Saturday 16th May 2015
T-MET Junior Football Championship 1st Round
Ballyhegan Davitts v St. Patrick's Cullyhanna IIs
The Athletic Grounds on a fine May evening played host to Ballyhegan's opening match in the Junior Championship for 2015. St. Pat's II's, familiar opponents over the past few seasons, provided the opposition for what was a hard fought game that the Davitts managed to hang on in to take the victory in dramatic circumstances.
The Cullyhanna men opened the scoring after 2 minutes but midfielder Mark Hughes hit back 4 minutes later, getting on the end of a quick free from Conal McKeever and firing over. St. Pat's took the lead again a minute later and threatened to extend it further only to be denied by Jonny McKeever in the Ballyhegan goal. This save spurred the team on and they were level again within the minute, this time through half forward Paul Nixon. Once more St. Pat's went into the lead, this time from a free kick on 15 minutes. The Davitts hit back immeadiately with good build up play from Thomas Reynolds and Conal McKeever resulting in half back Rory McKeever slotting between the posts. Jonny McKeever was called on once more and again denied Cullyhanna a goal. James McKeever was able to capitalise on this giving Ballyhegan the lead for the first time in the game, running through the defence from the right hand side and slotting over.
Half time: Ballyhegan 0-04 St. Patrick's IIs 0-03
The second half got underway with both sides keen to kick on from what they both would considered poor first half performances. It was St. Pat's got off to the better start, pointing from a short range free to level the game again but Ballyhegan would be much the happier side 10 minutes into the half as they responded to this score by hitting 2-02 in a 5 minute spell without reply. Conal McKeever hit both points - the first following good work from Paul Nixon and the second from a dead ball - before Paul Nixon found himself on the end of a James McKeever through-ball with just the keeper to beat, which he did putting it low to the corner. Two minutes later it was Jack Rafferty, who was covering every blade of grass on the pitch, that found himslef with a goal opportunity that he duly dispatched to open up a 8 point leat for the Davitts. Cullyhanna, to their credit, were far from done. The Davitts seemed to go to sleep and over the next 20 minutes, through a lot of errors from Ballyhegan and some decent play from St. Pat's they reeled off 6 unanswered points to leave 2 in it with less than 5 minutes to go. James McKeever got an important point for Ballyhegan on 57minutes to settle things a little but Cullyhanna hit back within the minute with a free kick. Piling the pressure on now, a goal mouth scramble resulted in the referee awarding a penalty to St. Pat's. With 60 minutes on the clock and 2 points down St. Pat's hoped to sneak victory with a late goal but Ballyhegan captain and goal keeper Jonny McKeever had other ideas, diving low to his right to save the penalty and for the third time on the night deny the Cullyhanna men a goal. 3 minutes of injury time were to be played. St. Pat's hit another point 2 minutes into that to leave the minimum between the sides but in the final seconds Conal McKeever got on the end of a long range free to punch over and seal the victory for the Davitts.
Full time: Ballyhegan 2-08 St. Patrick's IIs 0-12
A good victory in the end for the Davitts to see them progress to the next round to face Clonmore. Ballyhegan will be concerned with how they let Cullyhanna back into it in the second half and didn't push on to put them away sooner. Though the fantastic football they played in the opening stages of the second half and a captain's performance in nets proved to be just about enough in the end. A lot of hard work will need to be done in training and in the league matched over the summer if we are to pprogress further when we play Clonmore in August.
Ballyhegan team lined out as follows: Jonny McKeever (c), Roger McCormick (Shane McKeever 44), Mark McKeever, Shane McKeever, Tony Keegan (Joey Murphy 56), Rory McKeever 0-01, Mark Hughes 0-01, John Guy (Ronan Devlin 14), Paul Nixon 1-01, Thomas Reynolds, James McKeever 0-02, Daniel McKeever, Jack Rafferty 1-00, Conal McKeever 0-03 1f
Subs: James McKeever, Joe McKeever, Shane McKeever, Joey Murphy, Ronan Devlin, James McAtarsney, Stefan McNally, Shane Morgan, Tiernan Power, Michael Hamill, Patrick Marley, PJ McNally
Friday 8th May 2015
Simplyfruit Armagh Junior A Football League Rd 5
Ballyhegan Davitts v Lissummon
A late pitch inspection was caried out by referee R Watters before allowing this game to go ahead following heavy rain in the area on Friday past. Conditions were not going to allow for a footballing spectacle but both sides made the most of them to produce an entertaining game.
