Wednesday April 27th 2012
SimplyFruit.com Junior League
Ballyhegan Davitts v Laurence O’Toole’s, Belleek
Another midweek fixture for Ballyhegan’s senior men, with the visit of Belleek on Wednesday night, Davitt’s seeking a tenth win on the trot.
Thunder and rain broke the humid air, as both teams performed their warm up routines, leading to very slippery conditions.
The south Armagh visitors took a two point lead in the opening five minutes, despite a super Conor Morgan block in the build-up to the first score.
Davitt’s had two goal chances in this period, James McKeever blasted the ball off the post, after Paul Nixon off-loaded, and then Philip Kelly fisted a ball across the goal mouth, a few inches too high of James McKeever’s reach.
Philip Kelly finally got on the score sheet with a high left footed strike splitting the posts, wing back Sean McNally supporting well, to draw a defender and create space.
Paul Nixon then put the host’s two points in front with a super goal, in the tenth minute. Plunkett McCormack intercepting a Belleek pass in his own half, support was offered from Jarlath McCann, who fist passed to Mark Hughes for a sublime pass to the goal scorer, who finished with aplomb.
Belleek rallied well to take the lead with three points in just over five minutes, two from dead balls but Paddy Marley leveled from a free kick awarded for a foul on Paul Courtney, in the full forward line.
A ball worked from the Ballyhegan defence, ended up with livewire corner forward Paddy Marley playing Conor Williamson in space with a clever pass, but for the young forward to see his effort come back off the post.
Ballyhegan then took control of the game, Philip Kelly converting four free kicks the last a sensational effort from the almost the end line, in front of the stand, putting the hosts four points up approaching the half time whistle.
There was still time for Belleek to reduce the deficit, going in at the break, to a single goal, after utilizing a quick free kick to point from play.
Davitts however, still managed to extend their lead to five points, with two more converted free kicks from Paddy Marley’s right and Philip Kelly’s left boot.
Belleek got their first score of the half after seven minutes, a point from play, and the Ballyhegan forwards created another goal chance a minute later, this time Paddy Marley shooting just wide.
Corner back Jarlath McCann fielded a dangerous high ball in his own full back line, a super pluck from the sky, however as the ball was worked out from defence, a free kick was awarded to the visitors, which was duly converted.
Ballyhegan moved four points in front once more, entering the final quarter of the game, thanks to another Philip Kelly point, left footed over the shoulder, after being found by a super cross field reverse pass from Eoin Reynolds.
Paddy Marley’s third point was an individual effort, after successfully negotiating three defenders he managed to squeeze away his shot over the bar.
Belleek converted another free kick before the end, and in injury time John Guy dispossessed a Belleek attacker with a well timed precision tackle and passed long to Philip Kelly to kick the final score of the game.
There was still some time for Belleek to apply some late pressure. Conor Morgan ended the game as he started, forced into making a super block, whilst Jonny McKeever was still alert in nets, to protect his clean sheet, with a super low save at the finish.
This win puts Ballyhegan joint top of the division, on 25 points, at the league split. With a single point separating the top five teams, the remaining seven fixtures promise to be very competitive, which will be good preparation for the upcoming championship.
Conor Morgan and Aidan Kelly impressed in the back lines, first to most balls & tenacious in the tackle.
In midfield John Guy put in a man of the match performance, again showing his exceptional work rate and intensity for the full hour, forcing multiple turnovers and interceptions, whilst delivering fast direct ball to the full forward line. Mark Hughes ably assisted in midfield after the early loss of Paul Courtney, fielding & distributing well in difficult conditions.
In attack the speed of Paul Nixon, Paddy Marley & Philip Kelly caused Belleek’s most concern.
We wish a speedy recovery to Paul Courtney, who had to retire injured in the first half!
Jonny McKeever, J. McCann, C. Morgan, Mark. McKeever, S. McNally, P. McCormack, A. Kelly, P. Courtney (E. Reynolds, 23), J. Guy, C. Williamson, M. Hughes, P. Nixon 1.00, P. Kelly 0.08 (5f), James McKeever (S. McKeever, 45), P. Marley 0.03 (2f)