Thursday 26th March 2015
Ballyhegan Ladies V Armagh Harps Ladies
The Ballyhegan Davitts ladies senior team took to the field again last night in their third challenge game of the pre-season. Preparation wasn’t ideal as we had a flood light failure at the start. However once that was sorted the game got underway.
On a heavy pitch, the Davitts made a great start with a midfield duo of Brenda McCormack and Clodagh McCann dominating and winning clean possession. Up front the pace of Lauren O’Gorman was exposing gaps in the Harps defence, and with accurate passing from midfield the Davitts got off to a flyer with 6 unanswered points. A youthful looking half forward line of Edith McCormick, Eimear Murray and Nuala McKeever, provided plenty of energy and lots of skill, their work rate ensured the Davitts continued to dominate until half time. The second half started were the first left off with Brenda and Clodagh enjoying time and space with the ball. The constant movement and energy of Edith McCormick was giving the Harps a massive headache her link up play and the support of Lisa Knox and the midfield meant the Davitts extended their lead to 1-8 to 0-2 with 20 minutes to go.
A change in the Harps system saw them come into the game more with young Leah McGoldrick beginning to find space to receive the ball. Her pace was an issue for the Davitts defence but the ladies stuck to their task well and after a concerted attack by the Harps when they struck the up-right three times the ball was eventually cleared. To keep the Harps at bay Davitts net minder Orla McKeever had to make two excellent saves, a very accomplished performance by the noisy keeper. The Davitts half back line of Lisa Knox, Kate McCormack and Sarah Louise Doherty were busy now but limited to the visitors to just 3 more points in the half. The defensive effort was helped by the experience of Carol McCann, who made a welcome return after 18 months out of the game, and newcomer Maria Nugent who had her best game yet in the Blue jersey.
A late goal by the Harps didn’t take away from the fine performance of all the Davitts on the night, and a superb point from Edith McCormick which finished off a flowing move was a fitting end to the scoring. Ballyhegan were missing quite a few players on the night due to work and confirmation commitments, so the pressure is now on for the returning players to regain their place in the team.
Final score Ballyhegan 1-10 Armagh Harps 1-5
DVDs of Strictly Ballyhegan are now available by order only. They are priced at £10 for a 2 Disc box-set.
All orders MUST be received by 4pm on Friday 3rd April.
Friday 20th March 2015
Ballyhegan Davitts v Patrick Sarsfields, Belfast
Ballyhegan were visited on Friday night by Patrick Sarsfields of Belfast for their fourth challenge match of the pre-season. 'The Paddies', who this year will play division 2 football in Antrim, would provide stern opposition for the Davitts.
Ballyhegan got off to a dream start, getting on the score sheet first with a well taken goal from full forward Shane McKeever following a wonderful catch and pass inside from number 11 Paul Nixon. The visitors showed their pedigree responding with 2 points either side of a fantastic save from Jonny McKeever diving low to his right to deny an almost certain goal. The pendulum then swung back in Ballyhegan's favour as they extended the lead through Thomas Reynolds with a fine long range effort which came out about following a nice dummy from Tony Keegan to create some space. The Davitts followed up on this 2 minutes later with their second goal of the game. Corner forward Daniel McKeever dispossessed a defender and fed the ball across goal for PJ McNally to tap in on his first start for the senior team. The visitors kept pressuring the Davitts defence who held their ground well, keeping them at bay and denying 2 more goals with another save from McKeever and a great block from Keegan. Sarsfields managed to split the posts once more before Thomas Reynolds replied with what would be the final score of the half.
Half time: Ballyhegan 2-02 - Sarsfields 0-03
As was the case in the first half, it was the hosts who were first to register on the scoreboard after the break. Midfielder Mark Hughes broke through to point after some nice work again from Paul Nixon. Half forward James McKeever opened his account for the night through a free kick from the left and doubled it again a minute later running past his opponent and striking between the posts to increase the lead to 8 points. Sarsfileds pulled one back with a pointed free on 39 minutes but Thomas Reynolds then hit 2 beauties, the first following good work from James McKeever and the second less than a minute later, was created via a nice dummy from Shane McKeever. The Davitts then worked a good goal scoring opportunity but following a good save a block from the Paddies defence, James McKeever collected and sensibly took his point. Two minutes later substitute Conal Gallagher got on the end of a pass and scored what would be the home sides final score of the game. The visitors finished out the contest strongly registering 1-02 without reply.
Full time: Ballyhegan 2-09 - Sarsfields 1-07
A good performance from the Davitts against decent opposition. Tackling, pressure and turnovers, not just in defence but all over the pitch was fantastic as was some of the build up play. Finishing wasn't what it should be however with 16 efforts either going wide or dropping short. Overall an impressive display with a lot of chances created.
