Match Report Ballylanders v Ballysteen
Football fans at Paddy Carroll Park, Ballyagran, had to wait until the last ten minutes to witness anything resembling a county championship fith round match with Ballylanders ensuring their fans of a place in the quarter final and Ballysteen taking the dreaded step into the relegation zone.
There was no wind of any signifience to make any difference to the tally numbers on the electronic scoreboard but it was Ballylanders who made much better use of their opportunites and inside eight minutes they led 0-6 to 0-0. Steven Fox, Kieran O' Callaghan, Jimmy Barry Murphy, Eoin Walsh, Danny Murphy and James Kirby sent over points with only one coming from placed balls.
Ballysteen went through a long period back pedalling in the face of the long kicking of the opposition. The second quarter had arrived before Ballysteen made any inroad into the Ballylanders back lines, although they should have nabbed a score or two before Enda Gallagher made good use of a pass from Pa Ranahan to open the western account. The onslaught continued from a Bally viewpoint as Danny Frewen and Mark O' Connell had their names on the score sheet. With a lead of 0-11 to 0-2 at half time, Ballylanders were well on the road to an easy win.
There was no change in the trend after play resumed for the second half but the winners were not taking points with the same fluency of the opening period as Ballysteen gave a hint or two that they had no intention of dying easily.
Without any notice Ballylanders ran out of attacking intentions and for the last ten minutes and perhaps some fifteen they were defending seriously as the high work rate of Shane Gallagher, Ray Hayes, Pa Vaughan, Shane Hallinan, Pa Ranahan, Mick Nevillle and Brendan Hayes reaped rewards.
With a ten point lead midway through the second half it was a matter of using time to remain in the ascendancy comfortably and assure a place in the knock out stages was only a matter of staying in front. Ballysteen had other ideas.
Showing a belief that was missing for 45 minutes, suddenly surfaced as Mike Neville and Matthew O' Meara were causing trouble for a defence who toyed with the opposing forward lines and Declan O' Connor and Liam Martin in the Ballylanders defence saw actiion which put pressure of a serious nature as their supporters grew anxious as the game closed. It was Matthew O' Meara that restored a fighting chance to Ballysteen with a goal and Brendan Hayes rammed another past the Ballylanders last line of defence. This same line saved a near certain goal during this period of supremecy and when the final whistle sounded it was relief for the men from the south of the county. Anything was possible in the dying minutes as Ballysteen fought manfully for an equalising goal.
Declan O' Connor, Donal Kelly, Liam Martin, Tom Fox, Willie Kelly, Steven Fox, Stephen Walsh, James Kirby 0-2, Johnny Murphy 0-1, Eoin Walsh 0-2, Jimmy Barry Murphy 0-5, Mark O' Connell 0-2, Danny Frewen 0-2, Danny Murphy 0-1, Kieran O' Callaghan 0-2. Subs. Mike O' Brien for Kieran O' Callaghan, Garey Griffin for Johnny Murphy.
Danny Fitzgerald, Cathal Anglim, James O' Meara, Kevin McMahon, Sean O' Mahony, Shane Gallagher 0-1, Enda Gallagher 0-1, Paudie Vaughaun, Ray Hayes 0-1, Anthony Ryan 0-1, Shane Hallinan, Pa Ranahan, Brendan Hayes 1-3, Mike Neville 0-2, Danny Neville. Subs. Matthew O' Meara 1-0 for Shane Hallinan, John Collins for Sean O' Mahony.
Referee, Denis Richardson, Murroe / Boher.
Tom Lee the Galway man who has starred with Limerick and Ballylanders this season was not playing in Ballyagran as he is in Australia for 12 months. His departure is a serious blow to the south Limerick club and to the county. A player of his calibre is very important to any team with aspirations to reach the top.
Mike O' Brien
Former inter county hurler Mike O' Brien was called into football action in the second half for Ballylanders. He has not played football for quite awhile and he showed nice touches during his spell on the pitch. He may yet prove the ideal replacement for Lee.
Score of the match
Danny Neville gave a perfect pass the substitute Matthew O' Meara who expertedly sent the ball across the Bally goals to inspire Ballysteen to engage in a hectic finish.
Ballylanders will meet Monaleen in the county quarter final. Ballysteen are in relegation trouble.