*Martin O’Leary got the Ballyea goal. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

A typically opportunistic Martin O’Leary goal, put away five minutes from full-time, was decisive in ensuring that that county champions Ballyea rebounded from their comprehensive opening round loss to Kilmaley.

Ballyea 1-16
Inagh/Kilnamona 0-15
Venue: Shannon

By Peter O’Connell

O’Leary had come on as a substitute for Damian Burke very late in the first half.
Ballyea had a bit more know-how and their shooting was more clinical in Shannon where there was a fairly strong cross field breeze, which favoured the team playing into the scoreboard end.

While Ballyea will be delighted to have shown that there is life in a panel which has been lightened by the absence of players like Pearse Lillis and Gary Brennan they were helped by Inagh-Kilnamona’s profligacy.

They shot a total of 17 wides and never created what could be deemed a clear goal scoring opportunity.

They have a couple of weeks to get themselves right for their next outing and know that they will have to significantly step it up as Ballyea did following their first-round loss.

While the breeze was quite strong, under foot conditions were perfect in Shannon and while it swirled it seemed to favour Inagh-Kilnamona in the first half.

However, Ballyea started like a team with a point to prove and by the 10th minute they led 0-5 to 0-1.

Gudgie O’Connell put over two early points from play while Niall Deasy landed three from frees. The sole Inagh/Kilnamona flag lifted during that spell followed an excellent Jason McCarthy point from play.

The fact that they were without his brother Aidan was definitely a pivotal absence for Louis Mulqeen’s team and surely they would have been a bit sharper in their shooting had the county man been fit to play.

Inagh/Kilnamona were lifted somewhat by a brace of pointed frees apiece from Eamon Foudy and Conner Hegarty while the latter followed up with an excellent effort from play seven minutes before half-time.

That score left Inagh/Kilnamona 0-8 to 0-6 adrift of the champions for whom Cian Kirby pointed their first of two nice scores during that period.

In front of a good crowd neither team played to their optimum although there were flashes of quality on occasions from both.

Tony Kelly, who had a relatively quite hour, put his side 0-10 to 0-8 ahead at half-time with the first of his two points from play.

In that opening half the difference was simply Ballyea’s shooting efficiency. They looked more assured at what is a rather crucial aspect of any game.

Niall Deasy and Hegarty exchanged frees in the opening minutes of the second half and for a while it looked as if Inagh/Kilnamona might snatch a draw out if it.

Seamus Foudy and David Fitzgerald responded to a Mossy Gavin point to leave just a point in it, 0-14 to 0-13, seven minutes from time.

O’Leary struck for his goal at a time when Ballyea were still only a point ahead, 0-15 to 0-14 and that was the difference.

If you have a player who can put away a goal or two on championship day, you are on your way.

Ballyea had that and they know that while it wasn’t a perfect performance they did enough.
Inagh/Kilnamona have plenty to reflect on but mostly that will revolve around their shooting.

Scorers Ballyea: Niall Deasy (0-7, 6f), Gudgie O’Connell (0-3), Martin O’Leary (1-0), Mossy Gavin, Cian Kirby, Tony Kelly (0-2 each).

Scorers Inagh/Kilnamona: Conner Hegarty (0-8, 5f), Eamon Foudy (0-3f), Jason McCarthy, Seán Rynne, Seamus Foudy, David Fitzgerald (0-1 each).

Ballyea:
1: Cathal Doohan

2: Peter Casey
3: Paul Flanagan
4: Brandon O’Connell

5: Morgan Garry
6: Jack Browne
7: James Murphy

8: Gudgie O’Connell
9: Tony Kelly

10: Cathal O’Connor
11: Niall Deasy (captain)
17: Stan Lineen

23: Cian Kirby
14: Mossy Gavin
30: Damian Burke

Subs:
21: Martin O’Leary for Damian Burke (28)
13: Thomas Kelly for Cathal O’Connor (44)
12: Fergal Ginnane for Lineen (58)

Ballyea:
1: Eamon Foudy

2: Keith White
6: Jason McCarthy
3: Cathal McConigley

7: Seamus Foudy
8: David Fitzgerald
7: Seamus Foudy

4: Shane Woods
9: Darren Cullinan

12: Evan McNamara
19: Eoghan Foudy
11: Conner Hegarty

13: Niall Mullins
5: Seán Rynne
15: Josh Guyler

Subs:
22: Kealan Guyler for Josh Guyler (48)

Referee: Gus Callaghan (Feakle)

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