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Battling Seniors Home Defeat

posted 4 May 2013, 02:36 by Shaun-Marty Lawless

Friday May 3rd 2013

Intermediate League

Ballyhegan Davitts v O’Neills, An Port Mor

Round four of the Intermediate league was a rematch of the Junior League final from the end of last season, as current Armagh & Ulster Junior champions An Port Mor, visited Ballyhegan Park on Friday evening. Ballyhegan hoping for a more favourable result this time!

The Blackwater men starting the game impressively, kicked three points from play in the opening five minutes.

Ballyhegan's first score came a minute later. A low punt into the forward line from Mark Hughes was well collected by Paddy Marley, who was fouled, then converted the free kick himself.

This sparked a ten minute spell of dominance from the hosts, unfortunately this dominance did not register on the scoreboard, as a series of wide efforts and a couple of shots dropping short into the opposition keeper's arms.

The visitors then converted a '45 and a penalty kick to take a six point lead entering the final ten minutes of the first half.

Mark Hughes responded for the Davitts, kicking a point off his less favoured left boot, finishing off a move involving Paddy Marley, Eoin Reynolds & Conor Williamson.

An Port Mor struck another point from a free kick, before James McKeever had a soccer style strike on goal, for Ballyhegan, that just veered to the left of the post and wide.

The visitors advantage was extended to seven points in first have injury time, after an O’Neill's attacker took advantage of some Davitts defensive uncertainty, and splitting the posts just before the half time whistle.

Half Time: Ballyhegan 0.02 An Port Mor 1.06

After the restart the Davitts were quicker out of the traps. In the first minute, Paddy Marley again fouled, and again converted the free kick for his second of the game and Eoin Reynolds reduced the deficit to five points, two minutes later, with a well taken effort. Paul Courtney's drive around the middle creating both chances.

Seven minutes into the second half the visitors converted another free kick of their own, before Paddy Marley recycled a Shane McCormack effort and split the posts for the hosts.

The Blackwater men then put the game beyond reach with four points without reply as the game entered the final quarter of the game, a nine point deficit leaving Ballyhegan with too much to do.

To the credit of the Davitts, the lads showed incredible fighting spirit and finished the game strongest, rattling the visitors. Jack Wilson kicked a marvellous score from 40 metres, his chance created by Paddy Marley after some excellent defending by Joey Murphy.

Jack was involved again a couple of minutes later, as he fielded possession from a kick out, the ball played forward to young Conor McCann, who is showing excellent appetite for senior football in his début season, and Mark Hughes now in full forward, was on hand to sweep the ball over the bar, for his second of the game.

The O’Neill's men managed one more score eight minutes from time, but the impossible comeback seemed on as Paddy Marley once again converted from a free kick, awarded for yet another foul on the danger-man.

Paul Courtney's two points in two minutes reduced the deficit further to five points, with just four minutes of normal time remaining and before the final whistle there was but a kick of the ball between the sides as impact sub Conor Loughran pointed from play as did the excellent Paddy Marley, with his fifth of the evening.

Full Time: Ballyhegan 0.12 Wolfe Tones 1.12

The Davitt's were made regret missed opportunities, as they kicked twelve wides overall, but particularly in the first half when periods of dominance did not count on the scoreboard. However, the Davitt's players and supporters can take heart from this performance and in particular the reaction to going nine points down mid way through the second half.

In defence Conor Morgan and Joey Murphy excelled, dominating their immediate marker and influencing the game further forward with multiple interceptions and turnovers leading to counter attacks.

Around the middle of the field, against experienced and strong opposition the quartet of Paul Courtney, Conor Williamson, Mark Hughes and Jack Wilson all put in a brave & tireless display, putting their bodies on the line to win possession and feeding the forward line with dangerous ball.

In attack Paddy Marley was the stand out performer, kicking 5 points, always out in front and in space with clever runs, and always gets a tough time from defenders, if they catch him!

Shane McCormack too caught the eye, winning dirty ball all evening & proving the perfect link man when moved out around the half forward line.

Ballyhegan Team lined out as follows:

Jonny McKeever, J. McCann, C. Morgan, M. McKeever, T. Keegan, P. Courtney 0.02, J. Murphy, M. Hughes 0.02, C. Williamson, James McKeever (C. Loughran 0.01, 49), Jack Wilson 0.01, E. Reynolds 0.01 (S. McKeever, 49), S. McCormack, C. McCann, P. Marley 0.05 (3f)