'Boughal relief as 'Air' men beaten
Ballyboughal 3-12 St Margarets 2-10
During their memorable Dublin and Leinster championship run in 2017, it was customary for Ballyboughal to pump a few high balls into their big inside man Martin Provizors.
It was a ploy which had mixed results and some might argue that they have become, with no disrespect to the Vincents basketball star, a more rounded team.
Nonetheless, during Saturday's group three encounter in Ballyboughal there was the temptation to take the direct route.
One such player took that option when launching a long ball into the square and was told in no uncertain manner by Ballyboughal co manager Lar Lynch not to do that again.
It nonetheless underlined the pressure Ballyboughal were under in the first half. A wedding the night before had deprived the visiting Margarets side of a number of key starters, but nonetheless the Airport men put up a sturdy resistance for a long period in the game.
Ballyboughal, who are all but certain of a place in the next round now, would gradually wear them down, with goals in a five-minute spell from Gerry Seaver and Keith Lynch taking the wind out of the Margarets sails.
Nonetheless, the visitors had troubled their opponents early on, with Conor Hickey's strong running down the middle certainly causing the home side trouble, while Conor Sutton - while held to just one point - was instrumental in a lot of their forward moves.
The game had begun with Gerry Seaver hitting points from each side, with an effort from Hickey sandwiched in between.
Ballyboughal then had their first sniff of a goal seven minutes into the game, but Seaver, having been positioned on the edge of the square, was unable to connect properly with Cathal Begg's pass.
Margarets would then hit the next two points off two assists from Sutton through David Reilly and Brian Shanahan, before John Rodgers - who was playing in an uncustomary wing back role - levelled proceedings mid-way through the half.
But Shanahan, who was back to his best at full forward, would then restore the Margarets lead. Then, after Hickey had made another probing run down the middle, he would link up with Reilly whose pass to Shanahan would see the latter step inside his marker before firing into the opposite corner of the net.
Ballyboughal would hit back with two successive points, the second a deflected Timmy O'Sullivan effort, and while Hickey would register a free off the ground to put three between the sides again, the home side were soon back in business.
Following a Ben Callinan point, O'Sullivan would then fist past the keeper after Cormac Flynn and Ciaran Wynn had linked up down the left.
Last year's Dublin minor Rory Dwyer, an early substitute for the injured Aaron Cregan, would level procedings before Margarets keeper Jack Murphy denied Cathal Flynn from point-blank range in the last action of the first half, with the score at 1-6 apiece.
The second half began with the two sides trading two points apiece, before Shanahan got goal side of his marker to steer a low shot past David Downey with nine minutes gone.
Subsequent points from Shanahan and John Colgan, who was certainly a handful on the day, would stretch the visitors' lead to five points and there were some worried faces on the Ballyboughal line at that stage.
But the double substitution of Lynch and Casey, which came between points from Beggs and Seaver, would ultimately turn the tide for Ballyboughal.
Seaver would find the back of the net with a neat finish on 48 minutes and then, after a Lynch point, the same player showed good composure to beat Downey with seven minutes to go in the game.
And from there Ballyboughal were able to wind down the clock, and their final point involved the ball going through a number of hands before Casey stuck the ball between the posts to seal a five-point win for the home side.
Ballyboughal: David Downey, Will Cooney, Johnathan Rooney, Jack Ryan, John Rodgers 0-1, Cormac Flynn, Ciaran Wynn, Ritchie Downey, Cathal Flynn, Cathal Begg 0-1, Ben Callanan 0-1, Greg Rooney 0-1, Gerry Seaver 1-5 (0-2f), Timmy O'Sullivan 1-1, Tony Rooney. Subs: David Granville for Greg Rooney, Padraig Flynn for Rodgers, Cian Casey 0-1 for Beggs, Keith Lynch 1-1 for Tony Rooney.
St Margarets: Jack Murphy, Gearoid Farrell, Stephen Sutton, Jack Stynes, David Smith, Shane Tynan, Nathon Dolan, Scott Shier, John Colgan 0-2, Jamie Hempenstall, Conor Hickey 0-2(0-1f), Aaron Cregan, Conor Sutton 0-1, Brian Shanahan 2-3, David Reilly 0-1. Subs: Rory Dwyer 0-1 for Cregan, Liam Donoghue for Stynes, Paul Fox for Hempenstall, David O'Connor for Reilly.