Naomh Eoin 0-9
As soon as the heavy downpour landed yesterday afternoon you got the feeling that there would be no let up.
And although the conditions were consistently bad and offered little reprieve, you sensed that inadvertently it might set the tone for the battle that both these sides were about to face, knowing that they had eyed each other up with an equal sense of emerging victorious.
And in the early exchanges it looked like Ballinkillen and Naomh Eoin were holding values similar to that of the rain falling from the sky. Four points each at the end of the opening quarter. No let up!
In that first quarter Eric English and Colm Beck exchanged frees, Sean Murphy got off the mark - Scott Treacy & John Michael Nolan at the far end.
However this is where the sequence of events started to change.
Ballinkillen pushed on and by half time they led 0-9 to 0-4, winning a lot of ball around the middle, drawing frees which Eric English converted, while Jack Treacy and Ruairi Dunbar also picked off fine scores.
Naomh Eoin had a massive chance in this period with Gavin Ruschitzko finding himself in on goal, but Thomas Dowling closed the gap and blocked the effort.
It seemed to start a trend of wasteful play for the Myshall men that would continue until the end of the game. Not just in terms of scoring opportunities but at times their play broke down all too easy, despite looking very slick indeed in the opening exchanges.
Another notable thing in this game was the absence of linesmen. A trend which has sadly continued on the back of last week and indeed at times last year.
Paud O'Dwyer did his best to patrol things despite this, but with so much happening there is only so much a referee can do, even if the superhuman Cormac Holloway is your umpire!
Michael Nolan's early second half strike looked to be encouraging for Naomh Eoin, however within seconds Padraig Hynes had replied for Ballinkillen to make it 0-10 to 0-5 and soon after Eric English added another from a placed ball.
John Michael reduced the margin once more and Ciaran Abbey then cut the gap even further having assumed free taking duties. But despite this, Naomh Eoin really struggled to make an impact to bring the gap any closer than 4 points.
James Smithers got on a good bit of ball on introduction but the real tell tale sign was Ballinkillen's ability to get more bodies in around the loose ball in the middle third, and with this came a lot of drawn frees which more often than not were put away by English.
John Michael did look a threat near the goal whenever he ventured in that direction and occasionally Naomh Eoin went longer which did ask Ballinkillen a few questions - notably when Nolan had a half chance of a goal blocked down. But that's all it was in reality.
In the end all they could muster up was 9 points which they will be disappointed with considering the opposition on the night who they would have targeted before a ball was pucked this year. Losing Tadgh Daly to a red card late on wasn't ideal either as he had a right tussle with Craig Wall throughout.
Ballinkillen are back on their feet and will be encouraged by this performance going forward, but will also know that improvements are needed. They have a nice mix of speed and strength up top and will pose a threat for anyone if they click.
Naomh Eoin's shorter style is easy on the eye when it works and they showed signs occasionally that this will serve them well going forward, but on nights like last night they must learn to adapt their game and they have the talent at their disposal to make that adjustment when needed.
They will be disappointed but there is more to come from them and they shouldn't lose heart as there are still clear signs of improvement.
Naomh Eoin face Bagenalstown Gaels next time out, while Ballinkillen face Naomh Bríd.
Ballinkillen: Thomas Dowling; Jamie Wall, Dion Wall, Sean Brenan; Eric English, David English, Eoin Kavanagh; Kevin Kavanagh, Mark Foley; Sean Murphy, Ruairi Dunbar, Padraig Hynes; Craig Wall, Conor Treacy, Jack Treacy. Subs: Sean Cummins, Craig Kehoe.
Scorers: Eric English (0-10f), Sean Murphy (0-3), Ruari Dunbar, Jack Treacy, Padraig Hynes (0-1 each)
Naomh Eoin: Brian Treacy; Tommy Nolan, James O'Hara, Tadgh Daly; Ger Kavanagh, Dwaine Kavanagh, Diego Dunne; Colm Beck, Michael Kavanagh; Ciaran Abbey, John ML Nolan, Michael Nolan; Gavin Ruschitzko, Adam Kenny, Scott Treacy. Subs: James Smithers, Eoin Redmond, Cathal Treacy
Scorers: Ciaran Abbey (0-3f), John ML Nolan (0-2), Scott Treacy (0-2), Colm Beck (0-1f), Michael Nolan (0-1)
Referee: Paud O'Dwyer
Listen back to the 1st half here: https://twitter.com/i/spaces/1MnxnpkZaPmGO?s=20
2nd half here: https://twitter.com/i/spaces/1vOxwMyVAOLGB?s=20
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