Lissummon got off to the better start despite the Davitts opening the scoring in the first minute through corner forward Paddy Marley who was on the receiving end off a nice ball in from midfielder Mark Hughes. Lissummon replied with 2 points, one from a free, to go into the lead. Ballyhegan levelled soon after but were unlucky not to take the lead as centre half forward John Guy crashed a shot on to the crossbar. Half forward Rory McKeever was first to react to the loose ball, collecting and feeding it back out to Guy who sent it over to level the game. The visitors then found the back of the net in the most fortuitous of circumstances. As a long ball was sent in, the referee, it seemed, blew his whistle. Naturally, players on both sides stopped awaiting the decision. The long ball landed in the Davitt's net and surprisingly the goal was allowed to stand. The visitors landed another sucker punch minutes later. Dispossessed too easily in attack and with men out of position, Ballyhegan were in trouble as Lissummon broke at pace down the pitch finishing a slick move in the back of the net to open a 6 point lead on 17 minutes. The sides then exchanged points with Conal McKeever pointing a free following a foul on Paddy Marley for the hosts then Paddy turned scorer a couple of minutes later. In the dying stages of the half Ballyhegan managed to tag on another 2 points to lessen their task in the second period. Midfielder Jack Rafferty slotted over after a strong burst from the middle and Conal McKeever with another dead ball.
Half time: Ballyhegan 0-06 Lissummon 2-04
Finding themselves 4 points down at half time Ballyhegan were still confident going into the second half as they were yet to hit their stride in this game. They dominated the opening stages of the half and pulled the deficit back to one point following scores from Conal McKeever, one close range free and another from play, and a score from the right following a great passage of patient build-up play, recycling the ball from one side of the pitch to the other before taking the score. Ballyhegan's comeback seemed to breath a bit of life in the visitors as they rattled off 3 points without reply to re-establish their 4 point lead. Going into the closing stages the Davitts still didnt feel the game was beyond them. They chipped away with further points coming from the fist of full forward Paul Nixon, the reliable free-taking boot of Conal McKeever and a fine long range effort from Mark Hughes. This left the minimum between the sides once more with only minutes remaining. The Davitts managed to create a goal chance right at the death and with the keeper beaten, a Lissummon defender somehow managed to prevent the ball from going over the line and effectively sealing the victory for his side.
Full time: Ballyhegan 0-12 Lissummon 2-07
Once again, as in the previous 2 games, a poor first half proved to be the Davitts undoing. Although much improved and the better side in the second half, once again we failed to make it over the line. Confidence can be taken from these second half performances but we must start getting off on the right foot once again as our Championship campaign gets underway on Saturday night against St Pat's IIs at 18.00 in the Athletic Grounds.
Ballyhegan team lined out as follows: Jonny McKeever (c), Roger McCormick, Mark McKeever, Ronan Devlin, Tony Keegan, Shane McKeever, Mark Hughes 0-01, Jack Rafferty 0-01, Rory McKeever, John Guy 0-01 (Joey Murphy 53), Daniel McKeever (James McKeever 48), Paddy Marley 0-02, Paul Nixon 0-01, Conal McKeever 0-06 (4f)
Armagh GAA is set to host its annual Fans Open Day on Saturday 16th May from 12.30pm when the county’s fans are invited to come and meet their GAA heroes in the Athletic Grounds. Armagh supporters will have an opportunity to meet and greet many of the senior footballers and hurlers and pose with the recent addition to the Armagh trophy cabinet, the Division 3 football trophy. As well as a chance to talk to their favourite players, fans will receive a goody bag from the players and can take part in a number of GAA skills games and competitions in the Athletic Grounds. There will also be tours of the stadium available in Irish and in English and fans can enjoy entertainment from some of our county Scór champions. Armagh GAA would like to invite all fans to come along to the Athletic Grounds from 12.30pm on Saturday 16th May. Ard Mhacha abú.
