Joy for Ballymanus
Jack Murphy Cup retained after battle
BALLYMANUS 5-6 ANNACURRA 3-7
THE late Jack Murphy would have thoroughly enjoyed this tournament final played in his memory under lights in Annacurra last Friday night in which his beloved Ballymanus got the better of a gallant Annacurra after a belter of a football match.
From the opening goal after 30 seconds from Sean Harmon to the closing goal from Tom Parker with 60 seconds of normal time left on the clock this was a hugely entertaining clash with fine scores and positive football on display before a healthy crowd who turned out to cheer on their young players and honour the memory of a staunch Ballymanus man.
Harmon’s goal came about thanks to a long ball delivered in from Knockananna’s Cathal Sheehan. The Ballymanus contingent were boosted by a number of players from their neighbouring village and Sheehan certainly caught the eye during this encounter as he covered acres of ground from the middle of the field.
Annacurra struck back immediately with a fine goal of their own through Cian Harper whose ripper of a shot flew in over the hands of the Ballymanus netminder. Two goals after 120 seconds, the crowd were being spoiled.
Ballymanus were looking strong in the early stages and they added two fine points, the first from Oisin Morrissey and the second from Ewan McCrea to help them to a 1-2 to 1-0 lead.
But Annacurra were lethal on the break. A ball from Evan Doyle to Fionn Moules saw the Anna- curra man rifle home to the back of the net and when Adam Healy pointed after Ballymanus shold have cleared the home side led by 2-1 to 1-2.
Oisin Morrissey reduced the deficit with a wicked score for Ballymanus but Conor Byrne swung over two points (one free) to help Annacurra out to a 2-3 to 1-3 lead after 20 minutes of pulsating action.
Two Ballymanus wides were followed by their second major, this from the boot of Oisin Morrissey and things were looking even better for the Gap side when Adam Kinsella (another fine Knockananna footballer it should be noted) produced what may go doan as the pass of the century to put Ewan McCrea through for a superb goal.
Cian Fitzgerald would find the Ballymanus net shortly afterwards and Conor Byrne would point at the death of the first half to send the hoe side in leading by 3-4 to 3-3 with a second half of tension and quality action to follow.
A strong start saw Conor Byrne increase the Annacurra lead to two points but back came Ballymanus with a bang thanks to a goal from Ewan McCrea and a fine point from Oisin Morrissey.
James Murray and Fionn Moules stopped the rot for Annacurra to level the game before a period of wayward shooting would bring us to the 56th minute where Sean Harmon walloped over a delicious point to to return Ballymanus to the front.
Conor Byrne for Ballymanus fired over a free two minutes later before Tom Parker killed off the brave and talented challenge of Annacurra with a stunning goal to leave the final score reading 5-6 to 3-7.
Ollie Murphy, son of the late Jack, spoke warmly about the tournament and the effort that both teams had put in on the night. He thanked the Annacurra club for hosting the game and for providing such excellent opposition and he offered his gratitude to his own players for their huge efforts and to the large crowd who turned up on the night to celebrate the memory of one of their own.
Scorers – Ballymanus: Ewan McCrea 2-1, Oisin Morrissey 1-3, Sean Harmon 1-1, Tom Parker 1-0, Conor Byrne 0-1 (f).
Annacurra: Conor Byrne 0-4 (1f), Fionn Moules 1-1, Cian Harper 1-0, Cian Fitzgerald 1-0, James Murray 0-1, Adam Healy 0-1.
Annacurra: 1. Killian Mulhall, 4. Jamie Wolohan, 3. Arran Keogh, 7. James Murray, 2. Ryan Harper, 8. Conor Byrne, 5. Cian Fitzgerald, 11. John Moran, 6. Evan Doyle, 12. Cian Harper, 10. Adam Healy, 9. Fionn Moules, 14. Sean Weld.
Ballymanus: 7. Adam Byrne, 11. Sean Harmon, 12. Ewan McCrea, Callum McCrea, 15. Craig Evans, 6. David Viera, 25. Conor Byrne, 10. Sean Murphy, 2. Caolin Goetelen, 9. Tom Parker, 3. Fionn Morrissey, 8. Oisin Morrissey, 4. Enda Goggin, 5. Cathal Sheehan, 13. Adam Kinsella.
The Ballymanus team who defeated Annacurra in the Jack Murphy Cup final in Annacurra.
Annacurra, who lost out to Ballymanus. Inset: Alice Murphy presents the Jack Murphy Cup to Tom Parker.