SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTER-FINAL. Ballyduff 1-5 St Senans 0-8
BALLYDUFF and St. Senans will have to do it all over again after sixty minutes of football that failed to separate these great rivals in a thrilling quarter-final played in Ballybunion on Sunday last.
Certainly Ballyduff had to do it the hard way as the played the final five minutes a man short as their influential centre forward Liam Boyle was dismissed on a straight red at a time when his side were two points down. But one writes off Ballyduff at one's peril as back they came when Tomas O'Rourke, in the fifth minute of injury time, split the uprights from an acute free to tie the game.
It would be a big concern for Senans though as they were too dependant on Sean O'Connell for their scores with just one score coming from play. Without doubt this was not a game for the fainthearted and played in real championship fervor with no quarter asked or given. However despite the hits that went in it was always played within the rules which is great credit to both sets of players. The opening half started with end to end football and as defences on both sides were in control scores were hard to come by. Paddy Moran, Paud Costello and Padraig O'Grady for Ballyduff and Padraig Somers and David Foran, Senans were very prominent clearing their lines to good effect. Sean O'Connell, Senans who was very accurate from frees kicked the first of his seven frees in the 4th minute.
Play swung from end to end with Ballyduff missing the target on numerous occasions. Bobby O'Sullivan who was introduced at this stage was in the thick of the action immediately. Eventually it was Padraig Boyle who finally unlocked the tight Senans defence and turning his marker cut through to billow the net in the 14th minute. Padraig Boyle again with two further points with Sean O'Connell replying for Senans left the half time score; Ballyduff 12 St. Senans 0-2.
On resumption the men from the Halfway came out with all guns blazing and were much more direct in their approach work. Ballyduff also contributed to an all action second half that kept the huge attendance on their toes throughout. By the 11th minute courtesy of the accurate Sean O'Connell with four points and one from Tomas O'Rourke left St Senans ahead for the first time in the game by a single point.
Senans were now on a roll and even though substitute Benny Somers kicked a valuable point in the 17th minute to put his side two ahead the margin should have been greater as they now were clumsy in their play.
Ballyduff weathered the storm and slowly but surely despite being off target to get back in contention. Senans was unlucky to give away a free that was pointed by Tomas O'Rourke in the 25th minute. It was now a one-point game and as already stated Ballyduff were down a man for those remaining minutes and Senans were still holding on. The Duffers don't panic and after Padraig Boyle and Tomas O'Rourke sent inches wide it was O'Rourke who became the saviour for Ballyduff when he sent over a difficult free to level matters in the fifth minute of injury time.
Probably a draw was a fair result as we now look forward to more of the same in what should be a mouthwatering replay in Ballybunion this Sunday, December 9. ST. SENANS: Tomas Stack, Sean T Dillon, David O'Donnell, Sean Weir, David Weir, David Foran, Padraig Somers, John Barry, Jason Brown, Damian Somers, Ronan Kerins, Sean O'Connell (07f), James Allman, Padraig Quille, Shane Nolan, Darragh Kennelly. Subs: Benny Somers (0-1), for James Allman, Sean Dowling for John Barry, Alan Kennelly for Darragh Kennelly. BALLYDUFF: Kevin O'Connor, Paddy Moran, Paud Costello, Padraig O'Grady, Sean Costello, Joe Bunyan, Evan Doyle, Aidan Boyle, Garry O'Brien, John Paul Leahy, Liam Boyle, Eddie Joy, Mikey Boyle, Padraig Boyle (1-2, 01f) Tomas O Rourke (0-3f). Subs: Bobby O'Sullivan for Sean Costello, Kevin Bowler for Eddie Joy. REFEREE: Andy Brown (Brosna)