Friday 1st May 2015
Simplyfuit Junior A League Rd 4
Tullysaran v Ballyhegan
Ballyhegan travelled to Tullysaran on Friday night for their fourth league outing looking to make amends for the previous round's defeat at Belleek.
The task was made all the harder for the Davitts as the hosts got off to the perfect start, finding the net in the first 2 minutes. Tullysaran dominated the opening 15 minutes and added a further 4 points to open up a 7 point lead. Ballyhegan eventually managed to find the score to settle themselves through half back Conor Loughran with a well taken point from the right on 16 minutes. They added to this minutes after with a free kick from the boot of corner forward Conal McKeever. Goal keeper Jonny McKeever stepped up to land a long range free in between 2 further points from Tullysaran, both from frees to go into the break.
Half time: Tullysaran 1-06 Ballyhegan 0-03
A huge improvement was needed from the Davitts going in to the second half if they were to get anything out of this game. Tullysaran were first off the mark once again as they converted a free in the opening minute of the half. The Davitts, to their credit, got their heads down after this and began to dominate with most of the play in the hosts half of the pitch. Conal McKeever added 2 more points from frees but despite the dominance - a combination of some wayward shooting, a poor final ball and some important decisions going against them - Ballyhegan couldn't capitalise further. The hosts extended their lead with a free kick on 40 minutes before the Davitts once again set up camp in the oppositions half. This resulted in points from Conal McKeever, Paddy Marley and Paul Nixon but for the same reasons as before Ballyhegan couldn't capitalise further. With the visitors needing a goal to draw level and time quickly running out, Tullysaran hit one free at the end to out the game beyond the Davitts.
Final score: Tullysaran 1-09 Ballyhegan 0-08
Following a very disappointing opening half, it has to be said Ballyhegan were the better side in the second half and will feel they deserved something out of the game. Credit to Tullysaran who defended well but the Davitts can feel buoyed from their efforts in the second period.
Ballyhegan team lined out as follow: Jonny McKeever (c) 0-01 (f), Roger McCormick, Mark McKeever, Joey Murphy, Shane McKeever, Tony Keegan, Conor Loughran 0-01 (James McAtarsney), Jack Rafferty, Mark Hughes, Rory McKeever (James McKeever), John Guy, Daniel McKeever (Thomas Reynolds), Conal McKeever 0-04 (3f) (Stefan McNally), Paul Nixon 0-01, Paddy Marley 0-01 (f)
Ballyhegan B v Tir Na nOg B
Following on from their opening day draw away to Eire Og the B team travelled into Portadown to take on Tír na nÓg on Wednesday 22 April 2015. Played on a sunny evening it was the Portadown men who go off to the brighter start scoring 2 goals in the first 10 minutes but points from PJ McNally, Conall Gallagher, James McKeever and Paddy Marley kept Ballyhegan in contention going into the second quarter. Having scored 2 early goals Tír na nÓg probably thought there was more goals to be had, but the Ballyhegan defence had other ideas and following great work in defence from Adrian Knox, Ronan Tiffney, Jarlath McCann and Tony Keegan a number of other opportunities were thwarted, with Joseph McKeever particularly outstanding making several saves including a penalty. This gave the rest of the team a lift and good attacking play from half backs James McAtarsney, Eoin Reynolds and Tony Keegan left Ballyhegan finishing the half the stronger with points from Paddy Marley, Eoin Reynolds and 2 from the new boots of Shane Morgan leaving the half time score Ballyhegan 0-9 Tír na nÓg 2-7.
