Ballingarry avoid drop to intermediate level with big win over Borrisokane.
A twenty points winning margin, 2-23 to 0-9, was the icing on the cake as Ballingarry saw off the challenge of Borrisokane in the O Riain Cup relegation round three game at Holycross to ensure that they avoided the drop to intermediate grade next year.
Not in their wildest imagination could the Ballingarry lads have envisaged so easy a win. The pressure was on them going into the game.
They had beaten Knockavilla Kickhams but lost to Moycarkey-Borris in the earlier rounds, so nothing short of outright victory would ensure their safety. Even at that, with scoring differences to count in the event of teams finishing on level points, it was imperative that as big a winning margin as possible would be secured.
Borrisokane were in trouble even before the start. They had lost both their games and it was going to take a minor miracle to rescue them from the drop. First off they had to win, and their form to date did not suggest they were capable of it.
Even with victory, they were depending on other results and then scoring difference to save them. In short, the odds were stacked against them, and when all the hurling was done, they came up short, very short, and so go back to intermediate next year.
Both sides were serious about their business from the start but it soon became apparent that Ballingarry had more going for them. This was particularly so in attack where Adrian Cleere, Dylan Walsh and Philip Ivors picked off their scores with relative ease, while Borrisokane laboured to raise a flag.
Ballingarry had the fresh breeze behind them and moved into a 0-6 to 0-2 lead after ten minutes. Borrisokane were busy but Ballingarry were more productive and when in the 12th minute Ian Ivors and Philip Ivors combined to set up Dylan Walsh for their first goal, the ball was very much in the court of the south boys.
Though Jack Larkin had a point from a free for Borrisokane, Ballingarry hit a purple patch that yielded with five points without reply, and in the 26th minute Eamon Tuohy punished a poor puck-out with Ballingarry’s second goal as they surged into an interval lead of 2-15 to 0-7.
Anything other than a Ballingarry win was unimaginable at this stage, even allowing for the favour of the elements being with Borrisokane on the change-over. The North reps did not appear to have the wherewithal to trouble their rivals who were playing confidently, and taking their scores smartly.
And so it transpired. In a dour second half, the winners still held the whip hand, two points being Borrisokane’s meagre challenge to their superiority, while Ballingarry contented themselves with containing their rivals and adding to their tally to ensure that they would not lose out on scoring difference when the final sums on placings in the relegation group were done.
Generally it was an techy contest with a flood of yellow cards on both sides. A few players on both sides tested referee Sean Everard’s patience and were fortunate not to get the line but referee Sean Everard’s indulgence was rewarded as the game passed off without major incident.
Ballingarry will be happy to retain their status for another year but this does not conceal the fact that they have some work to do if they are to be seriously competitive at this level next term. They have some very fine hurlers but not enough of them and the challenge for them is to build on the success of their survival battle to ensure they dont find themselves in this situation again.
In Dylan Walsh and Adrian Cleere they had top-class forwards who, along with the very accurate Philip Ivors showed a very lucrative return for their evening’s work. In midfielder Ian Ivors they had the best player on the field at midfield, while Ger Fennelly and Dickie Norton were others to acquit themselves well.
Borrisokane drop down to intermediate level and they can have no complaints. They may prosper by being competitive at the lower level while letting the younger players they have coming through develop, and it will be interesting to see how they fare in the North intermediate championship next year. They scored three points from play in this contest, in itself a fair indication of their shortcomings.
Peter McSherry was their top performer at centre halfback with Colm Larkin, Jack Larkin, goalie Tadgh Slevin and Joseph Cleary also putting in a mighty effort.
Ballingarry scorers- P Ivers(0-11,9fs), D Walsh(1-5), A Cleere(0-4), E Tuohy(1-0), G Fennelly(0-3,3fs);
Borrisokane scorers- J Larkin(0-6,4fs), C Larkin(0-2,2fs), G Ryan(0-1);
Ballingarry – James Logue; John Walsh, Dickie Norton, John Edward Molloy; Ciaran Shelley, Ger Fennelly, Ger Fitzgerald; Paul Butler, Ian Ivors; Daniel Fennelly, Adrian Cleere, Jack Fennelly; Dylan Walsh, Philip Ivors, Eamon Tuohy; Subs- Cillian Tuohy for P Butler; Trevor Ivors for D Fennelly; Richard Butler for E Tuohy;
Borrisokane – Tadhg Slevin; Shane Nevin, Cathal Dooley, Brian Davis; Joseph Cleary, Peter McSherry, Steven Gavin; Gary Power, Liam Cleary; Mike Kelly, Colm Larkin, Andy Austin; Shane Dooley, Gary Ryan, Jack Larkin; Subs- Michael Gavin for S Gavin; Mike Heenan for J Larkin;
Ref- Sean Everard, Moyne-Templetuohy;