Sunday 18 March 2018

Molloy drives saints to win

CENTRE-BACK Graeme Molloy proved the inspiration as he drove his side on to a comfortable eight-point victory over a battling but limited Ballyhogue outfit in this Lodgewood Engineering Intermediate football championship Group A game at Taghmon on Saturday last.

The Ramsgrange side may only have succeeded in putting away the Ballyhogue challenge with decisive scores in the closing ten minutes, but really this was a game they were never going to lose as their opponents lacked the forward power to seriously trouble them, while the defence was always going to find it difficult to cope given the immense amount of pressure they came under.

St. James' will look upon this as only a launch pad for more crucial games that lie ahead. They looked quite impressive for periods, but how they could avail of the midfield power of the absent Matthew O'Hanlon, whom they hope to have available for the concluding stages of the campaign.

For Ballyhogue they will have a battle to stay out of the relegation zone. This once great club, with such a proud footballing tradition, are certainly finding it a struggle to maintain their status. On the evidence of this showing they have it all to do.

After Liam Kelly pointed his side in front inside 90 seconds of the start, it was the only time they led in the game, as by the end of the opening quarter St. James' had moved into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead, with two Kevin O'Grady pointed frees, along with further efforts from Mark Molloy and an Adam Parle free.

St. James' remained in control although a punched goal from Jim Bob Levingstone after a high Seán Ring ball, gave his side brief hope but they still trailed by 0-8 to 1-2 at the interval.

Impressive substitute Noel Roche gave his side brief hope with an early second-half point, his rising shot just going over the bar, but with Kevin O'Grady and Graeme Molloy in inspirational form, there was only going to be one result. It was fitting that Molloy closed out the game with an excellent goal.

St. James': John Ryan; Robert Barron, Brian Kennedy, Paul Barron; David Doyle, Graeme Molloy (1-0), Greg Doyle; Jamie Kent, Daniel Keating; Donal Barron, Mark Molloy (0-2), Brendan Doyle; Kevin O'Grady (0-8, 5 frees), John Foley, Adam Parle (0-3, 2 frees). Sub. - Keith Donnelly for B. Doyle.

Ballyhogue: Myles Roche; Tomás Moriarty, Seán Rochford, Hughie O'Neill; Ger Cullen, Richard Dunne, John Roche; Syl Byrne, Shane Byrne (0-1); Jack Fortune, Edward Galavan (0-1), Shane Roche (0-1); Lorcan Crean, Liam Kelly (0-1), Seán Ring. Subs. - Jim Bob Levingstone (1-0) for Syl Byrne, inj., Noel Roche (0-1) for Crean, Graham Parker for Fortune.

Referee: Jack Stafford (Clongeen).

New Ross Standard