and Frank Fan­ning, Alan Kelly palmed the ball to the net to give them a timely boost.

The Car­low men were de­ter­mined to strike while the iron was hot and sec­onds later Dan O’Connor burst through the defence with real men­ace, but goal­keeper Ben Turner was quickly off his line to smother the shot.

They did have the green flag wav­ing again within a minute though, with O’Connor pick­ing out Liam Bren­nan with a peach of a pass from the left wing, and the full-for­ward did the rest, con­fi­dently steer­ing the ball past Turner to make it 2-1 to 0-4 with 19 min­utes on the clock.

Sam Kelly (free) and Pádraig Fo­ley pared two points off the lead but Bal­lon fin­ished the half strongly, with Liam Bren­nan twice split­ting the posts in style and Alan Kelly con­vert­ing a placed ball.

Bal­lon weren’t able to main­tain that pur­ple patch though, and Cross­abeg-Bal­ly­murn dragged them­selves back on level terms by the 45th minute, thanks to three Cormac O’Rourke points, and one from Conor Shovlin, who an­gled over a su­perb ef­fort from the left wing.

Bal­lon were dealt a fur­ther blow when de­fender Johnny Bren­nan was dis­missed af­ter be­ing shown a black card, fol­low­ing an ear­lier yel­low, and, af­ter O’Rourke and Frank Fan­ning ex­changed points from frees, Cross­abeg-Bal­ly­murn con­fi­dently closed out the game.

Paddy Dev­ereux slot­ted over af­ter gath­er­ing a short free from Sam Kelly, with Kelly him­self twice find­ing the range, be­fore sub­sti­tute Mark O’Connor grabbed the in­sur­ance point in in­jury time.

That score en­sured Cross­abeg-Bal­ly­murn’s first-ever ap­pear­ance in a Le­in­ster Club foot­ball cham­pi­onship game was a win­ning one, as their fine form in both codes con­tin­ues.

Cross­abeg-Bal­ly­murn: Ben Turner; Conor Gorm­ley, Oisín Fo­ley, Conor Bar­low; Martin Red­mond, Ro­nan Dev­ereux, Sea­mus Car­roll; Paddy Dev­ereux (0-1), Pádraig Fo­ley (0-3); Conor Shovlin (capt., 0-1), Sam Kelly (0-3, 2 frees), Cian Lam­bert; Oran Mad­dock, Robert Byrne, Cormac O’Rourke (0-6, 4 frees). Subs. - Bill Evis­ton for Car­roll, Car­roll for P. Fo­ley (temp.), Car­roll for Gorm­ley, Mark O’Connor (0-1) for Mad­dock, David Ke­hoe for Byrne.

Bal­lon: Colm Barry; Johnny Bren­nan, Shane Byrne, Ryan Holick; Joe Holden, Dan O’Connor, Lar O’Sul­li­van; Jim Nolan, Glen Pullen; Tom Mur­phy, Frank Fan­ning (0-1 free), John Git­tens; Alan Kelly (1-1, 0-1 free), Liam Bren­nan (1-2), Michael O’Leary (0-1 free). Subs. - Adam Feeney for Mur­phy, Joe Holden for Pullen, Rory O’Connor for O’Leary.

Ref­eree: Alan Coyne (West­meath).

Oisín Fo­ley of Crosss­abeg-Bal­ly­murn rac­ing on to the ball dur­ing Satur­day’s vic­tory against Bal­lon.

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