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Senior men win again!

posted 26 May 2012, 16:39 by Shaun-Marty Lawless

Forkhill v Ballyhegan – 25/05/12

Ballyhegan Davitts made the long journey to South Armagh to take on a strong Forkhill team who before throw in were 3 points & 2 places above Ballyhegan in the SimplyFruit.com Junior League.

Forkhill were first off the mark registering a point inside the first minute. They then doubled their lead despite strong tackling from the impressive Mel Courtney & Tony Keegan. Ballyhegan got on the scoreboard thanks to a great long range effort from Paul Nixon following a pinpoint pass from the tireless Aidan Kelly.

At the 7 minute mark Forkhill re-established their two point advantage following the conversion of a debatable close range free (0:03 to 0:01).

Play was interrupted when, as a result of strong tackling, Sean McNally clashed heads with his opponent. Thankfully neither sustained serious injury.

Soon after Ballyhegan registered the score of the game when Paul Courtney won a ball he had no right to win & picked out Paddy Marley who expertly fed Conor Williamson to split the posts with ease.

Forkhill were then awarded, in quick succession, two further questionable free kicks which were both converted putting the home side three in front.

Paddy Marley then converted a free won by Paul Nixon following further impressive play from the dominant Paul Courtney. Philip Kelly then narrowed the difference to the minimum with a trademark long range effort with his trusty left foot after a strong run from Tony Keegan.

The younger of the Kelly brothers, now very much in the groove, registered his second point to put the Davitts on level terms this time assisted by the upright!

Paul Nixon then registered the first of Ballyhegan’s two goals following yet more strong work from Paul Courtney in & around the middle of the park, Philip Kelly also instrumental in the move (0:05 to 1:05).

Paul Courtney then scored Ballyhegan’s second goal from the half way line! A somewhat fortuitous score but just reward for the impressive midfielders’ efforts. Ballyhegan now ahead by the two goals (0:05 to 2:05).

Tony Keegan then fed Aidan Kelly who further extended Ballyhegan’s lead to seven points with what was to be the last score of an entertaining first 30 minutes. Just before the half time whistle Tony Keegan was booked in what I can only assume was a case of mistaken identity.

An impressive first half, albeit after a somewhat sluggish opening 10 minutes, gave Ballyhegan a much needed seven point advantage (0:05 to 2:06) going in to the second half in which the home team would enjoy the advantage of an ever freshening breeze.

Ballyhegan continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession in the opening minutes of the second half but failed to capitalise with at least four early wides. Scores would prove hard to come by playing in to the wind and after Forkhill registered the first two scores of the second half, to reduce the margin to five points (0:07 to 2:06), it became clear our defence would be tested.

This was challenge to which all eight of our defenders – Jonny McKeever & Ronan Devlin (who replaced the injured Sean McNally) included duly rose. Mark McKeever, Plunkett McCormack and Conor Morgan in particular catching the eye. Netminder Jonny McKeever acted as sweeper to go affect on a number of occasions.

Philip Kelly then converted a free after a Forkhill defender lifted the ball off the ground to extend Ballyhegan’s lead to six (0:07 to 2:07).

Forkhill then scored three unanswered points to reduce the margin to three (0:10 to 2:07) before Philip Kelly’s fourth point of the game, following brave play from Paddy Marley, which turned out to be the last score of the game (0:10 to 2:08).

John Guy accepted a yellow card after cleverly fouling his man to disrupt a promising Forkhill attack and use up a few precious seconds in what was becoming a frantic last few minutes.

Despite their best efforts Forkhill could not breach the Ballyhegan defence and the final whistle was met with cheers from the loyal travelling support.

A strong team performance from all 16 players involved. In defence Mel Courtney made Forkhill’s impressive number 17 work hard for every ball whilst Conor Morgan and Tony Keegan excelled particularly with strong attacking runs.

In midfield Paul Courtney excelled from start to finish covering every blade of grass ably supported by the ever willing John Guy.

In attack the young nimble full forward line of Philip Kelly, Paul Nixon & Paddy Marley impressed whilst Jack Wilson worked tirelessly in support.

Competition for a place in the first 15 appears to have intensified evidenced by the talent Ballyhegan were able to hold in reserve. Ballyhegan ABU! UTD!

Ballyhegan Team:

Jonny McKeever, Sean McNally (Ronan Devlin 43mins), Mel Courtney, Mark McKeever, Tony Keegan, Plunkett McCormack, Conor Morgan, Paul Courtney (1:00), John Guy, Jack Wilson, Conor Williamson (0:01), Aidan Kelly (0:01), Philip Kelly (0:04), Paul Nixon (1:01), Paddy Marley (0:01)

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