Uibh Laoire 3-8
TOM LYONS REPORTS
MUSKERRY champions Uibh Laoire lived up to their billing as hot favourites when they turned on the style in the second half of their county junior A football championship quarter-final against Ballinascarthy in Newcestown on Saturday.
While Uibh Laoire were expected to win this game, their first-half form was nothing to write home about as they struggled to get scores, though the lively Chris Óg Jones equalised an early David McCarthy point.
Bal were to manage only one more point, from the hard-working Ben Murray, in the first half and they suffered a serious blow in the tenth minute when Conor O’Leary and Cathal Vaughan combined to set up Barry O’Leary for a rocket of a shot to the Bal net.
It was still 1-1 to 0-1 at the end of a mediocre first quarter and, despite dominating play, Uibh Laoire managed only three points in the second quarter, from Cronin (play and free) and Jones. It was 1-4 to 0-2 at the break, with both teams still striving to hit form.
Hopes of a Ballinascarthy comeback in the second half were quickly dashed by an Uibh Laoire side that showed much more calm and accuracy in the second half. With Ciarán O’Riordan and Sean O’Leary backboning a solid defence, Sean Lehane and Daniel O’Riordan lording midfield and all six forwards showing pace and skill, the winners took complete control from the restart. Seán O’Riordan fired over a great point from the wing and in the 36th minute Jones, after seeming to foul his marker, set up Brian Cronin for the second goal and Bal were in serious trouble.
Sean O’Riordan’s second point made it 2-6 to 0-2 at the end of the third quarter and the start of the last quarter saw Vaughan finally hitting the target and Barry O’Leary increasing the gap to 12 points.
While Bal’s dream of a double junior county were quickly disappearing, they refused to throw in the towel and kicked three points in a row from Daniel O’Brien and Cillian Cullinane (2) before Barry O’Leary struck for his second goal,
Uibh Laoire’s third, in injury time.
‘We’ve been knocking on the door for a few years now,’ said Uibh Laoire mentor, Dan Kelleher, ‘We’re more mature now, more physically stronger, probably more street-wise.
‘We have Kilshannig in two weeks’ time in the semi-final in Coachford. They’re a top team, with some very good forwards and we know we’re going into that game as underdogs but that will suit us fine.’
Uibh Laoire: Barry O’Leary 2-1; Brian Cronin 1-2 (1f); Sean O’Riordan, Chris Óg Jones 0-2 each; Cathal Vaughan 0-1.
Ballinascarthy: Cillian Cullinane (1f), David McCarthy 0-2 each; Ben Murray, Daniel O’Brien 0-1 each.
Uibh Laoire: Joe Creedon; Barry Murphy, Ciaran O’Riordan, Gerard O’Riordan; Kevin Manning, Sean O’Leary, Ciarán Galvin; Sean Lehane, Daniel O’Riordan; Conor O’Leary, Cathal Vaughan, Sean O’Riordan; Chris Óg Jones, Brian Cronin, Barry O’Leary.
Subs: Gerard McSweeney for C Vaughan (48), Finbarr McSweeney for S O’Riordan (53), Shane Galvin for C Galvin (56), Liam Kearney for C Jones (58), Donal O’Sullivan for B O’Leary (59).
Ballinascarthy: Barry Hanrahan; Eoin O’Brien, Chris Ryan, Gearóid O’Leary; David Walsh, Daniel Nyhan, Jeremy Ryan; Sean Ryan, Ciarán Nyhan; Dean Harte, Cillian Cullinane, Ricky O’Flynn; David O’Leary, Ben Murray, Cathal Nyhan.
Subs: Padraic Cullinane for R O’Flynn (15), Michael Kirby for Cathal Nyhan (ht), Brian O’Donovan for D Harte (37), Daniel O’Brien for D Nyhan (46), Aaron Ferguson for J Ryan (48).
Referee: James O’Regan (Lough Rovers).