North Mayo Minor ‘A’ Final (Friday 25-August-95)
Lahardane’s iron will too strong for Ballina
Lahardane marched into the history books with the authority that only champions are privileged to exercise.
At St. Joseph’s Park, Knockmore, on Friday evening the McHales club, located at the base of Nephin, rose to the summit in minor ‘A’ football defeating Ballina Stephenites in the decider to capture its first title at this level.
Two points separated the sides at the end but in truth Lahardane were the hungrier and more determined side and two spectacular saves in the first period and the intervention of the crossbar in the second half deprived them of goals.
Ballina’s goal late in the first period by Ronan O’Reilly to bring them back into contention came about from a badly hit free by Philip O’Reilly who had attempted to land a point from a 30m place-kick.
The Stephenites, playing into the wind in the first period, had a number of bad wides, particularly by Alan Honan and Shane Barrett, but were still in an excellent position at the interval when trailing by just one point, 0-6 to 1-2.
Although Ballina came back to draw level on four occasions in a dour second-half struggle, the Moysiders had simply no answer to the new champions better teamwork iron will to record history.
The only sour note of the game was early in the second period when a heavy tackle by Alan Honan on John Rowland held up proceedings for several minutes while the injured player was being attended to.
Rowland was replaced but returned to the action again to play a key role of McHales winning the honours.
The Stephenites were particularly weak up front where only Ronan O’Reilly emerged from the game with any credit, bringing his tally to 1-3.
Indeed the dominance enjoyed by John Rowland and Shane Blake in the centre of the field for Lahardane in the first thirty minutes was reflected in the fact that the Stephenites could only contribute one point to the scoreboard in the first twenty-eight minutes and that came after five minutes by Philip O’Reilly.
Adrian Marley, Mervin Marley, Anthony Irwin, David Burke, Declan Sheridan and Simon Rowan were outstanding in the Lahardane defence all through.
Declan Leonard, and the two Damien Kellys and Vinnie Cawley were always a thorn in the Stephenites rearguard. Four points by Leonard and one by John Rowland left the Nephin siders 0-5 to 0-1 clear after seventeen minutes.
It was in the 18th and 24th minutes that Lahardane had two Declan Leonard goal-bound shots saved, the first by a defender’s body at the expense of a ‘45, and the second save by goalkeeper Sean Campbell.
Eight minutes from the interval Ballina roared back into contention when Ronan O’Reilly, collecting the ball from the badly struck free by his brother Philip, crashed the ball into the roof of the net past a helpless David Coleman.
Within fifty seconds of the restart Ballina had another let-off when John Rowland cracked a shot off the angle.
Each time that the Stephenites drew level Lahardane responded positively with the lead point again, via direct play and frees by Vinnie Cawley, Damien Kelly and Declan Leonard.
Entering the final two minutes the sides were level and a replay looked certain.
However, Lahardane finished strongly with two further points by Declan Leonard and Vinnie Cawley.
Lahardane: David Coleman, Mervin Marley, Anthony Irwin, David Burke, Adrian Marley, Declan Sheridan, Simon Rowan, John Rowland (0-1); Shane Blake, Declan Leonard (0-7); Damien Kelly, Ross Nolan, Damien Kelly (0-1); Vinnie Cawley (0-5); Brian Rowland. Subs.: Steven Jordan (for J. Rowland); K. Burke (for B. Rowland); J. Rowland (for Burke).
Referee: R. Cosgrove (Kiltane).<<Back
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