Borris-Ileigh 0-13 Ballingarry 0-8
South side Ballingarry pushed favourites Borris-Ileigh all the way before giving way in the County SHC at Templemore on Sunday evening.
It was only in the final ten minutes that Borris’ established superiority and by the full time whistle they were comfortable winners.
Ballingarry played most of the second half with fourteen men after Jack Fennelly received a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on county man Paddy Stapleton.
Stapleton was able to resume following treatment as was fellow Tipp star Brendan Maher later in the half when he went down following a pull across the leg that earned Danny Fitzgerald a yellow card.
Ballingarry looked sharp in the build up but failed to convert possession into scores. They were wasteful with some early chances and the fact that they scored just one point from play reflects their problems in front of goal.
That came from Ian Ivors after all of twenty seven minutes with Philip Ivors accounting for six of their total from frees and Adrian Cleere pointing another free in added time.
The North side also had a fine free-taker in David O’Connor who hit six from places balls and one from play but they had much more dangerous forwards in Benny Harkin, Dan McCormack and Mark Bourke.
And of course they also had the silken skills of Brendan Maher who was dominant at left half back and whose booming clearances started many Borris’ attacks.
It looked like it would be a torrid evening for Ballingarry when Borris’ went into a two point lead through an O’Connor free and a fine Harkin point from play. Ballingarry had earlier missed a great chance when a pass from JP O’Brien to the unmarked Philip Ivors was too strong.
However Philip Ivors from a free opened their account in the 11th minute and even though Borris hit back with another O’Connor free, the South side maintained the pressure and when Philip Ivors was fouled he converted the free himself to leave it 0-3 to 0-2 midway through the half.
However Borris-Ileigh then hit four without reply to open up a five point advantage - they were all from play from O’Connor, Philip Rabbitte, Harkin and Mark Bourke.
But just when it looked that Borris might pull away, Ballingarry hit back before the break with Ian Ivors fine point from play and then a Philip Ivors free following a foul on Michael Ivors who was tumbled over when goalbound. That left it 0-7 to 0-4 at the break and all to play for.
It could have been worse for Ballingarry but for some excellent goalkeeping from James Logue who made one super save from Harkin.
Ballingarry brought the margin down to just two inside the first two minutes of the second half from another Philip Ivors free. O’Connor from a free cancelled that out before Fennelly’s dismissal gave the South side a mountain to climb.
They may never have looked like winners but neither did they throw in the towel. A Dan McCormack point pushed it out to 0-9 to 0-5 but a great Ballingarry move in which JP O’Brien was prominent saw Philip Ivors fouled and he pointed the free himself.
As the game entered the final quarter Borris’ still couldn’t pull clear and an O’Connor free was immediately replied to by another from Ivors.
Ballingarry saw a chance to draw level when awarded a free in front of goal but the ploy of bringing keeper James Logue up to take it didn’t pay off when the shot was blocked and safely cleared.
Borris‘ made most of the reprieve and hit three without reply, from two O’Connor frees and another from McCormack, to go six clear with time almost up. A late pointed free from Adrian Cleere made no difference to the outcome.
Philip Maher, Paddy Stapleton and Brendan Maher were outstanding for Borris-Ileigh in defence with Benny Harkin and Dan McCormack dangerous in attack.
James Logue was outstanding in goal for Ballingarry with Danny Fitzgerald, Dickie Norton and Gerry Fitzgerald busy in front of him while Ian Ivors, Philip Ivors and JP O’Brien carried the most threat to the Borris’ goal.
Borris-Ileigh - Jody Harkin, Sean Maher, Philip Maher, Vincent Stapleton, Paddy Stapleton, Sean McCormack, Brendan Maher, Keith Ryan, William Donnelly, David O’Connor 0-7, 0-6 frees; Aidan Cowan, Benny Harkin 0-2; Mark Bourke 0-1; Philip Rabbitte 0-1, Dan McCormack 0-2. Sub - John Ryan for Donnelly.
Ballingarry - James Logue, Danny Fitzgerald, Tomas Donovan, Brian Cooney, Gerry Fitzgerald, Dickie Norton, Michael Carroll, JP O’Brien, Ian Ivors 0-1; Ciaran Shelly, Michael Ivors, Seanie Carroll, Jack Fennelly, Adrian Cleere 0-1 free; Philip Ivors 0-6 frees. Sub - Kevin Fitzgerald for Carroll.
Referee - John O’Brien.