Arles Killeen 3-10
Ballyroan Abbey 2-10
By Denis J. Croke
DEPLOYED on the edge of the square, Donie Kingston wreaked havoc in the Ballyroan defence and was the corner-stone of Arles Killeen’s advance to this year’s semi-final.
To their credit, Ballyroan put up far more of a challenge than many had anticipated. Even when Kingston struck for a brace of goals midway through the opening half to give Killeen a seven point lead, the lads in sky blue were not fazed.
They didn’t just rally, they replied instantly with two goals of their own. And this was to be the trend over the hour. Killeen, who were determined not experience the fate of their neighbours Kilcruise the previous evening, would take the initiative.
Ballyroan would respond, close down any gap that had been created but could never quite get the noses in front, but did give Killeen a fright.
Killeen were ahead by a point thanks to Shane Julian and Brendan O’Shea, while Scott Conroy was n target for Ballyroan, before Kinston struck for his first goal.
There was an element of good luck when Ballyroan keeper Andrew Bonham fumbled John Mahon’s long delivery and Kingston pounced to palm the ball to the net in the 15th minute.
Less than a minute later Kinston rose highest to win another long delivery. This time he turned and sent the ball beyond Bonham. And, when Jason Enright converted a free, Killeen held a 2-3 to 0-1 with 17 minutes gone.
Killeen looked to be cruising but Ballyroan had other ideas. The impressive Adam Brennan won possession 20 metres out on the left. He left his marker for dead, cut in and from a narrow angle let fly. Having earlier been denied by Michael Leigh, this time his shot came back off the cross bar but Conor Brennan was on hand to fist to the net.
Conor Keightley pointed for Killeen but they were stunned when MJ Tierney picked out Conroy and he buried the ball in the back of the net. With 19 minutes gone the gap was reduced to just three points.
Both sides were to hit a string of wides before Kinston landed a beauty of a point with the outside of his boot. Tierney and Kingston went on to swap points approaching half time to leave Killeen leading 2-6 to 2-2 at the break.
Both sides took time to settle on the restart and by the 45th minute the gap had increased to six points. Kingston landed three for Killeen along with an excellent Brendan O’Shea effort while Ballyroan replied Liam Delaney and Ciaran Carroll. But the Sky Blues were now playing with confidence.
Over the next 12 minutes they were to shoot five unanswered points. Delaney landed a beauty followed by a Conroy free. Tierney then converted a free while Conroy scored a great point and when Padraig McMahon pointed after a strong run the difference was down to the minimum with three minutes of normal time to play.
Ballyroan’s chances of victory were boosted when, in the middle of this winning streak, Arles Killeen’s James Mahon was shown the red card.
But, just when Ballyroan looked like causing an upset, up stepped Kingston once again. This time he was provider when, having moved out the pitch, he won possession, went on a run before transferring to Cathal Moran O’Brien who in turn passed to Sean O’Shea on the edge of the square. He steadied himself before slipping the ball to the net.
Tierney reduced the deficit with a 63rd minute free and a minute later came within inches of snatching an unlikely equaliser when Eoghan Whelan’s snap shpt was cleared off the line.
ARLES KILLEEN: Michael Leigh; Niall O’Rourke, James Mahon, Joe Mulhare; Cathal Moran O’Brien, Shane Julian (0-1), John Mahon; Donie Kingston (2-5, 0-1f), Jason Enright (0-1f); Enda O’Rourke, Sean O’Shea (1-0), Dermot Julian; Brendan O’Shea (0-2), Conor Keightley (0-1), Donal Brennan.
Subs: Paul McDonald for S Julian (20m, inj), Brian Kennedy for D Julian (41m), Enda McDonald for Mulhare (48m, black card), Shane Byrne for Moran O’Brien (62m), D Julian for E O’Rourke (64m, black card)
BALLYROAN ABBEY: Andrew Bonham; Mark Cahill, Gavin Tynan, Ruairi Dunne; Conor Brennan (1-0), Mark McDonald, Padraig McMahon (0-1); Liam Delaney (0-2), Shaun Murphy, Jamie Whelan, Scott Conroy (1-4, 0-3f), Aaron Carroll; Martin Scully, Adam Brennan, MJ Tierney (0-2, 0-1f).
Subs: Ciaran Carroll (0-1) for Murphy (36m), Eoghan Whelan for Dunne (49m),
Referee: David Moore (St Joseph’s)