Ballyvarley Beat Warrenpoint II's

November 8, 2018

Senior Hurling League
Warrenpoint 1-8    Ballyvarley 2-13

It turned out to be comfortable at the end yet for large spells the Reds were made to work hard for their victory. The Reds started with a few players tried in different positions. The home side knocked the Reds early on with a well taken goal and the quick tough tackling of the Point men soon let Ballyvarley know that they were in for a competitive game.

The Reds dominated possession in the opening period but the link up play was not what it should have been. A Colm O’Neill soloed point got the scores started with James McGrath added one from wide on the right soon after.

On the restart the puckout was won by Kennedy who released it to McGrath to strike the sliotar goal bound only for a Point defender to deflect the ball wide painfully with his rear.

Two more pointed frees from O’Neill increased the lead as Ballyvarley camped in their opponents half for long spells. On their few exercursions up the field Warrenpoint did point twice but were reliant on frees to do the damage.

With the half-time whistle the home side went off much the happier while Ballyvarley turned round unhappy they did not have a greater lead to take into the second period.

HALF-TIME: Warrenpoint 1-2  Ballyvarley 1-7

Leading by five points at the break Ballyvarley were disappointed with their work ethic, link play and their wastefulness infront of goal. A big improvement was needed in the second half.

The next 30  minutes Ballyvarley used to give some of their players much needed game time. The Reds emptied their bench with James McConville removed due to a hand injury, and Colin O’Neill, Stuart Cartmill, Martin Connolly, Shane McAreavey and Peter McConville. Four of the changes were upfront while Peter moved to corner back.

O’Neill started the half positively with a good solo into the heart of the home defence before pointing when he really should have goaled. With the amount of changes Ballyvarley were disjointed at times, but there were some good spells of play. James McGrath showed he is at home in defence or attack when he latched on a ball 30 metres from goal, shrugged of his marker and soloed in before lifting the net.

The Reds were under more pressure in this half than the first and Cathal O’Neill pulled off two cracking saves at full stretch to deny Warrenpoint a deserved goal. The Point were winning alot of high ball and outfighting the Reds when the ball fell into melees.

Yet Ballyvarley still posed a constant threat upfront. Three missed frees, plus poor shots from play made it more difficult for the visitors than it needed to be. Ballyvarley were their own worst enemy at times. Despite this the Ballyvarley half-backs started to press forward more and were rewarded when Sean Kennedy burst out from right-half to solo and flick over.

David McGovern back after getting recently married showed some glimpses of his best with good link up with his forwards, laying the ball off into space and playing good diagonal balls to the corners.

The scores though were hard to come by as Ballyvarley were just having one of those days infront of goal, with McGrath, Martin Connolly and Cartmill going close to goaling several times.

There were to be no more scores and Ballyvarley ran out in the end comfortable eight point winners against a very hardworking Warrenpoint side.

FULL-TIME: Warrenpoint 1-8    Ballyvarley 2-13

This was a good learning experience for the Reds. Every player can improve their fitness, tackling and general stick work on this display. On the positive side it proved useful to try players in different positions in a game they were never in danger of losing. David Lavery was assured at full-back while Sean Kennedy was excellent at half-back and Cathal O’Neill made some excellent saves throughout. In midfield Ciaran Connolly worked hard while McGrath was the focal point for the attack. Alot of new and young players were used in the game with Peter McConville contributing well at corner back while Martin Connolly and Stuart Cartmill gave the Point defence something to think about when they came on in the forward line. It was positive to see young Shane McAreavey make his debut for the senior hurlers and this taste of action will continue his development as a promising young player. Next up Ballyvarley play away to Castlewellan next Wednesday. The Reds will have to lift their performance for this game.

Ballyvarley Team
Cathal O’Neill, Stephen Daly, David Lavery, Thomas Lennon, Sean Kennedy (0-1), Niall Higgins, Jamie Murray, Colm O’Neill (0-5), Ciaran Connolly, James McConville, Eunan McConville (0-1), Conor McClorey (0-2), James McGrath (2-3), David McGovern (0-1), Niall Savage.
Subs Used: Colin O’Neill, Stuart Cartmill, Martin Connolly, Peter McConville,  Shane McAreavey. Subs Not Used: James Kennedy, Sean O’Neill.