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Ballyhegan Defeat Crossmaglen

posted 1 May 2011, 15:20 by Shaun-Marty Lawless

Sunday May 1st

Ballyhegan Davitt's v Crossmaglen Rangers II

Spring sunshine bathed Ballyhegan Park on Sunday as Ballyhegan played host to the All Ireland Club champions Crossmaglen Rangers second string.

Ballyhegan, aided by a strong breeze in the first half, started strongly going 3 points up in the opening 5 minutes. Paul Courtney, returning after a long injury lay off, scoring all three, including two 45's.

James McKeever then increased the lead with a terrific point from a tight angle following a pass from Gary McKeever.

After 12 minutes Conor Williamson ran down the left wing breaking several challenges, before cutting inside and splitting the posts with a great effort.

Two minutes later Mark Hughes profited from some quick thinking to kick a point following a quick Paul Courtney free kick.

The South Armagh men scored their first point mid way through the first half, pointing from a free kick in front of the posts. That score was followed with two more points, both from play before 20 minutes. A kick of the ball now between the sides.

Davitt's responded well inside a minute, Paul Courtney scoring his fourth point of the game, his third 45 and Shane McCormack twisted past his marker to strike from 30 metres out, two minutes later.

Full back Mel Courtney then scored a fabulous long range point from all of 40 metres, and in Injury time, Jack Wilson pointed after picking up the massive Jonny McKeever kick out. Seven points the difference at half time, the wind a big advantage for the home side.

Half Time: Ballyhegan 0.10 v Crossmaglen II 0.03

Ballyhegan now playing into the wind started the half in similar fashion to the first. Jack Wilson got his second score of the game shortly after the re-start, the keeper taking no chances, palming the ball over the bar.

James McKeever got his second score of the game, finishing off a great move involving Paul Nixon & Shane McCormack.

With fifteen minutes of the game remaining a Free kick from Gary McKeever following the foul on Conor Williamson put ten points between the sides, an unassailable lead.

Paul Courtney got his 5th point of the game (now playing in full back), finishing off a super Davitt's counter attack involving Conor Williamson & Jack Wilson again.

Cross rallied with a fine free kick from the touchline on the left & point from play a minute later to reduce the deficit to nine again.

With two minutes remaining, James McKeever looked to wrap up a decent display with a goal, only for his effort to be cleared off the goal line from a combination of defenders & Goalkeeper.

Into injury time & there was still time for Ballyhegan to gain the goal the performance deserved.

Mark McKeever expertly dispossessed a Cross attacker & pumped the ball forward, James McKeever won possession & fed the hard working Shane McCormack, now one-on-one with the out rushing keeper, he clinically struck the ball to the net with his left boot, with almost the last kick of the game.

Full Time: Ballyhegan 1.14 v Crossmaglen II 0.05

Much improved performance from Ballyhegan, a performance to build upon for more difficult challenges ahead!

Paul Courtney made a fantastic return to Senior football, finishing with 5 points. A driving force in midfield & in the last 15 minutes plugged the gap at full back following the injury to brother Mel.

Once again defence was strong for Ballyhegan, Sean McNally, Plunkett McCormack and Mark McKeever all made telling contributions.

Mark Hughes got through a mountain of work around midfield.

In attack Jack Wilson and Paul Nixon linked play well with intelligent contribution, while James McKeever & Shane McCormack caused the Cross full back line lots of problems with their constant running scoring 1-03 between them.

Ballyhegan Team lined out as follows:

Jonny McKeever, S. McNally, M. Courtney 0-01 (R. McKeever, 45), G. Quinn, M. McKeever, P. McCormack, A. Kelly, M. Hughes 0-01, P. Courtney 0-05 (3 45s), P. Nixon (P. Marley, 60), J. Wilson 0-02, G. McKeever 0-01 (1f), C. Williamson 0-01, S. McCormack 1-01, James McKeever