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Agonising defeat for Davitts

posted 3 Sep 2014, 08:47 by Jarlath McCann

Saturday 30th August 2014

 

Armagh Junior Championship 2nd qualifier round.

Ballyhegan Davitts v Crossmaglen IIs

 

Ballyhegan travelled to Whitecorss on Saturday past to take on their now familiar rivals Crossmaglen IIs in this 2nd round Junior Championship qualifier. Despite being beaten by 2 points by the Rangers in the opening round at the start of August, the Davitt’s went into what would be the fourth meeting between the two sides this season, optimistic of progressing.

 

It was the South Armagh men however who got off to the brighter start on the night as they kicked the opening 3 points without reply from a nervous looking Ballyhegan outfit. Not for the first time this year it took a pointed free from the reliable boot of corner forward Paddy Marley to get the Davitts off the mark.

Ballyhegan didn’t build on this as their poor start continued, slack marking in their defence let Cross in for a further 3 unanswered points allowing them to open up a 5 point lead at 0-01 to 0-06. Centre half forward John Guy pulled one back with a fine effort only for Cross to reply with a point almost immediately to keep 5 between the sides.

Ballyhegan then hit a purple patch seeing them yield 1-02 to bring the game level. Midfielder Conor Williamson hit a huge point from distance before Paddy Marley notched a goal and a point, the former coming from good interchange play between Plunkett McCormack and Mark Hughes and the latter once again from a dead ball.

The sides then exchanged points, Conor Williamson again on target for the Davitts, to go into the interval all square.

Half time: Ballyhegan Davits 1-05 Crossmaglen IIs 0-08

 

Ballyhegan opened the scoring in the second half with a long range effort from Mark Hughes but Cross replied with a goal and a point in quick succession to go into a 3 point lead. Not to outdone, Ballyhegan hit back with another goal, this time from minor player Tiernan Power, the game level once more.

Cross then hit their own purple patch, notching up 1-03 to open up a 6 point lead with time beginning to run out. But Ballyhegan were’nt done yet and rallied well to get right back into the game. Full forward Paul Nixon and Conor Williamson both pointed to reduce the deficit. A Cross counter attck in the midst of the Ballyhegan pressure yielded another point for the Rangers. Ballyhegan fought even harder and hit 0-04, a fine 45’ from keeper Jonny McKeever, 2 more from Paddy Marley and a great free under pressure from substitute James McKeever to bring the game level with minutes to go.

Cross won a free 30 yards out on the brink of full time. Their full forward stepped up under huge pressure and managed to split the posts with his effort and put the Rangers into the quarter final  

 

Full time Ballyhegan Davitts 2-12 Crossmaglen IIs 2-13

A heart breaking defeat for the Davitts who will rue a sloppy start to the game. At no time did the give up hope and battled bravely right to the final whistle. As this year’s Championship run comes to a end, attention now turns back to the league with 2 vital games remaining which must be won to avoid relegation.

Ballyhegan team lined out as follows : Jonny McKeever 0-01 (’45), R McCormick, C Morgan, T Keegan (S McKeever), J Murphy c, P McCormack, R McKeever, C Williamson 0-03, M Hughes 0-01, C Loughran (J McKeever 0-01, 1f), J Guy 0-01, J Rafferty, T Power 1-00 (S McCormack), P Nixon 0-01, P Marley 1-04 (1f)

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