Lights go out on crunch bat­tle in Balt­in­glass

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE

A clash that was warm­ing up nicely in Balt­in­glass last Fri­day evening had to be aban­doned by ref­eree Noel Kin­sella in bizarre cir­cum­stances af­ter the crowd had waited over an hour and 15 min­utes for the ar­rival of an am­bu­lance to take an in­jured player to hos­pi­tal.

With the game set to con­tinue once PJ O’Ke­effe had been tended to and with the am­bu­lance hav­ing just pulled up be­side the stricken player who in­jured him­self af­ter an awk­ward tan­gle with a Kiltegan man, all of a sud­den, the flood­lights went out leav­ing the west Wick­low venue in al­most com­plete dark­ness.

Sources in the Balt­in­glass club have said there were no is­sues with the lights what­so­ever and that eye­wit­nesses spot­ted some­one leav­ing the com­pound where the con­trols for the flood­lights are housed im­me­di­ately af­ter they were switched off.

It is un­der­stood that the Balt­in­glass club are irate fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent and the mat­ter was dis­cussed at a club meet­ing on Mon­day evening.

The game it­self was in­ter­est­ing al­beit low-scor­ing. Kiltegan were lead­ing 0-3 to 0-2 at the time when O’Ke­effe went down awk­wardly on his shoul­der. Af­ter ini­tial treat­ment an at­tempt was made to lift the cen­tre for­ward up to his feet, but he be­came weak and was re­turned to the ground where he re­mained for the next 75 min­utes as an am­bu­lance made its way from Naas.

Jacko Dal­ton opened the scor­ing for Kiltegan mo­ments af­ter Cathal Fitzger­ald fired a rasper at the Hol­ly­wood goal which Ian Burke pushed on to the cross­bar.

The game was tight and sport­ing at this stage al­though Hol­ly­wood would lose Mikey Healy to a blood sub briefly early on and they would lose Eoin Burke per­ma­nently af­ter eight min­utes af­ter he was pushed into the fence, in­jur­ing his knee in the process. It is un­der­stood that both Eoin Burke and PJ O’Ke­effe are out for the rest of the sea­sons from their re­spec­tive in­juries.

Tony Han­non equalised and then put Hol­ly­wood ahead with two frees but a Seanie Fur­long 45 and pointed free pushed Kiltegan ahead as they bat­tled bravely against a well or­gan­ised and hun­gry Hol­ly­wood de­fence.

How­ever, as the first half neared its con­clu­sion, O’Ke­effe went down and it was clear from the first mo­ments that he was se­ri­ously in­jured. Af­ter the ini­tial at­tempt to move him failed it was de­cided to wait for the am­bu­lance.

As the time dragged on, dis­cus­sion and phone calls were made in haste and a de­ci­sion was made that the game would be played to the fin­ish re­gard­less of when the am­bu­lance ar­rived.

When the medics ar­rived both teams were pre­pared to re­turn to bat­tle but shortly af­ter the lights went out ref­eree Noel Kin­sella sounded the fi­nal whis­tle and the crowd streamed out of the grounds.

Balt­in­glass GAA Club ground staff and of­fi­cials had the lights back up and run­ning within five min­utes but the de­ci­sion to aban­don the game had al­ready been taken.

In the in­ter­ven­ing time Kiltegan have given Hol­ly­wood a walkover in the re­fixed game set for Round­wood on Mon­day night last. This has forced a play-off game be­tween Rath­new and Hol­ly­wood to see who tops the group and takes the semi-fi­nal spot while Kiltegan will face AGB. Both games will take place this Satur­day in Joule Park Aughrim.

Hol­ly­wood: Ian Burke; Keith Traynor, Harry Wil­son, Sean O’Ke­effe; Conor Burke, Mikey Healy, Robert Houli­han; Ciaran Tyrrell, Robert Kelly; Matthew Kelly, Pa­trick O’Ke­effe, Cian Tyrrell; Stephen Kear­ney, Tony Han­non, Eoin Burke.

Kiltegan: Fer­gal Har­mon; Adam Wynne, Stephen Far­rell, John Far­rell; Luke Byrne, Colm Keogh, Liam Keogh; Rory Finn, Padraig O’Toole; Aaron Byrne, Cathal Fitzger­ald, An­thony Fur­long; Mikey Fo­ley, Seanie Fur­long, Jacko Dal­ton.

Ref­eree: Noel Kin­sella (Kil­bride)

Kiltegan’s Colm keogh gets his pass away de­spite Hol­ly­wood pres­sure.

Kiltegan’s Rory Finn tack­les Hol­ly­wood’s Matthew Kelly.

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