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Davitts Draw League Opener

posted 13 Apr 2015, 03:41 by Jarlath McCann
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)