The Heath 2-14
Ballyroan Abbey 0-7
By Denis J. Croke
ONCE The Heath scored two goals in the 15th minute this game was over as a contest. And as the hour wore on the game deteriorated into a dull, lifeless affair lacking any sort of competitive atmosphere.
The Heath totally dominated but judging by manager, Denis Lalor’s urgings from the sideline, particularly in the second half, they will need to be a lot more clinical if they are to challenge for honours as the championship progresses.
Michael J. Tierney had opened the scoring in the fifth minute giving Ballyroan Abbey an early lead, but that was the only time over the hour that they would get their heads in front.
Evin Keane levelled affairs with a lovely first time strike in the seventh minute, and an equally impressive point two minutes later had The Heath in front.
Tierney landed his and Ballyroan’s second from a placed ball but James Nerney replied almost immediately. Chris Bergin put two between the sides in the 14th minute, but soon it was to all go pear shaped for Ballyroan.
Cathal Whelan delivered a beautiful diagonal pass to Ciaran Booth who picked out Keane and he deftly finished to the net. Less than a minute later Booth was again the provider, this time picking out Chris Bergin and soon the green flag was waving again.
The Heath were to follow with three bad wides before Bergin stopped the rot with a point, following a good move. Tierney got only Ballyroan’s third point in the 24th minute, which was cancelled out four minute later by Andrew Fitzgerald to leave The Heath leading 2-6 to 0-3 at the break.
One would have thought there would be some sort of a fight-back from Ballyroan on the restart, but this was far from the case. They looked completely demoralised and never mounted any sort of a challenge in the second half.
Cathal Whelan swapped points with Adam Brennan, but three unanswered points from Fitzgerald (2) and Bergin had 12 points separating the sides in the 48th minute.
Padraig McMahon was on target for the Sky Blues but again The Heath hit back, Daithí Carroll, Keane and Chris Bergin all finding the target.
With time petering put Eoghan Whelan and Ruairí Dunne sandwiched a Cathal Whelan free.
The final whistle brought welcome relief for Ballyroan and their supporters who now face a relegation semi-final against Ballyfin.
THE HEATH: Joe Walsh; Mark Dowling, Aiden Bergin, Colin Nestor; Tony Connolly, James Nerney (0-1), Robert Dowling; Andrew Fitzgerald (0-3), Denis Booth; Brian Ging (1-0), Ciaran Booth, Cathal Whelan (0-2f); Daithí Carroll (0-1), Chris Bergin (1-5, 0-2f), Evin Keane (0-2).
Sub: Eoin Delaney for Nestor (56m)
BALLYROAN ABBEY: Christopher Lalor; Philip Shortall, Gavin Tynan, Conor Brennan; Aaron Carroll, Ruairí Dunne (0-1), Mark Cahill; Martin Scully, Eoin Kearns; James Keegan, Mark McDonald, Padraig McMahon (0-1); Jamie Whelan, Adam Brennan (0-1), Michael J. Tierney (0-3, 1f).
Subs: Ciaran Carroll for J. Keegan (h/t), Niall Wallace for McDonald (41m), Eoghan Whelan (0-1) for Scully (48m), Ciaran Keegan for Brennan (56m)
Referee: Joe Brennan (Crettyard)