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MLR's 15 minute spree enough to see off Ballinkillen

Kevin Regan
July 23, 2023

MLR 1-16, Ballinkillen 1-9

You’ll go a long way before you’ll see a team nailing four points from play in the first 2 minutes and only scoring 2 for the next 30.

But MLR did just that in this Round 4 tie played in awful conditions at Dr Cullen.

You couldn’t have imagined a situation where Ballinkillen would go in 3 clear at half time.

Equally as surprising was the return of selector Frank Foley between the sticks for MLR!

But having weathered that early MLR storm, brewed up by Dean Tobin (2), Richie Coady and Jon Nolan, Ballinkillen started to steady the ship.

Sean Murphy got them off the mark in the 3rd minute and he turned provider for a fine Jack Treacy point on 11 minutes bringing them back to within two points.

Dean Tobin pushed MLR three clear again in response and Ballinkillen were starting to become guilty of missing chances, a theme which was to stay with them all through the contest.

They defended very well however and this was evident in particular at the end of the first quarter with Dion Wall and David English applying pressure on a goal bound Chris Nolan effort which went wide.

Eoin Kavanagh came out with an ocean of ball for Ballinkillen and he has been very reliable in defence it must be said.

Jack Treacy then turned on the style with 1-1 in the space of two minutes, the goal coming after a trademark run in along the end line. 

Ruairi Dunbar and Chris Nolan exchanged scores, but two frees from Shane Kelly meant Ballinkillen were to go in 1-6 to 0-6 ahead. 

Not something that seemed likely after about 100 seconds! 

Much has been made about the Limerick Hurlers performances in the third quarter of games.

MLR have a habit of it also and having done it against Bagenalstown Gaels, they outscored Ballinkillen by 1-8 to no score in this period.

Diarmuid Byrne went to full back before half time, with Tony Lawlor coming in at wing back and Kevin McDonald going to centre.

There had been suggestions that this could be a possibility but while young Michael Joyce will make a fine senior hurler, it’s giving them that bit more experience back there with Byrne, in a position which they have tinkered with over the past decade.

Up top, with good supply they found scores either directly or indirectly and after a brace of Chris Nolan frees and another from Kevin Mac, the goal chances started to appear.

But this was just after Ballinkillen had one of their own when Kevin Mac chased down Jack Treacy and did enough to prevent him gaining purchase on the ball to finish.

Treacy also came close before half time when an almost identical run to that of his goal resulted in a free where as mentioned above, Shane Kelly put over.

Now for the MLR goal. Chris Nolan sniffed a chance and despite being closed down by Dion Wall, his effort had enough to beat Thomas Dowling. 

Rangers now lead 1-10 to 1-6 and 5 minutes later it was 1-14 to 1-6 With more frees from Nolan and McDonald.

The only 3 scores for Ballinkillen in the second half came in the final quarter through frees from Shane Kelly (2) and David English.

Jack Treacy was electric in the game but the fuse went for the second time with 10 minutes to go with another yellow card which was a disappointing end to his evening. 

Eddie Byrne looked a frustrated figure at times for MLR but the simplicity in how he took his score near the end will surely be good for his confidence going forward. 

The return of Ciaran Whelan as a second half sub will be a big boost for Ballinkillen next week also.

Rangers face Naomh Brid in Round 5 while Ballinkillen take on Bagenalstown. 


MLR: Chris Nolan 1-6, 0-4f, Kevin McDonald 0-3f, Dean Tobin 0-3, Richie Coady 0-2, Eddie Byrne 0-1, Jon Nolan 0-1

Ballinkillen: Jack Treacy 1-2, Shane Kelly 0-4f, David English 0-1f, Ruari Dunbar 0-1, Sean Murphy 0-1