The overall strength in depth of Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s proved far too potent for a game but limited Drumreilly in the opening round of the Connacht Gold Senior Championship last Saturday evening in Cloone.
After struggling in the opening quarter, Ballinamore eventually got to grips with Drumreilly’s game plan of feeding James Holohan at every possible opportunity and once they found their range, victory was never truly in doubt.
Central to the transformation was the amount of ball that O’Heslin’s started to win in the middle of the field as they virtually hovered up every loose bit of possession and, more often than not, turned it into scores and even when their neighbours cut the gap down to three points with ten minutes to go, Ballinamore had the answer.
The introduction of James McWeeney and Sean Murray made a big difference as they added to the threat upfront and it added to the ball winning ability of O’Heslin’s, something that Drumreilly just couldn’t cope with despite their best efforts.
It was an effective performance from Ballinamore with Jim McTague doing a good job on restricting Holohan when moved in while Shane Moran, Johnny McWeeney, Shane & James McWeeney and Paul Prior who gave an exhibition of free-taking were top class.
For Drumreilly, James Holohan was outstanding but lacked support while John and Sean Fee, Anthony Holohan and Graham Taylor all caught the eye.
Ballinamore tried to start brightly but had two missed chances and it was Drumreilly who got the first two scores, Nigel Maguire putting over a free and James Holohan getting away with a shove to tap over.
Maguire added a point from play after a block on an attempted Ballinamore clearance but Shane McWeeney steadied a nervous O’Heslin’s with a good free. Jim McTague was penalised for over-carrying and before Ballinamore could react, a quick free found Holohan for a lovely point.
Paul Prior took advantage of a very harsh over-carrying call to narrow the gap but Ballinamore escaped when Frank Holohan charged through the middle only to see his shot hit the post. And O’Heslin’s took advantage of the scare with Prior putting over two frees in the space of three minutes.
Drumreilly hit back when another long McKeon ball saw Holohan make another great catch to score, the full-forward only being stopped by a good check from Matthew Murphy but with Nigel Maguire missing some vital frees, Ballinamore finished the half with two points.
Johnny McWeeney got a point that could have been a goal only for a goal-line clearance from an Adrian Smith effort and a block on Shane Murphy while Shane Moran had a fine point on the run to leave Ballinamore 0-6 to 0-5 in front at the break.
Ballinamore showed they meant business in the second half as Shane McWeeney pointed after just 12 seconds and despite a couple of wides, they extended their lead to five points with good scores from Wayne McKeon, David Duignan and Paul Prior (free).
Nigel Maguire started a mini-revival with points from Nigel Maguire and Graham Taylor, the second a well worked point but O’Heslin’s took heed of the warning as they struggled for a few minutes and sub Sean Murray scored a brilliant point on the turn with ten minutes to go to halt the rot.
With Drumreilly trying everything, Philip Farrelly made a vital interception ahead of Kevin Holohan, Ballinamore hit on the break with Johnny McWeeney, Prior (free) and Philip Murphy all sweeping over excellent points.
Nigel Maguire got a point in the last minute but it proved little more than a consolation with Murray getting the last score in added time.