Ballyroan Abbey 0-16
By Denis J. Croke
AS inspirational substitutions go, the introduction of Eoghan Whelan played a major role in Ballyroan Abbey’s late, late victory in O’Moore Park on Saturday. Not only did he score three points (two frees) but his overall play gave the winners the boost they needed.
But even Whelan was outshone by Padraig McMahon whose leadership and direction was the real difference between these two sides. It was the experienced wing-back who took on the extra responsibility when Ballyroan were reduced to 14 men shortly after the restart when Scott Conroy marched to a second yellow card.
Trailing by three points and being generally outplayed it did not look good for the Padraig Clancy trained side. But they dug deep and a late flurry of points saw them over the line.
Gary Walsh, with a brace, got Ballylinan off to a good start but despite being dominant they could never shake off Ballyroan who were ahead by the ninth minute thanks to points from Jamie Whelan, Padraig McMahon and Scott Conroy.
Over the next ten minutes they went toe to toe, Walsh (2), Andy McEvoy and John Kealy on target for Ballylinan, McMahon (2) and MJ Tierney for Ballyroan to leave them level.
Over the last ten minutes of the half Ballylinan took control. Three on the trot from Robbie Donoher, Jamie Farrell and Walsh were followed by an exchange of point between Eoin Kearns and Walsh left Ballylinan leading 0-10 to 0-7 at the break.
Both sides could have had a goal in the dying minutes of the half. Ciaran Carroll’s shot was easily saved by Aidan Walsh while Andrew Bonham made a brilliant full length save to deny Walsh.
Kearns and Walsh swapped frees on the restart before Conroy made his exit. By the mid-point of the half Ballylinan looked assured of victory after going into a four point lead.
That was reduced by Tierney and Whelan frees while an Andy McEvoy free stopped the rot.
But suddenly Ballyroan found an extra gear. Points flowed from Whelan (2) and Tierney to level affairs in the 56th minute. Another great point from McMahon edged Ballyroan ahead a minute later and this was quickly followed by Jamie Whelan to put two between them
Ciaran Carroll struck with a late point for Ballylinan but they did not have the time to send the game to a replay.
BALLYROAN ABBEY: Andrew Bonham; Mark Cahill, Gavin Tynan, Conor Brennan; Ruairi Dunne, Mark McDonald, Padraig McMahon (0-4); Eoin Kearns (0-3f), Jamie Whelan (0-2), Scott Conroy (0-1), Philip Shortall; Adam Brennan, MJ Tierney (0-3, 0-1f, 0-1 ‘45’), Ciaran Carroll.
Subs: Martin Scully for A Brennan (22m, inj), Eoghan Whelan (0-3, 0-2f) for Kearns (44m)
BALLYLINAN: Aidan Walsh; Cathal Leonard, Mark Garrett, Oisin Leonard; Conor Behan, Alan Farrell, Robbie Donoher (0-1), Pauric McEvoy, John Kealy (0-1); James Redmond, Cathail Dunne, Jamie Farrell (0-1), Podge Walsh (0-1), Gary Walsh (0-8, 0-5f, 0-2 ‘45’), Andy McEvoy (0-2f).
Subs: Ciaran Farrell for Redmond (28m), Rory Jacob for Behan (54m)
Referee: Eamon Strong (Emo)