Ballyhegan team lined out as follows: Jonny McKeever (c), Roger McCormick, Mark McKeever, Shane McKeever, Conor Loughran (James McAtarsney), Conor Morgan, Tony Keegan (Paddy Marley), John Guy, Mark Hughes 0-01 (Conor Williamson), Thomas Reynolds 0-04, Paul Nixon, James McKeever 0-03 (1f), PJ McNally 1-00 (Conal Gallagher 0-01), Shane McKeever 1-00 (Shane McCormack), Daniel McKeever (Gerard Morgan)
Sunday 15th March 2015
Middletown v Ballyhegan Davitts
Ballyhegan travelled to Middletown for a 1pm throw in on Sunday past for their third challenge game of the preseason. A fantastic second half performance was enough to ensure an impressive victory in a high scoring encounter.
The Davitts started off the brighter side taking the lead through right half forward Rory McKeever after 2 minutes. The hosts drew level with a free kick a minute later before Ballyhegan replied with 3 points unanswered through Shane McKeever, Daniel McKeever and from Conor Loughran following good work from Paul Nixon and Mark Hughes. Middletown pulled one back with James McKeever extending the visitor's lead to 3 points with a nice score on 15 minutes. Middletown fought their way back into it scoring 3 points without reply over the next 15 minutes. The Davitts were creating chances in this period but could not make it show on the score board. They kept persisting however and Rory McKeever split the posts following a good run on 28 minutes to bring parity to the game. Middletown however went on to hit 1-01 in injury time to go in with a 4 point lead.
Half time: Middletown 1-07 - Ballyhegan 0-06
The Davitts opened the scoring in the second half through corner forward Conal McKeever but the hosts replied with another goal soon after. Ballyhegan were not deflated and hit 3 points in a row through Thomas Reynolds from the right, a Conal McKeever free kick and a score from James McKeever being set up by PJ McNally. Just like at the end of the first half the hosts hit a goal and a point in quick succession to build a 7 point lead approaching the midway point of the half. Ballyhegan, to their credit responded in fine style however, registering 1-05 without reply in a 10minute spell to regain the lead. PJ McNally won and converted a free, midfielder John Guy pointed following good work in defence from Joey Murphy, Conal McKeever increased his tally 2 either side of a Thomas Reynolds effort from the left then substitute Gerard Morgan banged in a goal from close range. With 5 minute left Middletown scored a free but The Davitts replied with a further 3 points to secure the victory through Gerard Morgan following good build up play from Conor Morgan and Paddy Marley, another Conal McKeever free kick and Rory McKeever's third point of the day.
Full time: Middletown 3-09 - Ballyhegan 1-18
This was a very encouraging performance from the Davitts. Although a little wasteful in front of goal in the first half, they kept at it and played some great football scoring 1-12 in the second half. Still, it's only one game and there is a long road infront of us yet but a good performance none the less.
Ballyhegan team lined out as follows: Joseph McKeever, R McCormick, C Morgan, Shane McKeever, C Loughran 0-01 (J McAtarsney), P McCormack (J Murphy), T Reynolds 0-02 (P Marley), M Hughes, J Guy 0-01 (M Hamill), R McKeever 0-03, P Nixon, James McKeever 0-02 (G Morgan 1-01), C McKeever 0-05 (2f), Shane McKeever 0-01, D McKeever 0-01 (PJ McNally 0-01f)
Despite being down a couple of girls due to work and other arrangements, the Davitts fielded a strong looking team with several young players along side some more experienced heads. The Armagh Ladies minor team are in the middle of their Ulster Championship campaign and wanted a fixture to get some much needed game time for squad players before their match against Cavan next Sunday.
This was only the second outing of pre season for the Davitts, but the players all stuck to the game plan and came out victors with an impressive 2-10 to 1-4 win. Although this wasn't a full strength minor team there was some very impressive link up play from the Davitts and fine flowing football played. This was a great team performance with every player making a positive contribution, the battle for a place in the starting 15 for the first league game against Dromintee has been stepped up. Next up is the postponed game from Saturday night against Mullaghbrack.
Sunday 8th March 2015
Clan Na Gael v Ballyhegan Davitts
Ballyhegan made the trip over to Lurgan to face Intermediate side Clan Na Gael in their second challenge game of the season and their second of the weekend. The match took place at an open and blustery Lismore Comprehensive playing fields.
