Reds lose top of the table clash at Ballycran

November 8, 2018

Senior Hurling League
Ballycran Vs Ballyvarley
Making the last long trip to the Ards in the league, Ballyvarley senior hurlers travelled for a top of the table clash with Ballycran.

Despite missing Paul and Martin O’Neill the Reds travelled confidently to the hurling stronghold. The first period was a tight affair with both teams quick in the tackle with space at a premium. Ballycran went two points ahead by Ballyvarley kept in touch with two well pointed frees from Colm O’Neill. Ballycran drew ahead again before Conor Grew made a quick lift and turn under pressure to point. Tied at 3 points a piece the game was anyones for the taking. Then disaster struck when the home side hit a cross come shoot from wide on the right that nestled in the left corner of the Ballyvarley net. This was heart breaking for the amount of good play and effort Ballyvarley had put into the first half.

So the half finished with three points between the sides, yet it had been a very even opening period.

The second half began as the first with no quarter given. James McGrath, Niall Higgins and Stephen Daly proved a difficult barrier for the home attack to penetrate, time and again stopping rasping shots.

At the other end though the Reds could not transfer some good possession into scores. Thomas Lennon and Ciaran Connolly provided the ammunition but chance after chance went a beging against a strong Ballycran rearguard.

The old adage says goals win games and so it proved with the Ardsmen getting 3 in the second half. Two of the goals were soft and disappointing for Ballyvarley coming from deflections and unusual defensive errors. In the face of this the Reds managed a three pointer when a long driven free from Colm O’Neill was pulled over the line by John O’Neill.

The Reds pulled a few back towards the end with Colm O’Neill putting over two, the last a long solo run from half-back flicked over the bar. But it was too little too late as the superior finishing of Ballycran made it an eleven point win for the Ardsmen.

FULL-TIME: Ballycran 4-8  Ballyvarley 1-6

Looking on the positive side the defensive unit did indeed play well. James McGrath was immense at full-back with Higgins and Daly impressive, while Ciaran Connolly and Thomas Lennon fought well in the middle of the field.

Ballyvarley Team
Cathal O’Neill, Stephen Daly, James McGrath, Niall Higgins, David Lavery, Colm O’Neill (0-5), Sean Kennedy, Ciaran Connolly, Thomas Lennon, Eunan McConville, Jamie Murray, Colin O’Neill, Conor Grew (0-1), Conor McClorey, Stuart Cartmill. Subs Used: John O’Neill (1-0), Niall Savage, James McConville. Subs:Peter McConville, Gavin McGreevy, Shane McAreavey, Martin Connolly.