Ballinagar win the Division 5 Football League title
BALLINGAR put in a strong final quarter to come from behind to defeat Ballycumber by three points to claim the Division 5 Football League title at Daingean on Saturday evening.
It completed a great 24 hours for the club as the evening before they defeated Rhode to win the Division 4 title and the league double made it a memorable weekend for Ballinagar,, who were winning their first titles since the Junior Football championship in 1988.
This was a very competitive game of football and provided plenty of entertainment for the crowd. Both teams had their periods of dominance but Ballinagar lasted the pace better and they were the stronger side over the final quarter when they outscored their opponents by 1-5 to 0-1 and ultimately that proved to be decisive.
Ballycumber had started the better side and aided by Fergal Daly's 11th minute goal they led by four points at one stage but five unanswered points saw Ballinagar regain the lead. The sides were level at half time, 1-6 to 0-9, the fifth occasion that they had been level in that half.
Ballycumber also made the better start to the second half with the first three points and the sides exchanged scores until Ballinagar took control in that final quarter and got the scores that steered them to victory.
Ballingar probably would have won more comfortably but for a brilliant display of goalkeeping by Kyle Cornally in the Ballycumber goals. In one six minute spell in the first half he stopped four goalbound efforts as Ballinagar piled on the pressure and there were a number of other great stops later in the game as well.
Overall, Ballingar probably deserved the victory. They were more consistent over the 60 minutes and had they taken their chances they could have avoided a nervous last few minutes when Ballycumber went in search of the goal that could have saved the game.
Ballycumber started both halves well and were still in the game in the final quarter but their attacking opportunities were more limited at that stage and taking into account the eight minutes of injury time played, they only scored one point in the final 25 minutes of action and that was where the game slipped away from them.
Captain Eric Martin, Aaron Gorman and Conor McGuinness impressed in defence for Ballingar, Shane Finnegan and Dean Pierce become more influential at midfield as the game progressed and Garry Martin, Geordi O'Meara and Robbie Gallagher were busiest in attack.
Goalkeeper Kyle Cornally kept Ballycumber in the game and Oisin Carroll, Adam Daly and Jamie Cornally did well in defence. Thomas Corcoran and Colm Daly worked hard at midfield and Sean Creevy, Sean Hackett and Fergal Daly put in a big effort in attack.
Geordi O'Meara had Ballinagar in front after just 20 seconds but Conrad Casey and Fergal Daly replied for Ballycumber and then came their goal after 11 minutes. Sean Creevy's 30m free was tailing wide but it was kept in play and knocked back into the square where Fergal Daly first timed it to the net.
Robbie Gallagher and Sean Creevy (free) exchanged points before Michael Pierce's effort was deflected over the bar by Kyle Cornally. Almost immediately he did the same again from a Robbie Gallagher effort and further points followed from Dean Pierce and two from Geordi O'Meara, one a free and the other a '45' after Kyle Cornally had made a great save from Michael Pierce, who was similarly denied minutes earlier as well.
Sean Creevy levelled from a free and then scored from play but Garry Martin levelled matters again and Sean Hackett and Michael Pierce exchanged further points to leave the sides level at half time 0-9 to 1-6.
Fergal Daly, Sean Hackett and Paul Kelly pointed in the first four minutes of the second half to push Ballycumber ahead again. Dean Pierce responded before Sean Creevy and Geordi O'Meara swopped frees. Fergal Daly and Geordi O'Meara added points from play and at this point following a query, a further point was added to the Ballycumber score on the scoreboard on the instruction of the referee. When sub Kevin Kelly then kicked another point it had Ballycumber four ahead on the scoreboard but they failed to score again.
Adam Joyce pulled a point back and when Garry Martin's effort was blocked down in the goalmouth Aaron Dwane gathered the ball and blasted it to the net and Ballinagar's tails were up. Garry Martin blazed an effort over the bar, Adam Mangan drilled a great effot off the crossbar before two Geordi O'Meara frees eased Ballinagar clear and they held on for victory.
BALLINAGAR: Evan Martin; Eric Martin, David McElduff, Ross Colton; Sean Murphy, Conor McGuinness, Aaron Gorman; Shane Finnegan, Dean Pierce; Garry Martin, Geordi O'Meara, Jamie Ballesty; Shaun Pierce, Michael Pierce, Robbie Gallagher. Subs. Adam Joyce (for Jamie Ballesty, half time), Brian Malone (for Sean Murphy, 36 mins), Aaron Dwane (for Michael Pierce, 41 mins), Adam Mangan (for Shaun Pierce, 46 mins).
BALLYCUMBER: Kyle Cornally; Dean Lowry, Michael Egan, Oisin Carroll; Jamie Cornally, Karl Daly, Adam Daly; Thomas Corcoran, Colm Daly; Sean Creevy, Sean Hackett, Conrad Casey; Fergal Daly, Paul Kelly, Leo Guinan. Subs. E. Daly (for Dean Lowry, 15 mins), John Corcoran (for Karl Daly, 21 mins), Kevin Kelly (for Leo Guinan, 43 mins), Kevin Daly (for Jamie Cornally, 66 mins),
REFEREE: Bill Glennon.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Although he ended up on the losing side Ballycumber goalkeeper Kyle Cornally had an outstanding match. In one six minute spell in the first half he made four great saves to block goalbound efforts and made a number of other great stops throughout the game to keep his side in it, but ultimately his efforts were in vain, but it was a great individual performance.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Ballingar's goal with seven minutes left was decisive. Ballycumber had denied them a green flag on countless occasions up to that but they finally goaled at that point and it seemed to break the Ballycumber spirit as the winners added three more points to seal victory.
Referee Bill Glennon was consistent in his rulings throughout the game and was in control of the game at all times. There was some confusion about the score with the referee instructing that a point be added to Ballycumber's tally on the scoreboard midway through the second half, when many, including this reporter, thought the scoreboard was originally correct. However, the referee was adamant that Ballycumber finished with 1-13 rather than 1-12 as we thought, but luckily Ballingar's strong finish meant it wasn't an issue at the end.
The start of the game was delayed as there seemed to be a bit of confusion about how many players each side was lining up with. Ballinagar understood it was 13-a-side while Ballycumber were prepared for 15-a-side. After some discussion it was agreed to go with 15-a-side but it did seem odd that a decision like that wasn't made long before the teams got on the field.
This completes the league for both sides and they can now look forward to the commencement of the championship in a couple of weeks.
The Daingean pitch was in fine condition for this game. The club had parking very well organised and had other arrangements well in place. On a lovely sunny evening, it was difficult on occasion to make out the scoreboard in the glare of the sun but after the Summer we've had, we won't complain about a bit of sun!
Wides; Ballinagar 7 (6 in first half) Ballycumber 7 (3 in first half)
Yellow Cards: Ballingar 2 (Robbie Gallagher, Ross Colton) Ballycumber 2 (Jamie Cornally, Conrad Casey)
Black Cards: Ballingar 0 Ballycumber 1 (Fergal Daly)
Red Cards: None
Ballingar; Geordi O'Meara (0-7, 0-4 frees, 0-1 '45'), Aaron Dwane (1-0), Robbie Gallagher, Michael Pierce, Dean Pierce, Garry Martin (0-2 each), Adam Pierce (0-1).
Ballycumber; Fergal Daly (1-3), Sean Creevy (0-4, 0-3 frees), Sean Hackett (0-2), Conrad Casey, Paul Kelly and Kevin Kelly (0-1 each).
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