Ballinahinch in free scoring form to really slay Rovers

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Despite a second half comeback, Shannon Rovers lost out to a slicker Ballinahinch outfit when the sides met in the Denis Meats North Tipperary Intermediate Hurling championship semi final at Saint Michaels Park, Toomevara last Saturday afternoon.

Shannon Rovers...3-11

Having trailed by eight points midway throughout the first half, Rovers fought back to come within two of the leaders with 10 minutes left on the clock before the champions Ballinahinch dominated the remainder of the game by outscoring Rovers 1-4 to 0-1 and hold out for a tilt at Moneygall in the North final next Sunday evening.

The eight point defeat means Shannon Rovers have lost the last seven meetings against their close rivals in both North and county championships. Rovers have to go back to 2010 since last claiming victory.

Ballinahinch went two points in front inside the opening seven minutes with Brendan Ryan landing a free while David Gleeson scored from play. Jack O'Sullivan replied with a point from outfield but Rovers lost further ground as Brendan Ryan added two frees and Vincent Kearns added a point from play.

Scores began to come more frequently in the next few minutes with Padraig O'Meara keeping Rovers in touch. Brendan Ryan replied with another free before Alan Hogan pointed from half way.

With Shane McGrath, Marcus Ryan and John Foley keeping the supply lines in full flow, Ballinahinch went on to increase their lead through Shane McGrath and Alan Kelly making it 0-8 to 0-3.

By then the game was approaching half time but enough time for three more scores with Andy Byrnes score matched by that of Ger Grace before Padraig O'Meara had the final say of the opening thirty.

After half time, Ballinahinch's 0-9 to 0-5 lead increased to six after Brendan Ryan scored twice from play. Andy Byrne scored his second point for Rovers in the 33rd minute but seconds later the lead for Ballinahinch increased even more when Vincent Kearns was put through for a goal as the Rovers defence was outsmarted by a Liam Berkery final pass.

But Rovers hit back immediately when Alan Hogan's close in free almost burst the Ballinahinch net. However the title holders were determined to keep out of reach and three unanswered points through Darragh McGrath, Brendan Ryan from a free and David Gleeson made it 1-14 to 1-6 after 41 minutes.

But not to be outdone, Rovers responded very quickly. George Hannigan knocked over a point and two minutes later Paul Burke had the ball in the Ballinahinch net before Padraig O'Meara reduced the deficit to three 1-14 to 2-8 with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Ballinahinch knew they were not going to have it all their own way and Brendan Ryan provided relief with three quick points including two from frees. But Rovers led by Alan Hogan in his new position at centre back and well supported by Alan Byrne, Barry Cahalan and John Flannery knew there was another sting in the tail from the challengers. In the 50th minute Jack O'Sullivan scored his second point and after the resulting puckout, Rovers returned again as Alan Byrne turned his marker and put the ball in the Ballinahinch net for the third time.

For certain Ballinahinch were in shock but the newly arrived Kevin Fitzpatrick scored a point on his first touch. Alan Hogan replied with a free before Ballinahinch were mighty relieved to see Vincent Kearns score Ballinahinch's second goal after a defence splitting run came from Ger Grace who started on half way.

That would seem to be the end of the challenge but there was one last foray by Rovers when Andrew Byrne's broke through but Cormac McGrath came off his line to save the day and concede a sixty five which Alan Hogan converted.

That was Rovers last score and in the remaining two minutes plus three minutes of added time Ballinahinch had more gears at their disposal and they added four points through David Gleeson, Brendan Ryan, David Gleeson again with Shane McGrath wrapping up proceedings from long range happy in the knowledge that Ballinahinch were through to the final against Moneygall next Sunday evening.


Ballinahinch: B Ryan 0-11 (0-7f); V Kearns 2-1; D Gleeson 0-4; S McGrath 0-2; A Kelly, G Grace, Darragh McGrath and K Fitzpatrick 0-1 each.

Shannon Rovers: A Hogan 1-3 (1-2f, 0-1'65); Andrew Byrne 1-2; P Burke 1-0; P O'Meara 0-3; J Sullivan 0-2; G Hannigan 0-1.


BALLINAHINCH: Cormac McGrath; Paddy Kelly, Donnacha McGrath, John Ryan; Thomas Grace, Marcus Ryan, John Foley; Ger Grace, Shane McGrath; Alan Kelly, Brendan Ryan, Darragh McGrath; David Gleeson, Liam Berkery, Vincent Kearns.

Subs: Kevin Fitzpatrick for L Berkery (50); Michael Lynch for Marcus Ryan (59).

SHANNON ROVERS: Paddy Heenan; Barry Cahalan, Alan Byrne, Emmett Moran; Derek Horan, George Hannigan, John Flannery; jack O'Sullivan, Alan Hannigan; Stephen Burke, Padraig O'Meara, Andrew Byrne; Paul Burke, Alan Hogan, Sean Balfry.

Subs: James Stack for S Burke (42); Julian O'Halloran for Balfry (42).

REFEREE: Gerry Treacy, Borris-Ileigh.


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