After a well earned half time break the Davitts went out and started off best with an excellent left footed point from Stefan McNally getting them off and running. Tír na nÓg replied with 5 unanswered points to put some daylight between the teams. Tír na nÓg freshened up their team with a number of substitutions but the Ballyhegan defence stood firm and the team responded. Shane Morgan and JP Mckeever starting to throw their weight around and dominate the midfield with a number of clean catches. Further strong runs from the midfield and half forwards and good work from Gerard Kerr and Gerard Morgan had the Davitts on top for the last 10 minutes outscoring Tír na nÓg and dominating the middle third. With further points from the impressive trio of Paddy Marley (2), James McKeever and Shane Morgan Ballyhegan finished the stronger but just fell short at the final whistle. Final Score Ballyhegan 0-14; Tír na nÓg 2-15.
This was an excellent team performance from Ballyhegan and one they can be proud of.
Ballyhegan Team – Joseph McKeever, Jarlath McCann, Adrian Knox, Ronan Tiffney, Eoin Reynolds, James McAtarsney, Tony Keegan, Shane Morgan, James McKeever, Stefan McNally, Paddy Marley, Gerard Kerr, Gerard Morgan, Conall Gallagher, PJ McNally.
Sunday 26th April 2015
Armagh Junior A League Rd 3
Belleek v Ballyhegan
Ballyhegan made the journey to South Armagh to take on Belleek on Sunday past hoping to build on their impressive victory over St Michael's the previous week.
The hosts, chasing their first win of the campaign, had other ideas however and went into an early league in an error-ridden opening 15 minutes. After 16 minutes and 3 points to the bad, the Davitts opened their account for the day through midfielder John Guy following good work in defence from Roger McCormick. Jack Rafferty added a second soon after coming from good work from Shane and Rory McKeever. Belleek hit back with a free 2 minutes later to go 2 points up. The Davitts seemed to be getting to grips with the game scoring 3 points in as many minutes to take the lead through free kicks from Conal McKeever, 'keeper Jonny McKeever and corner back Joey Murphy. Belleek drew level but another Conal McKeever free gave the visitors the lead going into the break.
Half time: Belleek 0-05 Ballyhegan 0-06
Despite having seemingly gotten to grips with game and going in a point up Ballyhegan unfortunately couldn't get going at all in the second half and Belleek to their credit capitalised on this. They took full advantage of all the mistakes and wayward passes Ballyhegan made scoring 8 unanswered points before the Davitts could add what were only consolation points in the final few minutes - a 50' from Jonny McKeever and a point from substitute Paddy Marley.
Full time: Belleek 0-13 Ballyhegan 0-08
A disappointing day all round for the Davitts with a lot of uncharacteristic errors and sloppy handling and passing. No doubt it will be worked on in training this week before we visit Tullysaran on Friday night at 7.15 and try to get our season back on track.
Ballyhegan team lined out as follows: Jonny McKeever 0-02 (1f, 1 50'), Roger McCormick, Mark McKeever, Joey Murphy 0-01 (Paddy Marley 37, 0-01), Ronan Devlin (Shane McKeever 48), Tony Keegan (Conor Loughran 30), Mark Hughes, John Guy 0-01, Rory McKeever, Jack Rafferty 0-01, Paul Nixon (James McKeever 39), Daniel McKeever (Thomas Reynolds 45), Shane McKeever (Stefan McNally), Conal McKeever 0-02 (2f)
Sunday 19th April 2015
Junior A League Round 2
Ballyhegan Davitts v St. Michael's, Newtownhamilton
St. Michael's, Newtownhamilton made the journey north to Ballyhegan on what was a pleasant Sunday afternoon. After defeating Lissummon in their opening game, the visitors were keen to make it two wins from two but the Davitts - frustrated after drawing their opening tie against Cross IIs - wanted to make amends and take the maximum points this time.
It was the hosts who got off to the better start, young Conal McKeever continuing where he left off from last week, fired the Davitts into an early 3 point lead with 2 frees and a fine effort from the left. The tight home defence broke down an attack and launched a blistering counter attack which Mark Hughes converted. Literally seconds from defence to attack to a 4 point lead. A Jonny McKeever save after 10 minutes resulted in a 50' for the visitors which they converted to reduce the deficit. Ballyhegan replied in great style reeling off 4 points in a row in a 5 minute spell, Conal McKeever with another free, half forwards Paul Nixon and Jack Rafferty with a point each and goalkeeper Jonny McKeever with a long rage free from the left. St Michael's pulled back 2 points before half time, both from frees to reduce the Davitts lead.
