First up in this years junior B1 football championship was Ballyhooly which took place under lights in a well prepared Mourneabbey venue. We hit the ground running from the outset and had three good points on board from Vincent Burke, Alan Sheedy and Haulie Burke before Ballyhooly had two points of their own in the 10th and 12th minutes to close the gap.
We were creating a lot of good chances but unfortunately these were missed when the scores were there for the taking but at least we were making the chances which was a very encouraging sign. Our next point came from a good passage of play when Richard Burke, Robert McHugh and Richard Hallihan set up Eamon Fitzgerald for a well taken score to put us two in front after 17mins played.
Ballyhooly were next to score when they got in for a point on the 20min mark but amazingly this was to be the last score they would get as our backline and hard working midfield closed up shop for the remainder of the game, Paul and Vincent Burke added two more points before the half time whistle to give us a three point lead heading into the second half.
We were expecting an early onslaught from last year’s champions but thankfully it was our boys who upped the tempo and started the half with real conviction and 5mins into the half we got the vital score when Sean Lynch and Kenneth Barry set up Vincent Burke for a very well taken goal, this was followed by further points from Haulie Burke and wing back Brian O’Reilly to stretch our lead to 8pts (1-8 to 0-3).
Ballyhooly created chances in this half but when they did venture foward they were quickly snubbed out by the excellent defending of Brian Sheedy, Padraig Fitzgerald and Richard Burke and behind them in goals Dylan O’Callaghan was very assured with any ball that came his way and his kick outs were putting us on the front foot at every opportunity.
We were totally dominating the game heading into the last ten minutes and when Colman set up Eoin O’Regan for our ninth point we were well on our way to victory over our near neighbours, at this stage we had the luxury of introducing fresh legs on to the field with Brendan Hayes, Niall Barry, Darren Roche and the returning Stephen Donegan all brought on to see the tie out.
Our next point came from our lively and outstanding midfielder Sean Lynch when he ran at the Ballyhooly defence and pointed from the 21 yard line, his midfield partner in crime Haulie was not to be outdone and when he was set by Darren Roche and Niall Barry he carved out a great score when he handpassed over from an acute angle, we finished the game on the front foot and had two more points from Kenneth Barry and Haulie to run out comfortable winners and advance to a meeting with Millford.
On the night we were also missing the services of Eoin McHugh, Jamie Sheedy, Jerome Fitzgerald, Shaun Cronin, James Hayes and Jonathan Dennehy and with these boys back for the semifinal against Millford it will make a big difference to the squad and give the selectors a few headaches when picking their team.
Team: Dylan O’Callaghan, Padraig Fitzgerald, Brian Sheedy, Richard Burke, Brian O’Reilly(0-1), Robert McHugh, Colman O’Reilly, Sean Lynch(0-1), Haulie Burke(0-4), Eoin O’Regan(0-1), Alan Sheedy(0-1), Vincent Burke(1-2), Eamon Fitzgerald (0-1), Paul Burke(0-1), Richard Hallihan. Subs: Kenneth Barry(0-1), for Eamon Fitzgerald, Niall Barry for Richard Hallihan, Brendan Hayes for Vincent Burke, Darren Roche for BrianO’Reilly, Stephen Donegan for Alan Sheedy.