Ballinamore Sean O’Heslins progressed to the semi finals of this year’s GWP Intermediate Championship courtesy of a three point win over neighbours Aughnasheelin at a sun soaked Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada on Saturday evening.
GWP Intermediate Championship Quarter-Final
Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s 2-9
Despite trailing for the majority of an opening half which saw Aughnasheelin’s Conor Cullen force the green flag just six minutes in, Colin Hannify’s side managed to level the game on the stroke of half time as Wayne McKeon netted. A Peter Reynolds point deep into injury time at the end of the first half sent Ballinamore into a one point lead at the break.
O’Heslin’s kicked on from here and a Liam Ferguson goal early in the second half set them on their way. Aughnasheelin will look back on substitute Damien Gilheaney’s penalty miss midway through the second half as they failed to bridge an elusive three point gap and add to Cullen’s early strike.
It was the eventual victors who grabbed an early lead as Luke Murphy split the posts from a free with four minutes elapsed. Aughnasheelin almost pegged back their opponents straight from the re-start. Gavin Sammon was bundled over by Donal Feely before a free from the left was almost punched beyond Ballinamore goalkeeper Philip Farrelly, only for the net minder to be alert enough to push away Fergal Earley’s strike.
Aughnasheelin went into a two point lead on six minutes as five players combined for the game’s first goal. The move started at the half way line with Fergal Earley, Conor Flynn & Joe Earley combining to tee up Wayne Gilgunn who popped the ball over the head of a Ballinamore man, leaving Conor Cullen one on one as the corner forward feinted left before planting the ball side footed, past the already helpless Farrelly.
The men in green extended their lead on eight minutes as Brendan Mulvey pointed a free but Ballinamore were not to be forgotten about as Luke Murphy dodged two opponents before placing the ball over the bar on 11.
Mulvey added his second point as Aughnasheelin led by three. The gap should have been stretched further shortly after but Aughnasheelin hit some costly wides in this spell.
Ballinamore’s Wayne McKeon added his team’s third point to the scoreboard on 16, while Gilgunn did likewise for Aughnasheelin during their next attack.
Cullen was on hand to send over his first point of the evening from a tight angle on 18 after he latched on to the end of Barry McWeeney’s long ball from defence. Sammon almost replicated the trick a minute later but he was unlucky to see his effort come off the outside of Farrelly’s post.
The contest passed the 20 minute mark with Aughnasheelin holding a 1-4 to 0-4 lead. Substitute David Duignan was responsible for Ballinamore’s third wide of the half on 26, but team mate McKeon made no such mistake four minutes later as the scores matched.
Aughnasheelin corner back Paul Early misjudged the flight of Andrew Burns’ lofted ball forward and as it bounced over the head of the unfortunate Earley, McKeon stole in to blast the ball into the top corner to level the game at 1-4 each with a half hour played.
Ballinamore raced into the lead for the second and final time one minute into added time. Peter Reynolds finding the posts as his side ran in at the break holding a one point advantage at 1-5 to 1-4.
Heslins dominated early proceedings in the second period as Aughnasheelin went 14 minutes without a score.
Reynolds sent over his second point while Ferguson took advantage of a lapse in concentration in the Aughnasheelin defence as the ball slipped through to send the ball hard and low to net with five second half minutes played.
McKeon fisted over his second point of the afternoon on 43. Aughnasheelin eventually ended their barren spell as sub Fintan Fitzpatrick laid the ball off to Cullen who sent over his second point of the evening.
Aughnasheelin were offered a golden opportunity mid way through the second half. Fitzpatrick was upended by Ballinamore defender Patrick McLoughlin as he tried to get his shot away inside the square, sub Damien Gilheaney drilled his low penalty effort against the butt of the post before the ball was eventually escorted to safety.
Aughnasheelin’s Mulvey completed his hat-trick of points with eleven minutes remaining although his side were still clearly reeling from Gilheaney’s miss.
Ballinamore lead 2-9 to 1-6 going into the final ten minutes. Aughnasheelin gave themselves some hope with three points in four minutes from Gilheaney and a Sammon brace to leave a goal in it as the game entered its final stages. Barry McWeeney was presented with Aughnasheelin’s final chance in the dying moments of this entertaining quarter final.
In an attempt to cause havoc in the Ballinamore square, McWeeney sent in a high ball which was intended to land inside the danger area but instead harmlessly drifted wide of Farrelly’s right hand post in what was the final act of the game.
Aughnasheelin: Derek Moran; Paul Earley, Michael Domican, Wayne Gilgunn (0-1); Philip Dolan, Barry McWeeney, Joe Earley; Sean McWeeney, Brendan Mulvey (0-3); Conor Flynn, Gavin Sammon (0-2), Chris McNulty; Kevin McWeeney, Fergal Earley, Conor Cullen (1-2). Subs: Damien Gilheaney (0-1) for Domican (33), Fintan Fitzpatrick for K. McWeeney (35), Gavin McWeeney for Dolan (40), Niall Mulvanerty for C. McNulty (43), Paddy McManus for B. Mulvey (52),
Ballinamore Sean O’Heslins: Philip Farrelly; Kevin O’Connor, Patrick McLoughlin, Matthew Murphy; Keelan McHugh (for Philip Murphy 43), Liam Ferguson (1-0), Donal Feely; Dean McGovern, Ryan Gavin; Mark McGrory (0-1), Andrew Burns (0-1), Anthony McTeigue; Luke Murphy (0-3), Wayne McKeon (1-2), Peter Reynolds (0-2). Subs: David Duignan for Gavin (22), Philip Murphy for McHugh (43), Brian Leydon for A. McTeague (57).
Referee: Eamonn O’Grady