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Thursday 17 August 2017

Stroll in the park for Baltinglass

Baltinglass 11-11 Avondale 0-08

Saoirse Kearnon of Avondale is outnumbered against Baltinglass
Saoirse Kearnon of Avondale is outnumbered against Baltinglass

Kevin Stapleton

Avondale will be left licking their wounds after Baltinglass performed a demolition job on the men from Rathdrum in the Arklow Bay SFL Division 1 clash on Friday night.

The hosts had almost a full compliment to choose from and the county champions have set about ensuring they don't return to Division 1A in the near future.

Avondale for their part were short a number of players and will be eagerly awaiting their return to rectify the wrongs from this night to forget.

Baltinglass were up and running after 21 seconds through Chris Heaslip and were quickly responded to by Avondale who notched up their opening score after some fine work through the middle from Seamus McGraynor and Eamon Kearns.

McGraynor and Kearns both notched up a number of marks during the course of the game but unfortunately for the Rathdrum men the ball was coming back past them all too quickly after this.

John McGrath added a free on three minutes before the first of an amazing eleven goals was scored by Peter Dowling who was set up by Adam Fleming.

Heaslip added another point before Dowling scored his second major by throwing a dummy pass and driving into the corner of the Avondale net.

A lot of Baltinglass' goals in the opening half all came in a similar fashion. Rapid breaks from their full back line out to midfield where their capable middle 8 were able to pick passes over the top with an ocean of space between the 45 and the Avondale goal.

Dowling turned provider on one such move on ten minutes to get one on one with the full back before nicking the ball over to an unmarked Sean O'Brien to fire home.

The game was over as a contest at this stage with an eleven point lead racked up and Avondale unable to unearth a way through Baltinglass rearguard.

The away side spent two whole minutes in possession of the ball between the Baltinglass 21 and 45 but every channel and avenue they attempted to attack through they were ushered back to where they came from and eventually turned over possession.

A Saoirse Kearnon point on eighteen minutes provided a moment of light for Avondale and it must be said that Kearnon must have covered every blade of grass trying to drive on his team in attack from wing back and also in defence chasing a Baltinglass team in the mood for goals. A turnover from Avondale on their own 14 was picked off by Heaslip and his pass to O'Brien resulted in a good block from the Avondale goalkeeper but the rebound fell into Heaslip's path to fire home his first of the game.

Baltinglass were unlucky not to have netted an unheard of twelve goals, with Sean O'Brien seeing his effort rebound of the crossbar and upright before John McGrath settled for a point but O'Brien would not have long to wait for his second goal.

A neat one-two with Kevin Murphy allowed O'Brien into the aforementioned space and he duly obliged by slotting the ball through the keepers legs into the net leaving a 5-6 to 0-3 lead at half time in Baltinglass' favour.

The Slaneysiders had the luxury of ringing the changes at half time, and the results of the labour continued the same. Saoirse Kearnon almost goaled for Avondale but was thwarted by Jackson before points from Heaslip and McGrath set the tone for the half again.

A quick free from Heaslip into Adam Fleming resulted in Baltinglass' sixth goal on ten minutes and they had their seventh with the move of the match from the kick out. A breaking ball to Kevin Murphy was worked through the hands to McHugh who in turn played in McGrath who fired a rocket into the Avondale goal.

Sean O'Brien completed his hat-trick after Mikey English flicked the ball into his path before Lee Furlong added one for himself after Kevin Murphy provided him with the ball. Baltinglass were walking through the Avondale defence from the off here, neat 1, 2's and interplay allowing them one on one opportunities that will always favour a forward over a goalkeeper and it became something of a training game for the home side with each player almost trying to pass to someone who hadn't scored to get their name on the score sheet. Brian Lord and Patrick Burke both got majors beside their names by the end of the games conclusion and a lovely score from McGrath to uh's and ah's from a very muted and stunned stand closed out the game.

A game which neither will take anything from in the bigger picture.

Baltinglass: Mark Jackson, Thomas Murphy, John Murray, Stephen Heaslip, Patrick Burke (1-0), Kevin Murphy, Aaron Barrett, John McGrath (1-4), Jason Kennedy, Conor Keogh (0-1), Adam McHugh (1-1), Tom Burke, Peter Dowling (2-0), Sean O'Brien (3-2), Chris Heaslip (1-3) Subs: Mikey English, Declan Jones, Brian Lord (1-0), Lee Furlong (1-0) Michael Dowling and David Gethings.

Avondale panel: Eamon Kearns, Cathal Doyle, Ian Heffernan, Eugene Dunne, Seamus McGraynor, Donal McGraynor, Conor Byrne, Saoirse Kearnon, Liam Kinsella, Patrick Kinsella, Simon Cullen, Shane Beavor, Darren Beavor, Anthony Byrne, Ronan Doyle and Cormac Doyle.

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