Wolfe Tones 1-9 Ballyvaughan 0-5
WOLFE Tones confirmed their superiority over Ballyvaughan in this season’s senior football championship when, for the second time in a few weeks, they defeated the North Clare outfit.
Gurteen was the venue last Friday evening for the first game in a three-way play-off for a quarter-final position and while the Shannon side didn’t score the game’s only goal until the final minute, they were worthy winners.
Inspired by a disciplined defence, the winners were the physically stronger side and this, allied to their greater experience, proved too much for Ballyvaughan.
Midfielder Johnnie Bridges gave the Shannon men the lead inside the first minute when he fisted a good point. Kevin Carrucan levelled in the second minute before Gary Leahy (free) and Stephen McInerney were on target for the winners to put them two clear after 10 minutes.
A brace from Jason McDonagh had the sides level by the mid-point of the opening half but from here to the break, the winners had the upper hand.
Damian McNamara denied Kevin Cahill with a fine save with just under 10 minutes to go to the break but the ’Tones finished out the half strongly and points from centre-back Brian O’Connell and a Gary Leahy free left them two clear at halftime.
Ballyvaughan returned with Jack Queally in their attack and he caused some problems for the ’Tones defence early in the second half. Queally had the opening score of the half when he pointed after five minutes. They piled on the pressure but they just could not break down a strong Wolfe Tones defence in which Chris Dunning was excellent at corner-back.
Wolfe Tones held a one-point advantage as the game entered the final quarter and from here on they dominated. Patsy Keyes and Gary Leahy stretched their lead to three with just over 10 minutes to go. For once, Ballyvaughan managed to break past the ’Tones defence but Trevor O’Donnell was quickly off his goal line and he got a vital touch to deflect Killian Mahon’s goal effort away for a 45.
It was to be their last chance and the Shannon men strengthened their grip on the game from here on. Shortly before the finish, midfielder Patsy Keyes picked up a second yellow card that led to his dismissal but it was the winners who finished strongly and in the first minute of injury time, Kevin Cahill sealed the win with the game’s only goal.
Wolfe Tones: Trevor O’Donnell; Alan Downes, Seán Brennan, Chris Dunning; Brendan Hughes, Brian O’Connell, Stephen McInerney; Johnnie Bridges, Patsy Keyes; Barry Murphy, Frank Lohan, Declan Collins; Declan O’Rourke, Gary Leahy, Kevin Cahill.
Subs: Terry Duggan for Collins; Alan Hehir for O’Rourke.
Scorers: Gary Leahy (0-4 2 frees); Kevin Cahill (1-1); Brian O’Connell, Stephen McInerney, Johnnie Bridges, Patsy Keyes (0-1) each.
Frees: 17; Wides: 8; 45s: 3
Bookings: Patsy Keyes (43 minutes and 59 minutes)
Sent off: Patsy Keyes (59 minutes)
“That was a tough battle today. Our defending was brilliant. We are glad to be where we are at present.” Brendan Reidy, Wolfe Tones
Ballyvaughan: Damian McNamara; Kieran Casey, Philip Monks, Mark Walsh; Setanta Moran, Diarmuid Greene, Mark O’Loughlin; Raymond Casey, James Hynes; Phelim Kyne, Stevie Hynes, Kevin Carrucan; Killian Mahon, Jason McDonagh, John Martyn.
Subs: Cian Walsh for R Casey; Jack Queally for O’Loughlin; Damian Martyn for K Casey; Paul Darcy for K Mahon; John McCormack for C Walsh.
Scorers: Jason McDonagh (0-2); Kevin Carrucan, Jack Queally, Cian Walsh (0-1) each.
Frees: 19; Wides: 6; 45s: 2
Bookings: John Martyn (42 minutes)
“They were able to manage the conditions better than us. You need to play for an hour in senior football.” Pat Costelloe, Ballyvaughan
Referee: Rory Hickey, Éire Óg