Tuesday 16 October 2018

Brave Slane out of luck in semi-final

BEATEN finalists for the past two years - Ballivor will attempt to make the breakthrough to senior ranks at the third time of asking following this hard earned IFC semi-final win over a spirited Slane outfit at Kilmessan last Sunday.For more than 35 minutes of what was an entertaining encounter Slane seemed more than capable of upsetting the odds though. Playing the livelier and more attractive football they oozed confidence and led by four points on three occasions before Ballivor eventually made their gre

A 36th minute point from Barry Moore proved to be Slane’s last score as Ballivor reshuffled their pack and found the rhythm that carried them to victory. However it took a fortuitous goal from Cormac Feeney three minutes from the end of normal time to eventually swing the match in favour of the south Meath outfit.

The sides had been locked at 0-10 apiece following Keith Martin’s equalising point in the 46th minute and while Slane were under severe pressure and fighting a rearguard battle Ballivor were unable to make their superiority count.

The exchanges had become scrappy in that period but then Ballivor got a lucky break in the 57th minute when fullforward Feeney gained possession and shot for a point. However his angled effort dipped under the crossbar and ended up in the corner of the Slane net.

There was no way back for Slane after that and James Mitchell broke through for an insurance point in the 59th minute.

It was all so different in the opening half though as an exuberant Slane ran their opponents ragged. Eamonn Gibney was outstanding at midfield and along with Stephen Carolan dominated their area. William Clarke and Stephen Gough excelled in defence while the Slane attack were much smarter off the mark and the east Meath side were full value for their 0-8 to 0-5 win.

Ballivor were first off the mark from James Mitchell’s fisted effort in the 6th minute but Slane then played some very attractive football to race into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead by the 10th minute.

Colin Wogan opened their account, then Johnny Cullen converted a free and midfielder Gibney came forward to notch the first of his three first half points.

Two Trevor Smith points levelled matters before Slane notched three points in as many minutes between the 19th and 21st. Wogan following a free from the quick thinking Wayne Harding got the first of those, Barry Moore added to that and then Harding fisted over to leave three between the sides.

Ballivor began to ring the changes at that stage introducing Ciaran Connor and switching Mairtin Doran to the 40’.

Another point, this time from the brilliant Gibney left it 0-7 to 0-3 before Ballivor responded with two points, from a Doran free, and a fisted effort from full forward Feeney. Slane though had the last say before the break with a great long range point from Gibney.

Slane then restarted where they had left off in the opening half and Barry Moore was denied a goal when Ballivor keeper Ray McKeown smoth-ered his close range shot. Johnny Cullen responded with a pointed free though but amazingly Slane completely lost their way after Barry Moore accounted for what was to be their last score in the 36th minute.

Doran and Trevor Smith were beginning to exert their authority in the Ballivor attack and both scored a brace of third quarter points to reduce the deficit to the minimum.

The winners had a firm grip on proceedings at this stage as Tony Fox, Fergus McMahon and Padraig Geoghegan were dominant in defence, Noel Davis and Brian Flynn were breaking even at midfield, while in attack Doran was proving too hot for the Slane defence, and the strength of substitute Terry Connor was also crucial.

Slane made switches as the game slipped from their grasp but to no avail and Connor and Keith Martin both missed chances of putting their side ahead.

Feeney’s goal eventually broke Slane hearts but on overall play Ballivor just about deserved their victory.

Scorers – Ballivor: Cormac Feeney 1-1, Trevor Smith 0-4, Mairtin Doran 0-3, James Mitchell 0-2, Keith Martin 0-1. Slane: Eamonn Gibney 0-3, Colin Wogan, Barry Moore, Johnny Cullen 0-2 each, Wayne Harding 0-1.

BALLIVOR — R McKeown, D Cunningham, B Perry, T Fox, S Dunne, F McMahon, P Geoghegan, N Davis, D Fagan, T Smith, D Mitchell, J Mitchell, C Ryan, C Feeney, M Doran. Subs: C Connor for Dunne, K Martin for D Mitchell, B Flynn for Fagan, T Connor for Ryan, P Feeney for Cunningham.

SLANE — G O’Brien, D Gough, W Clarke, A McMenamon, R Finnegan, S Gough, S Coyle, S Carolan, E Gibney, W Harding, C Gough, J Cullen, A Reilly, B Moore, C Wogan. Subs: D Kearns for Reilly, B McConnon for Coyle, P O’Brien for C Gough, T Macken for Cullen.

REFEREE — J Smith (Dunshaughlin)