Ballyvarley Beat Ballygalget

November 8, 2018

On a humid Wednesday evening Ballyvarley senior hurlers entertained Ballygalget who had beaten league leaders Ballycran the week before. The challenge facing the Reds became more difficult when the visitors goaled in the opening minute as a lethargy engulfed the home side at the start of the game. 

Despite the early setback Ballyvarley fought hard for a foothold in the game and when the Reds won a free twenty five yards out, Paul O’Neill sent a thunderous drive to the top left hand corner of the net.

However, far from lifting the home side, this score seemed to spur on the Ardsmen with Ballygalget pointing before a mix up in the box saw the visitors get their second goal of the game.

Ballygalget continually broke a lot of high ball and more often than not another Ardsman was there to pick up possession again. Ballyvarley strived to get back into the game with Ciaran Connolly leading by example soloing forward from midfield before cooly despatching the ball over the bar.

Two more points for the lily white shirted visitors left Ballyvarley five points down with the Reds having a lot to do.

Ballyvarley lifted themselves but their good approach play lacked that little bit of killer finishing and luck. Paul O’Neill was moved to full-forward and the move quickly paid off with Paul quickly pointing three times under severe pressure from the centre full back.

The game called for leaders to drive on the Reds and James McGrath and Martin O’Neill stepped up to win the dirty ball and win vital frees. Paul O’Neill coverted these three opportunities before a late Ballygalget point saw the sides go in level at the break.

HALF-TIME: Ballyvarley 1-7   Ballygalget 2-4

A different Ballyvarley team took to the field in the second period. Not in terms of personnel but in attitude. The Reds closed down the space afforded to their opponents in the first 30 minutes and were first to the ball all over the field. The hunger was there with Ballyvarley chasing lost causes and winning the 50:50 balls and even those they had no right to win.

Paul O’Neill notched over the first point with a neat pick and flick before James McGrath made a towering catch before putting the ball between the uprights. A converted free from Paul was followed by his namesake Martin pointing from wide on the left.

In defence Niall Higgins came out with the ball everytime with an assured display with Stephen Daly and Sean Kennedy attacking the low ball hit in.

The Reds were using the ball better now with Ciaran Connolly and James McGrath linking up well before McGrath released David McGovern to slot over. Paul O’Neill exchanged two points with his opposite number on the Ards team before Martin O’Neill’s tireless running was rewarded with a solo along the left wing before cutting in to lift the top right hand corner of the net.

The energy levels of the Reds matched and even surpassed their opponents with tireless covering from Sean Kennedy at the back and Conor McClorey and Ciaran Connolly chasing and tackling fiercely.

To punctuate Ballyvarley’s dominance, the impressive James McGrath soloed in for a well taken point to seal a convincing nine point win.

FULL-TIME: Ballyvarley 2-15    Ballygalget 2-6

It was a tremendous second half display from the Reds. They won the majority of breaking ball all over the field and the defence was tight and assured. The whole squad contributed to the win. Niall Higgins was strong and assured at the heart of the defence with David Lavery and Stephen Daly working hard and Sean Kennedy sweeping up at half-back. Ciaran Connolly excelled in the second period with Conor McClorey giving everything for the team. Upfront James McGrath and Martin O’Neill won ball after ball to setup attacks with David McGovern and Paul O’Neill tormenting the Ballygalget rearguard.

Next up for Ballyvarley is a home tie against Carryduff on Wednesday 8th July. Throw in is at 7.30pm. This game will be followed by a two week holiday break.

Ballyvarley Team
Cathal O’Neill, Stephen Daly, Niall Higgins, James McDermott, Sean Kennedy, Colm O’Neill, David Lavery, Conor McClorey, Ciaran Connolly (0-1), James McGrath (0-2), Martin O’Neill (1-1), Colin O’Neill, Paul O’Neill (1-10), David McGovern (0-1), Conor Grew. Subs used: John O’Neill, Eunan McConville, Niall Savage. Subs: Stuart Cartmill, Shane McAreavey, Martin Connolly, James McConville, Sean O’Neill.