The Gallogly Catering All County League Division 1 got underway in Ballinamore on Saturday afternoon last but it was the visitors, Mohill, who deservedly recorded an opening day victory.
A two point victory gives the impression of a very tight and hard fought encounter but in realty, for the majority of the game Mohill were much stronger and it was only the introduction of Wayne McKeon and the moving of Shane Moran into midfield with 20 minutes remaining that gave Ballinamore any hope of turning the outcome in their favour.
Ballinamore Sean O’Heslins 1-5
By Philip Rooney
After a winter of inactivity the players of both sides would no doubt have been glad to be back in action but it was hardly surprising that both sides displayed signs of rustiness. Of course, as the year progresses sharpness and match fitness will improve considerably. Both sides would have viewed last Saturday’s encounter as an opportunity to further hone that fitness but above all they would have been hoping to get off to a winning start.
Although they made a slow start to the game and had to withstand late pressure, Mohill thoroughly deserved their victory. Michael McGuinness ensured Shane Moran was kept quite for the majority of the game while wing backs Alan Armstrong and Dasniel Beck also impressed, as did the midfield duo of Donal Flynn and Shane Quinn.
The Mohill forwards also caused plenty of problems with John McGuinness seemingly always able to find space when he dropped deep while Ronan Kennedy and Colm Beirne were both very effective from placed balls.
It was Ballinamore who opened the scoring in the opening minute through James McWeeney after Shane Moran’s pass but the opening 10 minutes proved to be largely forgettable.
Mohill equalised in the sixth minute through Barry Lupton after being released by John McGuinness but the opening exchanges lacked any real decisiveness as both sides tried to put the winter break behind them.
Ballinamore had chances to regain the lead including an excellent counter-attacking move that began with John Fanning taking the ball out of defence. After the ball was played to Conor McTague, the ball was worked up to James McWeeney who ran at the heart of the Mohill defence. McWeeney’s excellent run deserved a score but unfortunately the wayward shot did not match the incisive approach play.
Mohill punished Ballinamore for that miss as they hit back with two quick frees as Ronan Kennedy and Colm Beirne both coverted frees.
Midway through the half Mohill opened up a three point lead after Ronan Kennedy pointed after good play involving Stephen Flynn and Paul Earley and all of a sudden Ballinamore looked in danger of facing a significant deficit to overhaul long before the game reached half time.
A Colm Beirne free extended the Mohill lead to four points before Ballinamore were handed a way back into the contest after a foul on Shane Murphy. Referee Brendan Sammon immediately signalled for a penalty and Shane McWeeney accepted responsibility for the penalty.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.