Laragh win pulling up as derby turns into a damp squib

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - LIAM O’LOUGH­LIN

ON a damp, misty evening in Aughrim on Satur­day last, neigh­bours Laragh and Ballinacor crossed swords in the Darcy Sand In­ter­me­di­ate Football Cham­pi­onship.

Ex­pec­ta­tions of a close encounter in this derby match were wide of the mark as Laragh hit the ground run­ning and were 0-5 to 0-0 ahead be­fore Ballinacor opened their ac­count after nine min­utes.

John Nolan and Mark Mi­ley had the green and gold clad Laragh men two points up in as many min­utes. They were mov­ing the ball at pace and caus­ing all sorts of prob­lems for the Glen­malure men. Mark Mi­ley again, John Nolan with a fisted point and David Mi­ley from play con­tin­ued to push the Laragh men on.

The one-way traf­fic was halted when James Mur­phy opened the Ballinacor ac­count with a pointed free.

Ger Byrne fol­lowed al­most straight from the kick­out with a great point floated over from the road­side side­line into the town goal, and when the same player con­verted a close-in free to leave just a two-point gap after 11 min­utes, we thought that the Ballinacor side were back in busi­ness.

They had played poorly up to this point, ap­peared to have weath­ered the storm and were ready to make a game of it.

It turned out to be wish­ful think­ing. In­stead, from there un­til the half-time break it was Laragh who drove on, and grad­u­ally the scores mounted.

Fur­ther points from Mark Cullen, John Nolan (free) and a fine left-footed ef­fort from corner for­ward Eric Olo­han pushed Laragh into a 0-8 to 0-3 lead with three min­utes left in the half.

Full-for­ward Mark Mi­ley fin­ished the half as he had be­gun it, with two more points. The first of these re­ally should have been a goal, but it didn’t seem to mat­ter greatly as a 0-10 to 0-3 lead for Laragh left them com­fort­able at the break.

Apart from that brief rally dur­ing which they reg­is­tered their three points, Ballinacor had failed to get to the pace of the game and badly needed to shake them­selves in the sec­ond half.

Ger Byrne got the first score of the sec­ond pe­riod with a point after three min­utes, but Laragh re­sponded with points from Mark Cullen, Mark Mi­ley and David Mi­ley to lead by 0-13 to 0-4 ten min­utes into the half.

Conor Par­sons then stepped up to land one of his trade­mark long-range points from out­side the ‘45’.

On the three-quar­ter hour mark Ballinacor were awarded a penalty. Dean Carter’s shot to Peter Mer­ri­gan’s left was well blocked by the keeper and Ballinacor’s cup of woe over­flowed when the re­bound was kicked into the side net­ting. This was not go­ing to be Ballinacor’s day.

Myles Conway ar­rived on the field as a Laragh sub and pointed with his first touch of the ball. Re­ally that should have been a goal but, like Mark Mi­ley in the first half, it made no dif­fer­ence in the end.

The whole tempo of the play be­gan to ease as the game moved to­wards its in­evitable con­clu­sion. Conor Par­sons scored an­other point from dis­tance and John Nolan and David Mi­ley con­cluded the Laragh scor­ing, bring­ing their tally to 0-16.

Ballinacor moved Daniel Dowl­ing to full-for­ward for the fi­nal few min­utes in the hope of reg­is­ter­ing a goal. How­ever, de­spite a cou­ple of near misses, their only re­ward was a point which bounced in the goal­mouth and straight over the bar. This brought the Ballinacor finishing score to 0-7.

This was a bad day at the of­fice for the Glen­malure side and they have a bit of work to do if they are to en­ter­tain hope of be­ing con­tenders later on.

Laragh do en­ter­tain hopes of be­ing con­tenders later on, but they will need a more stren­u­ous test to see if their hopes are jus­ti­fied. All that can be said is that they won this one com­fort­ably.

Laragh’s David Mi­ley breaks away from Philip Byrne.

Dean Carter, Ballinacor, un­der pres­sure from Laragh’s Ian Mer­ri­gan.

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