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17 Aug 2022

Strong finish sees Belmont claim a hard earned victory over Ballinamere

Strong finish sees Belmont claim a hard earned victory over Ballinamere

Paddy Clancy scored four second half points for Belmont in their victory over Ballinamere.

TWO of the form teams in this year's Offaly Senior Hurling Championship provided an engrossing contest before Belmont maintained their unbeaten record with a hard earned three point win over Ballinamere in Banagher on Friday evening.

Molloy Environment Systems Offaly Senior Hurling Championship Group 2

BELMONT 1-21
BALLINAMERE 2-15

It was a game that see-sawed in both directions at different times but Belmont put in the stronger finish, coming from six points behind early in the second half to take contol of the contest and hitting four more points in the last five minutes of play to seal victory.

Ballinamere made them fight all the way for the win and when they levelled the contest with four minutes left looked like they had the momentum behind them, but as they showed in their victory ove Coolderry, Belmont are made of stern stuff and finished strongly again to record their third victory of the campaign.

The win ensures Belmont make the knock out stages and face Shinrone in their final game with top spot in the group on the line and thus a direct route into the semi-finals. Ballinamere have completed their group games but are assured of a place in the quarter finals despite this defeat.

Ballinamere looked the more dangerous side in the first half and had a greater all round threat than their opponents but still they just held a one goal lead at the break when they probably should have been further ahead.

Five different players had contributed to the Ballinamere tally from play in that opening half while in contrast David Nally was once again the main threat for Belmont and he scored all of their eight points, seven of them from frees. Too often he was isolated in attack and the ball played into him left him little chance of winning it as he was outnumbered by defenders and had little support to help him.

When Ballinamere went six points up when they netted their second goal shortly after the resumption, they looked on their way to another victory but Belmont responded very well to that setback, hitting back for a goal of their own immediately afterwards and that seemed to be the spur to get them going.

They also made some changes which proved to be very effective. Alan Egan came on around the middle of the field and delivered good quality ball into the forward line, Leon Fox moved back into defence and immediately shored up that area and picked up a lot of possession, while in the forward line Paddy Clancy stayed in closer to goal to support David Nally and he hit four points from play in the second half.

Ballinamere didn't give in lightly. Having gone six points up they were hit by a Belmont blitz over the next 12 minutes and were outscored by 1-7 to 0-1 in that period, but they steadied the ship and with four minutes left they had fought back to level again and seemed to have a bit of momentum with them but Belmont got their second wind in the closing minutes and got the points that sealed the win for them,

The game began brightly and John Murphy pointed for Ballinamere after 30 seconds. David Nally levelled after a nice move but straight from the puck out Cormac Spollen scored. David Nally equalised from a free before two Brian Duignan frees edged Ballinamere in front. Two David Nally frees had the sides level again and after John Murphy popped over another point, another David Nally free brought the sides level for the fourth time at the midway point in the half.

Brian Duignan floated over a Ballinamere point and then came the decisive moment of the half in the 18th minute. Damien Egan and Cathal Flynn combined to set up Paddy Clancy but his effort was saved by Mark Troy. Ballinamere worked the ball out the field and Cormac Spollen lofted the ball into the galmouth where it was won by Kevin McDermott, who offloaded to John Murphy and he finished to the net.

David Nally replied with two frees but Kevin McDermott and Jack Fogarty kept the scoreboard ticking for Ballinamere, sandwiching another Nally free to leave the half time score 1-8 to 0-8.

There was a quick start to the second half as well with Mike O'Brien and Paddy Clancy swapping early points before the sides traded goals inside a minute. First Mike O'Brien set John Murphy on his way and he ran on to fire to the corner of the net. Straight from the puck out Damien Egan won possession, transferred to James Nally and he drilled the ball to the net for Belmont.

