Ballyroan Abbey 0-13
Mountmellick Gaels 0-9
By Pat Delaney
FOR these two clubs the first round is all about winning, they don’t dare to dream about being involved in the business end. That puts a lot of pressure on the players but on Sunday it took the game a long time to come to life and no score arrived until the tenth minute.
When it did arrive it was a former Mountmellick under age player, who opened the scoring for the Sky Blues. Adam Brennan kicked from the left hand side into the Town goal and when it was tight near the finish he landed two massive scores. In between he posted three more.
Michael John Tierney doubled the Ballyroan advantage and Brennan put three between the sides in the 18th minute. At that stage the Mountmellick had posted seven wides.
They then introduced Jimmy Hilliard for the injured Eoin George and he set up Colm Coss for Mountmellick’s opening score in the24th minute. Niall Mullen added another two minutes later and the teams were level when Hilliard set up Coss for his second two minutes before the break. Mullen added his second and in injury time Tierney posted his second leaving the score board reading 0-4 each.
A minute into the new half Mullin edged Mountmellick in front for the second time converting a close in free. Padraig McMahon levelled matters at the other end and Brennan regained the lead for the champions of ten years ago with his first of the second half.
Ballyroan were playing better now and two more points by Scott Conroy and Eoin Kearns put daylight between the teams. Another Brennan strike saw the margin extend to four with 40 minutes played.
Mountmellick hit back with a brace of points from Ben Reddin and Mullins but Tierney settled Ballyroan nerves, but he was then substituted and replaced by Martin Scully.
Mountmellick blew their chance hitting four awful wides and the London based Scott Conroy kicked a valuable point to put four between the teams with five minutes remaining. Mountmellick forced two frees converted by Mullin but it was two excellent strikes from Adam Brennan that ensured the Sky Blues safety in the top tier.
Mountmellick can play better and had they converted half their early chances the outcome might have been much different.
BALLYROAN ABBEY: Andrew Bonham; Mark Cahill, Gavin Tynan, Conor Brennan; Aaron Carroll, Ruairi Dunne, Padraig McMahon(0-1); Shaun Murphy, Eoin Kearns (0-1); Jamie Whelan, MJ Tierney (0-3), Mark McDonald; Adam Brennan (0-6), Scott Conroy (0-2), Liam Delaney.
Subs: Ciaran Carroll for McDonald (h/t), Martin Scully for Tierney (50m)
MOUNTMELLICK GAELS: Eoin Keogh; Ben Forde, Michael Lawlor, Ethan Lalor; Laurence Kenny, Darren Fitzpatrick, Oisin Morris; Colm Coss (0-2), Eoin George; David Kelly, Niall Mullen (0-6), Ben Reddin (0-1); Mark Grennan, Darragh Hanlon, Mark Dowling.
Subs: Jimmy Hilliard for George (20m, inj), Jason Caffrey for Grennan (37m), Con Maher for Hanlon (55m), Dan Wall for Morris (58m)
Referee: Joe Brennan (Crettyard)