Fortunes can change very quickly in sport and
Ballinahinch can testify to that this week.
In the space of six days the hope and expectation of building up to a North final evaporated in that heavy loss and was compounded with another poor performance as they exited the county championship at the hands of Moyle Rovers in this last sixteen game at Pairc Ciocaim, Dundrum on Saturday.
It was always going to be difficult for Ballinahinch to pick things up so quickly after the disappointment of their no-show in terms of performance in the divisional final. Within ten minutes their hopes were already fading when Peter Acheson struck for Moyle Rovers’ first goal to help them into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead.
Try as they did Ballinahinch could never recover as they didn’t have the scoring threat in attack to break down a committed Rovers side that performed in a manner which suggests they will have a say in the destination of the county title.
As well as Acheson - whose physical presence at full forward caused problems for Ballinahinch throughout - minor Stephen Quirke was superb at centre forward. While he didn’t get on the scoresheet his ability to win primary possession was superb and he used it very well, giving Shane McGrath a tough afternoon.
The Tipp midfielder’s afternoon came to an abrupt end just two minutes into the second half when he was sent off for a heavy challenge on Quirke. It ended any hope of a Ballinahinch revival, as they had just scored a goal by Paddy Kelly to cut the half-time deficit from twelve to eight.
Moyle Rovers were able to pull further clear, with Ciaran Lorigan and Michael Fox to the fore, while Dara Ryan was unerring from frees, scoring six of his 1-7 total from placed balls. His goal came two minutes from time to round off the win in style and set up a quarter final clash with Clonakenny.
Man of the Match - Stephen Quirke (Moyle Rovers).
Moyle Rovers - TJ Wall; Brian Norris, Ross Mulcahy, Shane Heffernan; Michael Fox (0-1), Danny Lyne, Shane Luttrell; Sean Keating, Ciaran Lorigan (0-5, 3 frees, 1 65); Shane Lonergan (0-2), Stephen Quirke, David Roberts; Dara Ryan (1-7, 0-6 frees), Peter Acheson (1-2) and Denis McGrath.
Subs - Aidan Butler for Keating (44 minutes); Ciaran Luttrell (0-1) for McGrath (44 minutes); Tadhg Fitzgerald for Roberts (50 minutes); Craig Condon for Acheson (55 minutes).
Ballinahinch: Darragh McGrath; Mike Fitzgerald, Alan Kelly (0-1), Marcus Ryan; John Ryan, Shane McGrath (0-1), Ray Ryan; Kevin Mulcahy (0-1 free), Kevin Fitzpatrick (0-2); Michael Lynch, Paddy Kelly (1-0), Mark Kelly; Ger Griffin, Donnacha McGrath, Shane Healy (0-1).
Subs - Cathal Ryan for Kelly (half time); Shane Fitzgerald for Lynch (42 minutes); Ross Healy for S Healy (42 minutes).
Referee - Kevin Jordan (Thurles Gaels).