Half time: Ballyhegan 0-08 St. Michael's 0-03
The side exchanged early points at the start of the second half with Paul Nixon again on target for Ballyhegan. 5 minutes into the half the Davitts lost young Jack Raffety to a black card and the visitors pulled another point back soon after to reduce the gap to 4 and lift them a bit. Ballyhegan, determined not to let their lead slip,upped it a gear and hit unanswered points to open up a 9 point gap, Conal McKeever's reliable boot with 2 more frees, Paul Nixon, Daniel McKeever and young half back Shane McKeveer all on target. The visitors pulled 2 back but in the closing minutes Ballyhegan put the result beyond doubt with further scores from substitute James McKeever cutting inside on the right and firing over and a cool fisted effort from Conal McKeever.
Full time: Ballyhegan 0-16 St Michael's 0-07
An impressive performance all round from the Davitts, particularly in defence where the lads kept their shape and gave very little away. It was important to take both points from this game and the lads impressive fitness levels at this early stage of the season showed well. Despite hitting 16 points on the day there should have been more as a few chances passed us by, but that is something which will no doubt be worked on.
Ballyhegan team lined out as follows: Jonny McKeever (c) 0-01 (f), Roger McCormick, Mark McKeever, Joey Murphy, Conor Loughran, Plunkett McCormack, Shane McKeever (0-01), Mark Hughes 0-01, John Guy, Rory McKeever (James McKeever 28 0-01), Jack Raffery 0-01 (Paddy Marley 35 bc), Paul Nixon 0-03 (Gerard Morgan 52), Thomas Reynolds (Daniel McKeever 43 0-01), Shane McKeever, Conal McKeever 0-07 (5f)
U14s Begin with a win
Ballyhegan Davitts under 14s got their 2015 season up and running on Tuesday 14 April 2015 in a closely contested match against Sarsfields.
Played at Ballyhegan Park this was the first match of the season and the young Davitts started well with points from James McCormack, Ethan and Matthew McAtarsney putting them into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead after 10 minutes. Sarsfields fought back and a goal put them a point ahead before Ballyhegan replied with a blistered run of scores reeling off 3-3 without reply with goals from Jack Furphy and Ethan McAtarsney. Whilst the forwards were doing their bit the defence was solid with James Crummie, Kevin McCann and Dan McKeever breaking up a number of Sarsfields attacks. As the half drew to a close a bit of complacency set in and Sarsfields managed 3 quick goals in the last 5 minutes to leave the score 3-9 to 4-2 at half-time.
With Peter McGrane replacing the injured Dan McKeever for the second half, it was still all to play for in the but it was Sarsfields who got off to the better start pulling it back to within a point within 10 minutes. Ballyhegan didn't panic, though it took some great work by Michael McCann, Jamie McGahan and James Crummie in defence to keep the Sarsfields forwards out.
With Ryan Rafferty and Ethan McAtarsney starting to dominate midfield it gave the hard working half forward line of John Doherty, James McCormack and Sam Harrison plenty of opportunity to run at the Sarsfields defence. Further points by Peter McGrane and Jack Furphy and a goal by Jack following good work by James Crummie had Ballyhegan 6 points up again with 10 minutes to go. Sarsfields needed a goal and they managed to get 2 in the last 10 minutes to draw the game. The game was finely balanced and it took the quick reactions of Tiernan Donachy who came off his line twice in the closing stages cut out the Sarsfields attack, with James Crummie also catching the ball under his own cross bar when under pressure. From one of these interceptions the ball was moved quickly into the forward line to James McCormack who was fouled. James converted the resulting free which turned out to be the last play of the game.
This was a close contest between 2 well matched teams. Ballyhegan always had the upper hand and were always able to get the scores when it mattered most and with 15 points scored thoroughly deserved their victory.