David Nally added two frees to cut the gap to the minimum but John Murphy replied with a great point from a sideline cut. Belmont then hit five points in a row inside five minutes to regain the lead. Cathal Flynn and Paddy Clancy levelled before David Nally (2, one free) and Damien Egan put them three ahead.

Ballinamere rallied and Kevin McDermott and Brian Duignan (free) kept them in touch. Paddy Clancy pushed the gap to two again but anothe Brian Duignan free and a Paddy Murphy point had the sides level with four minutes left. Belmont finished the stronger, Leon Fox and Paddy Clancy putting them two up before Brian Duignan replied with a free before David Nally sealed the win with another free and a sideline cut from 50m out on the right.


MATCH ANALYSIS


THE TEAMS

BELMONT: Barry Egan; Shane Nally, Conor Kenny, Jack Egan; Jack Clancy, Mark Egan, Conor Butler; Leon Fox, Colin Egan; Damien Egan, James Nally, Mark Cahill; Cathal Flynn, David Nally, Paddy Clancy. Subs. Alan Egan (for Conor Butler, 37 mins), David Cox (for Mark Cahill, 56 mins), Conor Dunican (for Damien Egan, 58 mins).

BALLINAMERE: Mark Troy; David Magner, Ciaran Burke, Chris McDonald; Ronan Cleary, Ross Ravenhill, Jack Fogarty; Dan Bourke, Gerry Spollen; John Murphy, Mike O'Brien, Cormac Spollen; Joe Maher, Kevin McDermott, Brian Duignan. Subs. Paddy Murphy (for Cormac Spollen, 39 mins), Sean Duignan (for Joe Maher, 50 mins), Sam Bourke (for Mike O'Brien, 55 mins).

REFEREE: Kieran Pat Kelly (St Rynagh's)

MAN OF THE MATCH

There were a number of contenders with John Murphy's 2-3 leaving him as Ballinamere's leading contender, while David Nally's 0-14 for Belmont put him in the frame, but in the end I've gone for Paddy Clancy. He was involved in a lot of the play in the first half and had one good goal effort saved, but he came into his own in the second half, scoring four fine points from play and he was involved in a lot of Belmont's best work in that half.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Belmont's goal was the moment the match began to swing back their way. John Murphy had just netted his second goal for Ballinamere to put them six points up when Damien Egan won the ball from the subsequent puck out and passed to James Nally who shot to the net for an immediate reply and that sparked the Belmont revival.

REFEREE WATCH

Kieran Pat Kelly kept good control of the match throughout. He was firm in his decision making and gave clear signalling throughout and he kept a good handle on the match at all times.

TALKING POINT

These two teams came into this game with unbeaten records and they provided a very contest, showing why they are among the form teams. It was a game that could have gone either way and with both teams now through to the knock out stages, they both showed that they will have a say in the outcome of the championship in the coming months.

WHAT’S NEXT

Ballinamere have completed their group games as they have a bye in the last round and they now await the outcome of the final round of games to see who they meet in the quarter finals. Belmont face Shinrone in their final group game and top spot in the group and the direct route to the semi-finals will be up for grabs.

VENUE WATCH

Banagher was very well prepared for this contest. There were plenty of stewards outside to look after parking, the pitch was in very good order and PA was available to announce the teams and changes before the throw in.

STATISTICS

Wides; Belmont 7 (3 in first half) Ballinamere 8 (4 in first half)

Yellow Cards: Belmont 1 (Damien Egan) Ballinamere 0.

Black Cards: None.

Red Cards: None.

THE SCORERS

Belmont; David Nally (0-14, 0-11 frees, 0-1 lineball), Paddy Clancy (0-4), James Nally (1-0), Cathal Flynn, Damien Egan, Leon Fox (0-1 each).

Ballinamere; John Murphy (2-3, 0-1 lineball), Brian Duignan (0-6, 0-5 frees), Kevin McDermott (0-2), Cormac Spollen, Jack Fogarty, Mike O'Brien, Paddy Murphy (0-1 each).

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