The Clans came flying out of the blocks in the opening minutes registering 1-03 in the first 4 miutes, 2 frees, a great long range effort and a fisted goal. Left half forward Thomas Reynolds opened the Davitts account on 5 minutes with a nice score following a good delivery from No.11 Shane McKeever. Clans hit another score before Thomas Reynolds this time turned provided for Shane McKeever with the pair exchanging passes before McKeever hit Ballyhegan's second score of the day. The hosts extended their lead through a free kick with Thomas Reynolds replying with a fine effort off the outside of his right boot on 20 minutes. Jonny McKeever produced a magnificent save 5 minutes later when faced one-on-one with the opposing attacker to keep the Davitts in the game. The Clans pointed one more free before half time to go in with a 6 point lead.
Half time: Clan Na Gael 1-06 - Ballyhegan Davitts 0-03
As with Friday night's game, there was a raft of changes at half time to ensure everyones hard effort in training is repayed with as much game time as possible. It worked well for Ballyhegan as they hit 3 unanswered points in the first 10 minutes. Thomas Reynolds floated one over with the wind from the right, midfielder Mark Hughes pointed following a nice exchange with Conal McKeever and his midfield partner got on the score sheet, firing over following a great bust through from the middle. The hosts opened their account for the second half on 43 minutes with a point and followed it up 5 minutes later with their second goal of the game. Ballyhegan were not disheartened and fought back. Young Conal McKeever showed great composure to score a free from the right in difficult kicking conditions on 54 minutes with James McKeever hitting a great score 2 minutes later. The Clans replied with a point from a free but again the Davitts kept going with the impressive Thomas Reynolds adding his fourth of the game from play and James McKeever again with another great effort, this time from the left.
Full time: Clan Na Gael 2-08 - Ballyhegan Davitts 0-10
Again, this was a decent display from Ballyhegan. After a slow start they got to grips with their opponents from a higher league and caused problems for them, especially in the second half where they outscored the home team by 7 points to 1-02.
Ballyhegan team lined out as follows: Jonny McKeever (c), Micky Hamill (Shane McKeever), Mel Courtney (Tony Keegan), John Guy, James McAtarsney (Conor Loughran), Plunkett McCormack (Roger McCormick), Roger MCormick (Conor Morgan), Conor Williamson 0-01 , Mark Hughes 0-01, Paul Nixon (James McKeever 0-02), Shane McKeever 0-01 (PJ McNally), Thomas Reynolds 0-04, Gerard Morgan (Conal Gallagher), Shane McCormack (Paul Dennison), Daniel McKeever (Conal McKeever 0-01f)
Friday 6th March 2015
Ballyhegan Davitts v Eire Og
A cold and blustery Friday night in Ballyhegan played host to the Davitts' first challenge game of the season and their first game under new manager Joe McGrane. Intermediate side Eire Og, Craigavon provided the opposition for the night in what would be a testing affair for the hosts.
Both sides looked a little rusty at the beginning and took a while to settle into the game. Numerous wides were kicked at both ends in he opening exchanges before Ballyhegan finally opened the scoring after 18 minutes with right corner forward Conal Gallagher producing a nice effort from the right hand side to split the posts. Conal then doubled the Davitts and his own tally 2 minutes later, winning possession from his marker following some good hassling and putting the ball over again. Daniel McKeever, playing top of the left, extended Ballyhegan's lead to 3 soon after, collecting a great ball in from Mark Hughes in midfield and slotting over. Last season's Senior player of the year, Conor Williamson then stretched the home side's lead to 4 points in the 24th minute, wisely fisting his effort over the bar. The visitors pulled one back soon, capitalising on a misplaced pass to open their account. Conal Gallagher then added his third and the final score of the half. Following good build up play from Daniel McKeever and Rory McKeever, Conal collected and fisted over from close range.
Half time: Ballyhegan Davitts 0-05 - Eire Og 0-01
Following a multitude of changes at half time, Eire Og came out the brighter of the 2 side at the start of the second half and began to claw their way back into the game. 2 pointed frees and another from play had the visitors right back in the game and with only a point between the sides Davitts goalkeeper - and Captain for the season - Jonny McKeever, pulled off a fine save on 45 minutes to prevent the Craigavon men from taking the lead. They did draw level a few minute later through a free kick which set up a tense final 10 minutes. Young Thomas Reynolds, just out of minor football, restored the lead for the hosts with a nice effort off the right boot only for the visitors to draw level again. The Davitts again restored their lead, this time through PJ McNally, another graduate from last years minor team, as he capitalised on a drop in Eire Og's defence and nipped in to point. Eire Og again drew level but wih just 1 minute left on the clock, Gerard Morgan hit a fine score from the left hand side to win the game for the hosts.
