By Fergal Monaghan in Darver
Ballybay Community College 1-7 St Farnan’s PP Prosperous 0-2
Defending champions Ballybay Community College booked their place in their second consecutive Masita Brother Ignatius Rice cup courtesy of a 1-7 to 2 points win over a much fancied St Farnan’s PP, Prosperous, played in horrific conditions in a windswept Darver, Co. Louth.
Ballybay played with the aid of a gale force wind as both teams had to contend with the affects of storm Jorge. The difficult conditions made scores hard to come by but Ballybay got off the mark with a fisted point from Julius Sniauksta after he managed to connect to a long high ball from Latton’s Eoin Duffy.
St Farnan’s began to assert themselves in the game through midfielder Daniel Lynam and after some missed frees they eventually equalised matters with an Eoin Bagnall 20 metre free on the 10 minute mark.
Ballybay gradually played their way into the game through hard running and excellent support play from the halfback line of Eoin Duffy, Aaron Hamilton and James Hughes. The wind continued to play havoc with shooting accuracy but on the 16th minute Tristan Keenan judged the wind to perfection as he swung over an excellent point 30 metres out on the left wing to edge Ballybay in front.
Clever and tenacious defending from Ballybay and from corner back Thomas Keenan in particular ensured St Farnan’s struggled to make any inroads into the Ballybay rear guard. The Ballybay attack began to fire as they rattled off two points in quick succession on the 19th and
20th minutes. First Darragh Dempsey pointed from long range after strong approach play from Mark Hughes and then Eoin Duffy kicked a monster score from 45 metres out that lifted the mid Monaghan crowd.
Latton’s James Hughes kicked the final score of the 1st half with a fine effort from 40 metres out on the left wing to make the score 5 points to 1 in Ballybay’s favour. For the remaining 10 minutes of the half the match was mainly played in the middle third of the pitch as the wind continued to rise making playing conditions incredibly difficult. The 1st half ended with a missed free from Ballybay and the score remained 5 points to 1at the break.
St Farnan’s started the 2nd half brightly as the wind and hail blew at their backs Eoin Bagnall stroked over a 20 metre free from the ground in the opening moments. However disaster struck for the Kildare side when Rory Moran was shown a straight red card in the 33rd minute for an off the ball incident on Ballybay’s hardworking midfielder Shane Slevin. Darragh Dempsey slotted over the resulting close range free to restore Ballybay’s 4 point lead.
On the 36th minute St Farnan’s had their second player sent off, this time centre half back Colm Moran received his 2nd yellow card after a high tackle on the battling Shane Slevin. From this point on Ballybay managed the game brilliantly, holding possession and making their numerical advantage count. In fact St Farnan’s failed to register another score from here on.
Ballybay missed some chances as did St Farnan’s as both sets of free takers struggled to judge the wind sufficiently. It was the Monaghan side that ended the match in a flourish when a team move ended with the strong running Dara McCann laying it off and it appeared to be Darragh Dempsey who stroked the ball past St Farnan’s Adam Doyle to make it 1-7 to 2 points on 58 minutes. That was to be the last score of the game. As a jubilant Ballybay Community College march on to yet another All-Ireland final on Saturday the 21st of March where they will play either Dunmore Community School or Beara Community School.
Ballybay Community College team and scorers:
Ryan Johnston,Thomas McPhilips, Mark Hughes, Thomas Keenan, Eoin Duffy (0-1), Aaron Hamilton, James Hughes (0-1), Shane Slevin, James Slevin, Julius Sniauksta (0-1), Dara McCann, Darragh McElearney (Capt), Michael Coyle, Tristan Keenan (0-1), Darragh Dempsey(1-3, 0-2 from frees).
Subs used: Ryan Duffy for Aaron Hamilton, James McAdam for Tristan Keenan,Cian Hughes for James Hughes.
St Farnan’s PP Prosperous team and scorers:
Adam Byrne, Jack Cross, Adam Ewing, Josh Carroll, Rory Moran, Colm Moran, Kian Percival, Paul
Dockery, Daniel Lynam, Eoin Bagnall (0-2 from frees), Kevin Campbell, Conor Murphy, Emmet Donoghue, Jamie O’Brien, Jack O Brien.
Sub used: Aaron Lenehan and Jack Musgrave.