Ballyhegan Davitts v Tullysaran O’Connells
With a strong breeze blowing across the pitch, both sides struggled to convert possession to scores, Ballyhegan kicking ten wides to Tullysaran’s three in the first half.
Tullysaran were first on the score sheet, but not to the thirteenth minute, with a score from play. Two minutes later Paddy Marley was fouled in front of the posts, as he attempted to win a direct ball in, and he gathered himself to split the posts for the Davitts first score.
Tullysaran’s impressive defending, with multiple blocked balls a feature of the game, turned over possession in the 20th minute and set up a quick counter attack for their second score of the game, a point from play.
Ballyhegan replied with a point from the boot of Eoin Reynolds. Plunkett McCormack delivered a pass to Paddy Marley, with a quick lay off to the on rushing Reynolds, who sped through two tackles and finish well, between the sticks.
Davitts threatened the Tullysaran goal soon after, Paddy Marley kicked a neat through ball to Jack Rafferty, who had lost his marker, and kicked a low drive goal-wards, but for the Tullysaran keeper to make a fine save and clear the danger.
Ballyhegan kicked the final two scores of the half to take the half time lead. First Paddy Marley played a quick free kick with Conor Morgan, receiving the ball back again, and with a more favourable angle kicked between the posts.
Next John Guy profited from Mark Hughes winning a referee’s throw in to add to the Ballyhegan Tally, a two point lead in a low scoring half.
Half Time: Ballyhegan 0.04 Tullysaran 0.02
Tullysaran opened the second half scoring two points, including one from a free kick, to level the sides once more.
Paddy Marley created another goal scoring chance, this time putting Eoin Reynolds through on goal, The Tullysaran keeper once again stood firm, pushing the Davitts attacker wide, the strike coming off the post in the end.
Marley then kicked two more points, bringing his tally to four either side of another converted ‘Saran free kick, the first from a free kick awarded for a foul on Eoin Reynolds and the second after finding space down the right wing, to receive the ball from Mark Hughes, after some good recycled possession from Ballyhegan.
Tullysaran levelled once more ten minutes into the second half, with a fisted point over the bar, but the game changer came as the game entered the final quarter.
Ballyhegan full back Mark McKeever, somehow managed to deny the O’Connell’s attack with a terrific goal line save, denying a certain goal. Davitts survived the resulting goal-mouth scramble, eventually working the ball up the field, Conor Morgan kicked a super ball into Paddy Marley, and once more Marley laid on a goal chance, this time Jack Rafferty shrugged off the challenge, as he kicked the ball to the back of the net, great strength and finish from the minor footballer.
Mark Hughes extended the Davitts advantage to four points with the point of the game from 40 metres, after Jack Rafferty bravely won possession, and with less than five minutes remaining, Paddy Marley isolated his marker, received an accurate ball from Jack Wilson, and clipped the ball between the sticks for his fifth point of the afternoon, and putting Ballyhegan in front by five.
Tullysaran rallied with the final three points of the game, to reduce the deficit to two points at the final whistle.
Davitts now set up a derby with near neighbours Annaghmore in the next round of the Championship, eager to gain revenge on a league defeat earlier in the season.
Full-Time: Ballyhegan 1.08 Tullysaran 0.09
Mark McKeever in defence was superb, safe pair of hands, tenacious in the tackle and of course made that all important save when the sides were level entering the final quarter.
Mark Hughes around the middle of the field also had a fine game, collecting primary possession more than any other player on the pitch, thanks also to some excellent kick outs from Jonny McKeever.
Finally Paddy Marley in attack was first class. The main threat once more in the Davitts attack, scoring five points, and setting up countless opportunities for his team mates.
Ballyhegan Team lined out as follows:
Jonny McKeever, T. Keegan, M. McKeever, R. McKeever, J. Wilson, P. McCormack, C. Loughran, C. Morgan, C. Williamson, M. Hughes 0.01, J. Guy 0.01, J. Rafferty 1.00, E. Reynolds 0.01 (James McKeever, 49), S. McCormack, P. Marley 0.05 (2f)