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Ballyhegan Progress in Championship

posted 19 Aug 2014, 04:04 by Jarlath McCann
Sunday 17th August 2014
Armagh Junior Championship Pre-qualifier round.
Ballyhegan Davitts v Clady
Mullabrack played host to this Championship qualifier game on an extremely windy Sunday afternoon. The match was supposed to have been played a week previous but the wet weather wouldn't allow for it. With Ballyhegan struggling in division 3A and Clady proving to be one of the better sides in division 3B, this promised to be a tough, hard-fought game with both sides eager to progress.
As the contest got underway it was Clady who got to grips with it first starting the brighter of the two sides taking the lead after 2 minutes with their number 14 slotting over an effort from the right hand side. The Davitts responded through corner forward Paddy Marley following good work from wing-forward Paul Nixon. Clady hit back immediately as a long ball in was punched over the bar. The men in green extended their lead soon after with a strong run from midfield resulting in their number 8 splitting the posts from range.
With Clady 2 points up and looking the better side in the early stages the Davitts needed to respond quickly to get back on track and they did just that with a goal on 12 mins with full forward Shane McCormack getting on the end of a well worked attack to squeeze the ball through a number of bodies to find the net. Soon after wing forward Conor Loughran found himself in space and embarked on a 40 yard run at goal that drew a great save from the Clady 'keeper. The game was soon level again the Davitts conceded a free 30 yards out and Clady's number 14 converted. Ballyhegan replied with a free of their own with Paddy Marley both winning and converting from 20 yards to regain the lead with 10 minutes of the half remaining. Marley was starting to bother the Clady defence now and after jinking past his man again he was caught late and again converted the resulting free kick. Clady replied with an excellent point before County Minor star Jack Rafferty pointed with his first touch after coming on as a first half substitute to leave the Davitts 2 up and the break.
Half time: Ballyhegan 1-04 Clady 0-05
Ballyhegan opened the scoring in the second half with a well worked move from their young guns. Conor Loughran, Tiernan Power and Jack Rafferty all combined with Jack Rafferty finishing the move with a score. It was then Tiernan's turn to make his mark as he split the posts soon after with an effort from the left hand side to extend Ballyhegan's lead to 4 points.
A Clady attack came up against a strong and resistant Ballyhegan defensive line who kept them out well but Clady to their credit kept going and broke through the line to raise a white flag and bring a kick of the ball between the sides. This, however, would prove to be Clady's last socre of the game as Ballyhegan upped the intensity well to finish off the game with 6 unanswered points. 
Tiernan Power again showed his composure in front of goal with his second point of the afternoon. Paddy Marley then added his fourth point of the day before an excellent score from midfileder and vice-captain Conor Williamson. Tiernan Power plucked a ball from the sky in the middle and fed Williamson who hit a now trademark long range score. Wing forward Conor Loughran then added another before he Davitts were awarded a penalty for a cynical foul on Padd Marley which led to a black card for the Clady defender. Marley's effort unfortunately came off the post and away from danger.
Goalkeeper Jonny McKeever soon after kicked what would prove be the final score of the day with a fantastic effort from a 45.
Full time: Ballyhegan 1-12 Clady 0-06
After an unconvincing first half the Davitts settled well in the second period and really came in to their own, upping the intensity all over the pitch and using the bench well. This now gives us a platform to build on in the next round against O'Hanlon's Poyntzpass on Sunday 24th August in Mullabrack once more. Minor players Shane McKeever, Jack Rafferty, Tiernan Power and Thomas Reynolds have all came into the squad lately adding depth to it and increasing competition for all for a place on the starting 15.
Ballyhegan team lined out as follows: Jonny McKeever 0-01 (1 45), Shane McKeever, Conor Morgan, Roger McCormick, Tony Keegan (Jarlath McCann 55), Plunkett McCormack (Tiernan Power 27 0-02), Rory McKeever (Gerard Morgan 50), Conor Williamson 0-01, John Guy, Joey Murphy (c), Paul Nixon, Conor Loughran 0-01, Paddy Marley 0-05 (3f), Shane McCormack 1-00, James McKeever (Jack Rafferty 25, 0-02)