|St Fechins suffer cruel extra-time defeat in AIB Leinster Club JFC Final|
|Sunday, 04 December 2011 17:07|
St Fechins 1-08 Ballivor 1-15 (AET)
The sluggish semi-final performance from the St Fechins outfit was not evident today as they raced out of the blocks and into a three point lead by the sixth minute. Pointed free kicks from Ronan Holcroft and a beautifically taken score from Niall Devlin ensured that the Fechins settled quickest. However, the Ballivor men responded in kind and levelled matters up by the nineteenth minute as Gannon, Fergus McMahon and Padraig Geoghegan opened their accounts. Some good work by midfielder John McGlew allowed Holcroft to reclaim the lead but centre back Sean Heavey tied matters once more. Buoyed on by their supporters both sides didn't disappoint as they served up an end-to-end encounter. The game was developing into a thrilling contest and a goal from substitute Eoghan Duffy was worthy of the occasion. Following some good wok by his brother Bevan, the former went on a length of the field run before powering the ball past Kevin McKeown in the Ballivor goal for one of the goals of the season. Duffy's effort had both sets of supporters on their feet and helped stoke up the cracking atmosphere. A fine score from wing back Killian Canavan proved to be the final score of the half and left just two points between the sides at the break.
Playing with the wind in the second half, St Fechins got off to the perfect start when a brace from Holcroft stretched their lead to four points by the thirty eighth minute. The Termonfeckin men were dominant throughout this period and will rue a succession of three missed attempts that would have finished off lesser opponents. Credit though to Ballivor and in particular their midfield pairing of Noel Kirby and Brian Perry who grew in stature as the game wore on. Gannon and Devlin exchanged scores but by now the Meath men were gaining more of a foothold on proceedings. Two further scores, both from placed balls from McMahon and Gannon, left just two points between the sides entering the final moments of the game. Cue de-ja-vu. A shot from substitute Richie Sherrock appeared to sail wide of goalkeeper Mark Savage's right hand post. However, to the amazement of both sets of supporters the umpire adjudged the ball to have crept inside the post. Following consultation between the linesman, the referee and his umpires, the 'point' was awarded. This left just the minimum between the sides and another pointed free from Gannon levelled matters with seconds remaining. Both sides had little chance to claim the victory in normal time before O'Shea blew for full time and with that, extra-time.
Extra-time proved a step too far for the men from Termonfeckin though. From the first whistle, Ballivor were on the charge and when the chance presented itself Sherrock made no mistake crashing the ball past Savage via the underside of the bar. Buoyed on by the goal, the Meath men's confidence grew and two scores from full forward Mairtín Doran (one from a sideline kick) and another from the left boot of McMahon meant that the Meath men were all but home and dried at half time of extra-time.
Amidst a shower of rain, Gannon exchanged scores with St Fechins' Brendan Fanning but alas that was to be their only score of extra-time as the Meath men closed out the contest with some astute defending. A fine score from another placed ball by McMahon was to be the final one of the contest as the men from Ballivor marched on to the All-Ireland semi-final. In injury time, O'Shea produced a red card for Holcroft for an off-the-ball incident to compound the misery for the Louth men. By the final whistle eight points separated the sides, which didn't reflect the closeness of the contest. With time up O'Shea brought proceedings to a close and with that joyous scenes erupted amidst the Ballivor faithful.
St Fechins: Mark Savage; Brendan Fanning (0-01), David Collier, Paul Dillon; Fergal McNally, Conor Haughney, Harry McArdle; John McGlew, Bevan Duffy; Jamie King, Colm O'Neill, Ryan Sheridan; Brian Devlin, Niall Devlin (0-02), Ronan Holcroft (0-05).
Ballivor: Kevin McKeown; David Raleigh, Tony Fox, Breandan McLoughlin; Killian Canavan (0-01), Sean Heavey (0-01), Sean Corrigan; Noel Kirby, Brian Perry; Padraig Geoghegan (0-01), Joe McLaughlin, Clayton Keegan; Fergus McMahon (0-04), Mairtín Doran (0-02), Adam Gannon (0-05).
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:14|