Cumann Pheadaír Naofa 2-7
The Blues entered this game as most people’s favourites, but a spirited fight back in the second half by Ballyholland to draw level with just over 5 minutes to left to play meant the underdogs could very well have caused an upset, but for two late Ross McGarry pointed frees and thus ensure that they will be in the hat for the round 2 draw on Monday.
It was a McGarry free that opened the blues account in the fourth minute, only to see Stephen Grant square things up a minute later from the edge of the D. The blues drew their forward line outside of the 21m line in an effort to isolate McGarry who was first to most of the balls into his scoring zone and when Cormac McCartan latched onto a neat pass in the sixth minute, he burst through and hammered home to the net for the game’s first goal. Ryan Magee and Ballyhollands’ impressive Mark Walsh traded points, before McGarry had a twenty-five metre free come back off the upright with the rebound falling to Eoghan Byrne he was unfortunate to see his shot ricochet off the opposite post and away from danger. Another McGarry free and 17th minute point from Magee meant the ‘point side now had a five-point lead. Cumann Pheadaír Naofa were guilty of some several wides in the opening thirty minutes, a figure the manager McAleenan & Co will not be happy with. In the remaining ten minutes of the half Ballyholland had managed to stem their porous back line and kept their Division 1 opponents scoreless for the remaining ten minutes with the sides going in at the break 1-4 to 0-2 in a game that was yet to come to life.
Ballyholland’s second half started determined to claw back the deficit and by the tenth minute the sides were level, with Seamus Loughran punishing the blues indiscretions with three dead ball scores and Joe Murphy along with James Kearns leveling matters. The blues then sprang John Boyle from the bench and his influence had a positive effect on the team as two minutes later Aaron Magee finished to the net and the blues were once more back in the lead. Another switch up front saw the introduction of fresh legs with the lightening pace of Niall McGovern freshening things up in the forward line as he gave Ballyhollands Chris Brady a hard time in the corner. Ballyholland refused to sit back and they pushed up at every opportunity to stay in the hunt for a second-round berth. Ruairi Campbell scored Ballyhollands ninth point just before Niall McCartan received a black card and from the resulting free Loughran had managed to level the contest at 1-7 to 0-10 with twelve minutes to play.
McGarry once more became the blues savior when he tapped over his third pointed free of the game to restore the lead once more, only to see a dogged Ballyholland reply through a Ciaran Tinnelly point form play. As the game fast approached the full time whistle McGarry pointed twice more to see the blues move into a two point advantage with just a minute left to play a second black card for Warrenpoint saw the re-introduction of Ruairi McCormack for Cormac McCartan, but it wasn’t enough to unsettle the blues as they held onto the final whistle and come away from Pairc Esler with a win.
Team & Subs: G McMahon, R McAleenan, Ciaran McCartan, A Lynch, R Boyle, Cormac McCartan (1-0), J Lynch, P Óg Carty, E Byrne, N McCartan, D McAleenan, R Magee (0-1), A Magee (1-1), R McGarry (0-5,5F), R McCormack.
J Boyle for Carty, N McGovern for McCormack, S O’Hare for E Byrne, O Henry for N McCartan (black card), R McCormack for Cormac McCartan (black card)