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Senior Men Promoted!

posted 6 Oct 2012, 15:00 by Shaun-Marty Lawless

Saturday October 6th 2012 Junior League Cup

Ballyhegan Davitts v Forkhill, Peadar O' Dornin

Ballyhegan hosted Forkhill on Saturday afternoon hoping for a win that would confirm promotion back to the second division and a place in the league final and a shot at some silverware.

A sodden pitch, meant heavy under foot conditions for the players, and with Forkhill still in the hunt for promotion a tight game would follow.

Intense and persistent tackling from the Ballyhegan rearguard and in particular Mel Courtney, Mark McKeever and John Guy halted the bright start made from the Forkhill outfit limiting the visitors to the conversion of a close range free kick inside the ten minute mark, the opening point of the game.

Mark Hughes responded for the Davitt's, collecting the ball on the right and kicking over the bar, under pressure, from a tight angle, following more terrific defending from Sean McNally, dispossessing the Forkhill danger-man Jemar Hall.

At the quarter hour mark wing back Jarlath McCann steamed forward, collected the ball and struck goal-wards, only to be denied by a wonderful diving defensive block!

Forkhill's impressive midfielder (#8) then put the visitors back in front, kicking a point under pressure in the 19th minute.

Mark Hughes again responded for Ballyhegan, kicking a classy point from the right hand side again, before Philip Kelly put the hosts in front for the first time. John Guy winning possession out the field, hit a first time long ball towards Paddy Marley, who palmed the ball to the waiting Kelly to score his opening point of the game.

The sides were level once more, when Jemar Hall pointed from play with five minutes remaining in the opening half.

The Davitts finished the half on top, first Mark Hughes kicked his third of the game with a high lofted effort, combining with Paddy Marley and Philip Kelly. Then Jack Wilson ran through the middle and blasted over the final point of the half, Davitts two up at the break.

Half Time: Ballyhegan 0.05 Forkhill 0.03

Philip Kelly converted a free kick awarded for a foul on Mark Hughes five minutes after the restart and Shane McKeever extended the Ballyhegan advantage to four points a couple of minutes later kicking from the right hand side of the goals, following some good industry from Mark Hughes, winning the ball inside, and delivering the final pass out.

Forkhill replied with a brace of points from play in the 40th minute, before two missed goal opportunities, one for each side. First Davitt's James McKeever, racing onto a through ball on the angle, kicked the ball just wide of the far post, soccer style. Next Jonny McKeever pulled off an incredible instinctive save flicking a shot onto the post and away from danger.

With ten minutes remaining Plunkett McCormack released Ballyhegan's workhorse midfielder John Guy through on goal, and he decided to take the safe option, planting the ball between the sticks.

The sides were level a minute later, Forkhill took a quick free kick and released the wing-forward (#10), who neatly drove the ball to the bottom corner of the net.

The goal renewed the Forkhill confidence and the South Armagh men were two points up entering the final five minutes of the game.

To Ballyhegan's credit, they dug in, Philip Kelly converted a free kick from the right hand side, after he was fouled and in the final minute of normal time substitute Tony Keegan stormed forward, received a pass, only to be upended from his blind-side, forty metres from goal. Up stepped the courageous Paddy Marley to kick the equalising point and send the Davitts back to the second division!!

Full Time: Ballyhegan 0.10 Forkhill 1.07

Davitts having not played a game in over a month, could have been vulnerable in this fixture, so credit to the lads for a solid performance and of course for all their efforts throughout the year! Hopefully those efforts will be rewarded with one more victory in the league final.

Another strong team performance, which makes it difficult to highlight individuals, however, the two stand-out players for Ballyhegan were firstly Mark McKeever in defence, who once more showed great leadership, strong in every tackle, dispossessing and distributing superbly throughout. And Mark Hughes in attack. Forkhill simply had no answer to the big fella, scoring three points from play, but also involved in almost every other score.

Ballyhegan Team lined out as follows:

Jonny McKeever, S. McNally (J. Murphy, 45), M. Courtney, M. McKeever, J. McCann (T. Keegan, 52), P. McCormack, A. Kelly, J. Guy 0.01, C. Morgan, Jack Wilson 0.01, S. McKeever 0.01, James McKeever (C. Williamson, 55), P. Kelly 0.03 (2f), M. Hughes 0.03, P. Marley 0.01 (1f)