Final score Ballyhegan Davitts 4-15: Sarsfields 6-07Ballyhegan Team – Tiernan Donachy, Dan McKeever, Jamie McGahan, Michael McCann, Kevin McCann, James Crummie, Ryan Rafferty, Ethan McAtarsney, John Doherty, James McCormack, Sam Harrison, Jack Furphy, Matthew McAtarsney, Peter McGrane, Sean Hughes, Thomas Hughes, James Harvey.
Wednesday 15th April 2015
North Armagh Reserve League result:
Eire Og 0-07 Ballyhegan 0-07
Good to see some familiar faces back with us last night in Adrian Knox and 'Big Sam' Al-Janabi, welcome back lads!
Best wishes to the Eire Og player who suffered what looked like a serious injury right at the end of the game.
Sunday 12th April 2015
Junior A League Round 1
Ballyhegan Davitts v Crossmaglen IIs
Ballyhegan opened their league campaign on Sunday against familiar opponents in Crossmaglen IIs. The teams met on 4 occassions last term, all of which were close encounters and it proved no different this time around.
Heavy rain over ther weekend led to poor conditions underfoot on the day which caused erorrs on both sides.
The home team started better laying siege on the visitor's goal with Plunkett McCormack and Rory McKeever creating early goal chances only to be denied on both occassions. Midfielder John Guy fielded a great ball and launched another attack which created a scramble in the box and after another effort on goal, a shot of the post, the ball eventually found its way out to County U-21 player Jack Rafferty who sensibly fisted over to open the scoring after 6 minutes. Goalkeeper and captain Jonny McKeever made his way up the pitch soon after to convert a 50' and double the lead. Young corner forward Conal McKeever then increased the lead further with a nice effort from the let following good work from Paul Nixon. Conal was on target again 5 minutes later with a free and almost immeadiately after kicked his third of the half again following good interchange play with Paul Nixon. Cross opened their account on 20 minutes with 2 scores in quick succession, the first from play and a free kick a minute later. Full forwad Paul Nixon replied for the Davitts soon after following good build up play from substitute Shane McKeever and Conal McKeever. Just before half time Cross were awarded and penalty that was hit low to the right and wide. Ballyhegan had time for one more attack which resulted in a Jack Rafferty hitting a fantastic free from far out on the right hand side.
Half time: Ballyhegan 0-07 Crossmaglen IIs 0-02
Ballyhegan were quick off the mark in the second half with 2 points in the first minute. Corner forward Daniel McKeever scored following good hassling on the defender then half forward Rory McKeever pointed after being on the receiving end of a great ball from Shane McKeever. Cross pulled 2 back before Conal McKeever hit another free and Jack Rafferty blasted over on 40 minutes. The visitors replied with a goal a minute later with Plunkett McCormack hitting a point for the home side straight away. The South Armagh men then had two very profitable attacks both of which resulted in goals for them and, very much against the run of play, saw them go in to a one point lead with 10 minutes to go. Goalkeeper Jonny McKeever was once again on target with a long range free to bring the game level. Cross added 2 more points to lead with 2 minutes to go. The Davitts however, to their credit, kept fighting and won 2 free kicks, both of which were converted by Conal McKeever, the second one being the last kick of the ball earing a draw.
Full time: Ballyhegan 0-15 Crossmaglen IIs 3-06
Ballyhegan played some great football for the majority of the game and really should have been out of sight. They will be extremely disappointed with being caught out and conceding 3 goals in the second half but can take credit for coming back to avoid defeat.
Up next is St Michael's Newtownhamilton at home on Sunday 19th April at 2pm.
Ballyhegan team lined out as follows: Jonny McKeever (c) 0-02 (1 50', 1f), Roger MCCormick, Shane McKeever, Conor Loughran, Plunkett McCormack 0-01, Tony Keegan (Mark McKeever 46), Mark Hughes, John Guy, Rory McKeever 0-01 (Thomas Reynolds 38), Jack Rafferty 0-03 (1f), James McKeever (Shane McKeever 20), Daniel McKeever 0-01 (Paddy Marley 56), Paul Nixon 0-01, Conal McKeever 0-06 (3f)