Saturday 18 November 2017

Hollywood dreams

D’Arcy Sand Intermediate Semi-final: Hollywood 2-14 Ballymanus 3-07

Hollywood’s Tony Hannon blasts to the top corner of Brendan Doyle’s net in the early stages of the D’Arcy Sand Intermediate football championship semi-final in Baltinglass. Photos: Joe Byrne
Hollywood’s Tony Hannon blasts to the top corner of Brendan Doyle’s net in the early stages of the D’Arcy Sand Intermediate football championship semi-final in Baltinglass. Photos: Joe Byrne

Richard Clune at Baltinglass

The west awakes! Hollywood. Dunlavin. There are neighbouring villages, three miles between them. They are friends off the field, rivals on it.

Hollywood are looking to immediately bounce back into the Senior championship, Dunlavin are looking to fulfil their potential. It's 21 years since Hollywood last won the Intermediate championship, eight years for Dunlavin.

Both teams have a date with destiny on Saturday at 4pm in Joule Park, Aughrim in the Intermediate final.

It didn't appear like that would be the case at half-time. Ballymanus, playing against the wind, led by two points, 2-06 to 1-07. They were worth their lead, overturning the early concession of 1-02 to dominate the half and keep Hollywood to a single point for 14 minutes.

To go in at half-time a few points down would have been enough against the elements, to go in a couple of points ahead they must have been licking their lips in the dressing room.

They re-emerged to a different opponent however and Hollywood turned the two point deficit into a four point lead by the 36th minute. They never looked back.

Hollywood had blistering start to the match, scoring 1-02 within five minutes. Thomas Burke, on the squad in '96, was at the heart of most things in the first half, he scored the first point from an impossible angle before turning provider for midfielder Peadar Traynor.

Traynor's point was a warning shot for Ballymanus whose defence opened up for Traynor like the Red Sea opened for Moses. Moments later it was Matthew Kelly who scorched through the defence and Brendan Doyle was lucky to only receive a yellow card for taking him down for a penalty. Tony Hannon hit the top corner.

Ballymanus had made a few forays into the Hollywood half during that time but looked nervous, letting the ball slip from their grasp or rushing their shot. Roan Lynch eventually got them off the mark in the sixth minute and they went on to level the match at 1-03 apiece after Hannon made the most of his marker slipping.

First a route one ball to Kevin Byrne yielded their second point before Padraig Byrne made a bit of space for himself for the third. The Hollywood defence will not want to think about the goal.

A high ball was sent in on top of Kevin Byrne and he spotted that Padraig Byrne had slipped away from where it would land. Two Hollywood defenders jumped but one Byrne nudged it to another and Padraig made no mistake with only the goalkeeper to beat.

After a horror start Ballymanus were level. Hollywood scored three of the next four to retake the lead but a freak goal put Ballymanus ahead for the first time. Kieran Whelan dropped a free into the square and Hollywood's corner back Eoin Burke was adjudged to have brought the ball back over the goal line by the umpire.

If video evidence was available to assist Damien Byrne a different decision may have been made, however the score stood and Ballymanus led by one. They outscored Hollywood by two points to one just before half time and it was 2-06 to 1-07.

Hollywood started the second half with a blitz that blew Ballymanus away.

Hannon scored a free and then Peadar Traynor punished a poor kick out with his second point of the day.

Much like the Ballymanus goal, Hollywood's second goal came when a Hannon 45 landed just underneath the cross bar and the Ballymanus men on the line let it slip through their fingers. Hannon added a free to make it a four point lead, 2-10 to 2-06.

Kieran Whelan converted a free to reduce the arrears but Hannon replied with two of his own. Ciaran Tyrrell had a quiet enough first half but made some big plays in the second half, including being fouled for both of these frees. The second free was exceptional.

Hannon was mere yards from the side line, somewhere between the 14 and 21 metre lines, and against the wind he curled it over the black spot. He raised a fist in delight and with a five point lead Hollywood would need to totally switch off to lose.

And Ballymanus responded straight away to give them a fright and dispel any sense of complacency, Roan Lynch burying a rocket into the bottom corner after Mark Kenny ran straight at the Hollywood defence. Back to two points with 15 minutes to go, the next point would be crucial.

It wouldn't come until the 54th minute and it was Hannon who kicked it for Hollywood after some patient build up play. He added another moments later and as hard as Ballymanus tried they couldn't find any more scores.

Back in 1995 Hollywood were relegated from senior football and bounced straight back up with a win over Bray Emmets in 1996. In 2016 Hollywood were relegated from Senior football and in 2017 they are in the Intermediate final. Could history repeat itself?

Scorers - Hollywood: Tony Hannon (4f, 1-00 pen) 1-07; Ballymanus own goal; Thomas Burke (1f), Matthew Kelly, Peadar Traynor 0-02 each; PJ O'Keeffe 0-01. Ballymanus: Roan Lynch, Padraig Byrne 1-01 each; Hollywood own goal; Kieran Whelan (2f), Kevin Byrne 00-2 each; Liam Byrne 0-01.

Hollywood: Ian Burke; Keith Traynor, Harry Wilson, Eoin Burke; Robert Kelly, Michael Healy, Conor Burke; Cian Tyrrell, Peadar Traynor; Matthew Kelly, PJ O'Keeffe, Tony Hannon; Thomas Burke, Ciaran Tyrrell, Joe Glennon. Sub: Garreth Bell for Matthew Kelly (44 mins).

Ballymanus: Brendan Doyle; Glen Farrar, Sean O'Neill, Jim Byrne; Shane Whelan, Darragh Byrne, Liam Byrne; Seamus Coogan, Darragh O'Keeffe; Roan Lynch, Padraig Byrne, Philip Coogan; Kieran Whelan, Mark Kenny, Kevin Byrne. Sub: Brendan Whelan for Philip Coogan (49 mins, BC).

Referee: Damien Byrne.

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