Easkey see off Ballymote to claim first win of Championship campaign
Ballymote 0-09 Easkey 2-10
Easkey clinched their first win in the Kennedy's IFC after eventually getting the better of a tenacious Ballymote side in Cloonacool on Sunday afternoon. Two second half goals from Andrew Kilcullen and a Mikey Gordon penalty sealed the win for the west Sligo side.
The opening exchanges saw both sides struggle to break down each other's defensive game - plans, with three wides a piece in the opening 10 minutes.
Both sides were also guilty of some poor passing and handling errors resulting in numerous turnovers.
Ballymote did have the ball in the back of the Easkey net in the seventh minute through Peter Lyons' palmed effort but was overruled after Lyons was adjudged to have been in the small square when found by full-forward Mark Irwin.
It was Ballymote who opened proceedings for the day when Robbie Flannery slotted over from a 45' after 13 minutes.
Mikey Gordon got Easkey off the mark, also from a placed ball, on 18 minutes before their corner-forward, Hayden Gilroy, finished neatly shortly afterwards.
Andy Kilcullen and Ballymote's Declan Brennan exchanged scores through frees towards the end of the first half.
Kilcullen finished the first half scoring after the full-forward took on his man and fisted the ball over the bar from close range to leave it 0-04 to 0-02 in Easkey's favour at half-time.
It was Kilcullen again who slotted over a free early in the second half to add to Easkey's lead before Ballymote captain Michael Doddy scored a beauty of a point from long range after good combination play.
Both sides seemed to have found their scoring ability with Kilcullen and Brennan both adding scores through frees.
Ballymote's Stephen Ross, whose pace and ball-carrying ability caused Easkey problems, also raised a white flag in the 39th minute.
Doddy scored arguably the point of the game with his 'outside of the boot' effort sailing over the Easkey crossbar from a narrow-angle in the 53rd minute.
But what Doddy could do, Easkey's captain, Eugene Mullen, could match and he finished brilliantly near the 45' shortly afterwards leaving it 0-08 to 0-07 to Easkey midway through the second half.
Lyons added two more points from placed balls but that's as good as it got for Ballymote as Easkey found the back of the net in the 57th minute - a handling error in the Ballymote defence saw the influential Gordon pounce on the mistake and drove through to find Kilcullen whose initial effort was well saved by Gerry Feely but Kilcullen reacted well and finished low into the corner of the net.
Things got worse for Ballymote when Gordon slotted home a penalty two minutes later when Eoghan Rua McGowan was fouled in the square to ensure Easkey claimed the points on a scoreline 2-10 to 0-09.
Player of the match: Andrew Kilcullen .
Ballymote scorers: P Lyons 0-05 (0-05F); M Doddy 0-02; S Ross 0-01; R Flannery 0-01 (0-01 45')
Ballymote: G Feely, D Clarke, K Meehan, C McCann, P Mullin, M Doddy (c.), O Conlon, M Rafferty, S Langton, S Ross, M Healy, D Martin, P Lyons, M Irwin, R Flannery. Subs used: J Hever, L Gormley.
Easkey scorers: A Kilcullen 1-07 (0-04F); M Gordon 1-1 (1-00P, 0-01F); H Gilroy 0-01; E Mullen 0-01.
Easkey: S Kilgannon, I Barrett, N McGuire, C Montague, E Moylan, N Kilcullen, J Lindsay, E Mullen (c.), M Gordon, D Sloyan, D Brennan, J Dunphy, H Gilroy, A Kilcullen, K Duffy. Subs used: J Conway, D Rolston, Eoghan Rua McGowan.
Referee: Bill Carty.