Ballyvarley Sink The 'Ferrymen'

November 8, 2018

Impressive Ballyvarley demolished Portaferry with a display of intensity and free scoring their opponents could not match. It rained goals on Wednesday night as Ballyvarley senior hurlers hit seven past Portaferry in a high scoring home game. Ballyvarley dominated from start to finish and were impressive winners by 22 points, all but one of those scores coming from play.

From the first ball Ballyvarley singled their intentions with Colm O’Neill covering a lot of area along the half-back line, fielding the ball and he seemed to have a hand in almost every attack in the first period. A crazy ten minute spell at the start of the game setup the victory with 3-2 being scored before the visitors registered. The Reds started with a fortuitious high ball from Martin O’Neill dropping into the net. From there on Ballyvarley were in inspired form. The desire could be seen in their quickness to tackle and chase balls, with Ciaran Connolly and Conor McClorey picking up a wealth of ball around the middle. Martin got another point soon after before a nice lay off from David McGovern was ruthlessly struck to the net by James McGrath.

The home side was on fire and when Martin O’Neill retrieved a ball on the endline soloed in and goaled there was ten points between the sides.

A Paul O’Neill point from wide on the right stretched the Ballyvarley lead, and even when a high dropping ball nestled in the home net, the Reds replied straight away with three unanswered points. A neat ball in from Colm O’Neill at half-back fed Martin O’Neill to send a crisp shot over. Minutes later David McGovern fielded the ball under pressure before hitting the sliotar off his shoulder to point.

Ballyvarley’s command of the game came from the solid and disciplined back line with Colm O’Neill sweeping up impressively time and again at half-back. Add to this the ball winning capacity of players like James McGrath, Conor Grew, David McGovern and Martin and Paul O’Neill and the Reds were a potent unit. The main danger from the visitors came in the shape of former county star Noel Sands but with time and space denied he could only manage two points.

The Reds continued to dominate play and possession from back to front with some killer finishing. Paul O’Neill pointed from the left and right before sending a free over. But the final say before the final whistle fell to Conor Grew who caught under intense pressure, swivelled round and lifted the net. This saw Ballyvarley in at the break with a fourteen point lead that did not flatter them at all.

HALF-TIME: Ballyvarley 4-8    Portaferry 1-3 

On the restart the wind started to increase and despite an early left wing point from Paul O’Neill, Portaferry were starting to win more puck outs and possession around midfield. A point for the visitors was cancelled out by Paul before Noel Sands showed he has lost none of his county class with a rocket shot from an almost impossible angle near the end line for a goal.

Ballyvarley never panicked and kept putting over the points. In the second half James McGrath came deeper and was a good outlet throughout winning alot of possession and setting up attack after attack. McGrath got a lovely point from the left wing before David McGovern showed his class to flick over with hardly any room.

In this period David Lavery and Sean Kennedy were to the fore in the defence with some timely interventions as Ballyvarley were made to work hard for every clearance.

Still Portaferry competed with some fierce tackles and in Noel Sands they had a forward with a real eye for goal. Again Sands won a hard drive, caught it at chest height and despite moving wide to the right goaled with a drive that left the keeper having no chance. Despite another goal for Sands, the strong Niall Higgins and the full back line quickly snuffed out his threat with no more scores coming from the away side in the last ten minutes.

There were some lovely scores from the home side in the second period. Sub James McDermott came away from three men with the ball near the Portaferry end line and sent it acrossd the box for McGovern to goal. However perhaps the score of the game came with James McGrath coming deep to midfield, fielding the ball soloing to the left side and sending a cross field diagonal ball to McGovern on the 21 who dispatched it to the net.

Before the end McGovern added another goal as Ballyvarley finished in style with a commanding 22 point victory.

FULL-TIME: Ballyvarley 7-17   Portaferry 4-4

This was an excellent scoring performance from Ballyvarley, 37 points from open play, with a scoreline that could have been bigger before the final whistle.
Every one contributed to the win with fierce tackling all over the field and a hunger to win the ball. In defence David Lavery, Niall Higgins, Thomas Lennon and Sean Kennedy were immense with Colm O’Neill outstanding throughout. In midfield Ciaran Connolly and Conor McClorey won alot of break ball and backed up the half forwards and half backs to good effect. Upfront James McGrath, Martin O’Neill, David McGovern and Paul O’Neill were always threatening with McGovern top scoring with thirteen points. Next up for Ballyvarley is their last away game of the season. 
On Wednesday 24th June they are away to Clonduff who will provide a stern test. Throw in is at 7.30pm.

Ballyvarley Team
Cathal O’Neill, Stephen Daly, Niall Higgins, Thomas Lennon, Sean Kennedy, Colm O’Neill, David Lavery, Conor McClorey, Ciaran Connolly, James McGrath (1-1), Martin O’Neill (2-3), John O’Neill, Paul O’Neill (0-9), David McGovern (3-4), Conor Grew (1-0). Subs used: James McDermott, James McConville, Eunan McConville, Niall Savage, Martin Connolly. Subs: Stuart Cartmill, Gavin McGreevy, Shane McAreavey.