Balto sur­vive tough exam

English goal af­ter peno key

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE

BALT­IN­GLASS cleared a sig­nif­i­cant hur­dle last weekend when they came with an im­pres­sive burst to end Annacurra’s hopes of progress in the hunt for the Mi­ley Cup in 2018 and po­si­tion them­selves in third spot in the cham­pi­onship ta­ble.

A dev­as­tat­ing counter at­tack from Ciarán Wal­she’s men af­ter Frank Clune had pulled Annacurra back to within a sin­gle point with a sweetly struck penalty 16 min­utes into the sec­ond half proved the un­do­ing of John Hynes’ out­fit.

Clune’s ma­jor from the spot had made it 2-9 to 2-8 for Balt­in­glass af­ter a fran­tic sort of game, but Balt­in­glass swept up the field in Joule Park Aughrim and Dan Kelly’s ball across the face of the Annacurra goal was met by the hands of im­pres­sive full-for­ward Mikey English and he fin­ished the back of Bob Fitzger­ald’s net.

It was a blow from which Annacurra would never re­cover, and Balt­in­glass would drive hard for the line from here, ad­ding six points as the Annacurra chal­lenge melted away.

This was an in­trigu­ing bat­tle for the most part with some reck­less chal­lenges and sin­is­ter in­ten­tions on both sides keep­ing play­ers well and truly on their toes all over the field.

Key man in the early stages was Balt­in­glass cor­ner-for­ward Chris Heaslip who bagged 2-1 in­side the open­ing 10 min­utes to make Annacurra’s al­ready dif­fi­cult climb even steeper.

Frank Clune opened from a free af­ter Ian McDonald was pulled back. A Mikey English lay off to Dan Kelly saw the cen­tre half for­ward fire over the Balt­in­glass opener and then Heaslip showed nippy pace to gather a long Kevin Mur­phy ball, skip past Liam Moules and bury and low shot past Bob Fitzger­ald to give the Slaneysiders‘ sup­port plenty to cheer about.

The threat of Gearoid Mur­phy was one which Ciarán Wal­she had ob­vi­ously given plenty of thought and he de­ployed Pat Burke to try and curb the county man’s in­flu­ence on the game. There was lit­tle Burke could do to stop the Tip­per­ary na­tive from loft­ing over a pure beauty three min­utes in, in what was a per­fect re­ply to Heaslip’s ma­jor mo­ments be­fore.

The Balt­in­glass ploy of long balls and in­tel­li­gent run­ning pro­vided Chris Heaslip with the op­por­tu­nity of his sec­ond goal and he took it with aplomb; John McGrath the in­sti­ga­tor with a long ball to Dan Kelly who found Mikey English, on to Brian Lord, to Heaslip and bang!

Annacurra needed some­one to take charge of mat­ters and mid­fielder Stephen Mur­phy as­sumed that re­spon­si­bil­ity when he thun­dered up the field and wal­loped home past Mark Jack­son to make it 2-3 to 1-3 af­ter 13 min­utes at a key junc­ture when Balt­in­glass could well have pulled away.

But Balt­in­glass looked to have that bit more pol­ish around the field than their op­po­nents. They opened a 2-7 to 1-4 lead af­ter 24 min­utes thanks to points from Heaslip, Dan Kelly (two, frees), Mark Jack­son (free) (free) with a bomb from the ru­n­away train that was Mick O’Brien be­ing Annacurra’s only re­ply. O’Brien’s fine score on the gal­lop had been con­sid­ered as wide but ref­eree Noel Kin­sella con­sulted his sup­port staff and even­tu­ally the score was given.

John Hynes’ men fin­ished the half very pos­i­tively. A su­perb Gearoid Mur­phy score was fol­lowed by a Clive Ho­ran pointed free af­ter ex­cel­lent pres­sure on the Balt­in­glass kick-out over on the stand side and the sides re­tired at the break with Balt­in­glass lead­ing 2-7 to 1-6 with the Annacurra man­age­ment team hav­ing a heated de­bate with ref­eree Noel Kin­sella im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the half-time whis­tle sound­ing.

A stray Annacurra kick out pro­vided Balt­in­glass with their first score of the sec­ond half from the boot of John McGrath. A fine Stephen Mur­phy theft out the field al­lowed Annacurra at­tack and Ian McDonald prof­ited most from the mid­fielder’s lar­ceny when he split the posts af­ter a swift move up the field.

Dan Kelly and Frank Clune (free) ex­changed points and then Annacurra re­ceived a mas­sive boost when Mark Jack­son pro­duced a foot block on Shane O’Ke­effe with Noel Kin­sella spread­ing the arms wide. Frank Clune dis­patched the penalty and Annacurra were back to within one.

They say you are at your most vul­ner­a­ble im­me­di­ately af­ter scor­ing a goal and so it proved for Annacurra who were carved open by a rapid re­sponse from Balt­in­glass with English fin­ish­ing to the back of Fitzger­ald’s net for what would ul­ti­mately be the score that sent the air gush­ing from Annacurra lungs.

Balt­in­glass put the boot down from here. Annacurra moved Martin O’Brien out from full-back and pushed up in search of scores and they did look more threat­en­ing as a re­sult but Balt­in­glass were re­lent­less on the counter and points from Heaslip, John McGrath, Kelly (two frees), Jack­son (two frees) were more than enough in re­ply to points from Martin O’Brien and a Frank Clune free as Balt­in­glass marched to a de­served vic­tory.

Scor­ers – Balt­in­glass: Chris Heaslip 2-3, Dan Kelly 0-6 (4f), Mikey English 1-1, Mark Jack­son 0-3 (3f), John McGrath 0-2.

Annacurra: Frank Clune 1-3 (3f, 1p), Stephen Mur­phy 1-0, Gearoid Mur­phy 0-2, Clive Ho­ran 0-1 (f), Mick O’Brien 0-1, Alan Ho­ran 0-1, Ian McDonald 0-1, Martin O’Brien 0-1.

Balt­in­glass: Mark Jack­son; John Mur­ray, Ian Sheerin, Billy Cullen; Pa­trick Burke, Stephen Heaslip, Brian Nolan; Kevin Mur­phy, Jason Kennedy; John McGrath, Dan Kelly, Peadar Burke; Brian Lord, Mikey English, Chris Heaslip. Subs: Aaron Bar­rett for B Nolan, Sean O’Brien for B Lord, Jor­dan Deans for P Burke.

Annacurra: Bob Fitzger­ald; Shane McAl­lis­ter, Martin O’Brien, Liam Moules; Paul McDonald, El­liot Robin­son, Alan Byrne; Stephen Mur­phy, Mick O’Brien; Michael Healy, Alan Ho­ran, Ian McDonald; Clive Ho­ran, Frank Clune, Gearoid Mur­phy. Subs: Shane O’Ke­effe for A Ho­ran. Ref­eree: Noel Kin­sella (Kil­bride)

Jason Kennedy is tack­led by Annacurra’s El­liot Robin­son.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.