Full time: Ballyhegan Davitts 0-08 - Eire Og 0-07
A decent performance from the hosts on their first outing of the season. A lot of work remains to be done as there is a long road ahead until the end of the season but this performance was encouraging. The Davitts finished the game strongly and were turning over possesion in key areas right up until the final whistle. A squad of 28 was available for selection on the night and all got a chance to show what they can do and give Joe a few selection headaches.
Ballyhegan team lined out as follows: Jonny McKeever (c), Tony Keegan (Joey Murphy), Mark McKeever (Micky Hamill), Shane Mckeever (Roger McCormick), Conor Loughran (John Guy), Plunkett McCormack, Conor Morgan (James McAtarsney), Conor Williamson 0-01 (Mel Courtney), Mark Hughes (Conor Williamson), Rory McKeever (Paul Nixon), Shane McKeever (Thomas Reynolds 0-01), James McKeever (Gerard Morgan 0-01), Conal Gallagher 0-03 (Conal McKeever), Shane McCormack (Stefan NcNally), Daniel McKeever 0-01 (PJ McNally 0-01)
Strictly Ballyhegan 2015
Saturday 28th February
Armagh City Hotel
An eager crowd of appox 500 packed into the Armagh City Hotel on Saturday 28th February to see Strictly Ballyhegan 2015.
Eight brave couples have been practicing and fundraising enthusiastically in their spare time since early November with choreographer Linda May to ensure everyone in the crowd were treated to the best show possible. Our cast featured players from both our senior mens and ladies teams, Club members and non-members of the Club from outside the community who committed to take part and fitted in and were made welcome like they had been around the Club their whole lives.
As the dancers arrived at the Armagh City Hotel they were blown away by the set-up. The huge stage, extravagant lights and sound system did not deter them however.
The night got underway with our two hosts for the evening – Sheena Kelly and Gerry Cunningham – taking the stage to welcome everyone and introduce each couple to the crowd. As the dancers left the stage to prepare to come out for the opening group dance, the crowd were treated to a wonderful performance from some of the kids from Ballyhegan who put on a fantastic group dance routine to get the crowd in the mood and also raise the bar for the main dancers who were due to take the stage next!
The guys performed a brilliant routine to open the show and really got the audience cheering. Sheena and Gerry once more took to the stage to introduce our judges for the night as the couples went off to prepare for their first dance. The judging panel of Louise Fahey (Choreographer), Justin McNulty (SDLP Parliamentary candidate and former Armagh All-Ireland winning footballer) and Fr. Oliver Brennan (Parish Priest of Stonebridge/Mullavilly) said they were looking forward to a great night’s entertainment and dancing.
One by one our couples stood under the spotlight to perform their Salsa dance. Colleen & Tony first followed by Eimear & Connor, Eve and Shane, Gemma & Chris, Roisin & Plunkett, Bronagh & Philip, Ciara & Jarlath and lastly Moya & Paul. All three judges commented briefly after each dance and not a negative word was said – a tribute to the effort and performance of all the dancers.
After a short interval the judges took their seats once more as each couple, in the same order as before, came out to perform their second dance – a freestyle which meant they could do anything they wanted!
By the reaction of the audience they were certainly impressed as they witnessed everything from Tarzan & Jane to Barbie and Ken, 1920’s Charleston to 1970’s Disco, movie inspired routines from the Full Monty to Titanic and medleys featuring hip-hop music, Queen and even the YMCA!! It’s safe to say every taste was catered for. Despite all the gravity defying lifts involved there were no incidents or injuries thankfully…well maybe a wee kick to the head (you know who are!!)
Our judges voted for the winner of the Salsa dance and the Freestyle dance was decided by the audience as they voted for their favourite but putting money (£1 per vote) into each couple’s bucket as it circulated the room.
Once all the votes had been counted Sheena & Gerry, along with Club Chairman Seamus McCann took to the stage to present the winners trophies for the Salsa to Gemma McCourt & Chris Grimley and the Freestyle winners’ trophies to Eve Lavery & Shane Morgan. Congratulations to the winners but really every couple won going by the reactions they received from the crowd.
Huge thanks to everyone who made the night happen, to everyone who turned up on the night and finally to our dancers – the stars of the show!
**Keep an eye out this week on the Club Facebook page for some great pictures from the night.**
Ballyhegan Davitts present Strictly Ballyhegan this Saturday 28th February in Armagh City Hotel at 8pm.
A team of 16 brave dancers has been assembled both from within the Club and neighbouring communites to put on a dance extravaganza on Saturday night. They have been in training for this since early November and have given up countless hours both practising and fundraising.
Come out on Saturday night not only to show your support and appreciation for them but for one of the most enjoyable and memorable nights you will have had in a long time!
Tickets still available from McKeever's Bar, Portadown or contact Jarlath McCann (07842761889) or any dancer or committee member.