Clonmel Og lose six point lead and miss out on automatic semi-final spot

South JHC ‘A’

South JHC ‘A’

Ballingarry 1-13 Clonmel Óg 0-16.

With nine minutes of this game remaining Clonmel Óg held a deserved six point lead and looked like they were heading for a South semi-final spot but they made the critical mistake of trying to defend their lead, inviting Ballingarry on to them and at the finish you could sense their frustration as they knew they left semi-final qualification behind them.

Their only consolation is that they now find themselves in the quarter –finals but how damaging this result will be to them remains to be seen. Ballingarry to their credit although out played for a good proportion of the game always hung in there and when they sniffed an opportunity to strike they took it with aplomb.

Dean Kelleher opened the Clonmel Óg account with a second minute point from a free, he was to go on to convert 8 more, in the second minute and 90 seconds later he stretched the lead with a point from play. Ballingarry levelled matters with an Adrian Cleere point from play and a free from Alan Cooney in the 14th and 15th minutes respectively but by the 18th minute the Clonmel side had regained their two point advantage with superb scores from Shane Kearney and Mathew Norris.

Cleere cut the lead to the minimum before Kelleher stretched it again with a long range free. Shane Kearney and Gary Ivors swapped points in the 22nd minute and two minutes later Kearney stretched the Óg lead to three with a well taken point. Ballingarry rallied before the break and cut the lead to one point with scores from Michael Ivors and Sean Touhy to leave Clonmel Óg 7 points to 6 ahead at the break.

Kelleher pointed a free from distance in the early seconds of the second period but Brendan Ivors replied immediately for Ballingarry. Kelleher repeated the dose two minutes later but Cooney replied with a pointed free again within seconds.

Clonmel Óg then took a grip on the game and scored four points between the 35th and 41st minutes from Karl Kearney, Matthew Norris, and two more frees from Kelleher. Cooney cut the deficit by a point but more indiscipline from Ballingarry saw Kelleher convert two frees in the 50th and 51st minutes. Previous to that Shane Kearney had gone on a great run and struck a fantastic shot but the sliothar hit the post and rolled across the line and was scrambled away to safety. If the goal was scored Clonmel Óg could have gone on to win the game but if you leave the door open for Ballingarry they will accept the invitation.

Michael Ivors pointed in the 53rd minute and two minutes later Adrian Cleere cut the lead to four points. You could see the self-doubt creeping in to Clonmel Óg’s play and when Noel Walsh pointed in the 59th minute only a goal separated the sides. As the game went into injury time Clonmel Óg lost the ball in the Ballingarry full back line. The play was quickly switched up the field and made its way in to hand of Adrian Cleere who hit a powerful shot which was superbly saved by Dean Horton in the goal but Garry Ivors was the quickest to react and he swept the ball to the net for the equaliser. Referee Sean Lonergan called full time immediately on a final score of Clonmel Óg 0-16 Ballingarry 1-13.

Ballingarry were rewarded for their persistence and even though they played second best for a lot of the game they never lost their self-belief and they were rewarded for that. In defence Paul and Eamonn Butler Michael Carroll and Alan Cooney performed well while further up the field Adrian Cleere, Brendan, Michael and Gary Ivors contributed handsomely to the cause.

For Clonmel Óg the abject disappointment of losing a six point lead was evident after the game but they played very well to get to that position and if they learn to close out games then their stock will rise. Jason Cockburn, Adrian Fox and Brian Gentles were superb in defence Dean Kelleher was un erring from placed balls while Shane Kearney and Cian Hogan did not leave the side down.

Ballingarry- Pat Ivors, Eamonn Butler, Michael Carroll, John Edward Molloy, Paul Butler, Alan Cooney, Darren Kelly, John Pollard, Jonathan Ivors, Sean Touhy, Garry Ivors, Brendan Ivors, Michael Ivors, Adrian Cleere, Noel Walsh.

Clonmel Og- Dean Horton, Colin O’Mahoney, Marc Ahearne, Jason Cockburn, Adrian Fox, Darragh Kearney, Brian Gentles, Karl Kearney, Graham Quinn, Cian Hogan, Gerry Cunningham, Shane Kearney, Paul Deady, Dean Kelleher, Mathew Norris, Colm O, Connell.

Ref - Sean Lonergan (Moyle Rovers)