The ability of Tony Kelly and Niall Deasy to pick off scores when the need is greatest has been a key ingredient in many of Ballyea’s victories in recent years and it was again a key part of the team’s latest victory when they overcame Broadford in the opening round of the Clare SHC.
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
Broadford looked to have snatched the initiative when they struck for 1-2 without reply inside the final five minutes but Deasy and Kelly responded impressively and three quick points had them back in front with the game in injury time.
It was a win that the champions of 2016 and 2018 deserved but they certainly were made fight all the way on a day when both sides finished with fourteen men after Paddy Donnellan (Broadford) and Gary Brennan (Ballyea) were both dismissed on straight red cards in separate incidents in the third quarter.
Both sides were rattled by the dismissals but, to their credit, they quickly recovered. Overall, the game produced some lively exchanges with some great scores being recorded by both sides.
The pace of Aaron Griffin in the Ballyea full forward line caused plenty of problems for Broadford in the opening half. The Lissycasey man scored his side’s goal in the tenth minute after he was put through by Gary Brennan who also troubled the Broadford defence in that opening period.
Griffin opened up the Broadford backline on a number of occasions and he could have had another two goals but both efforts went inches to the wrong side of the upright in that opening period.
Broadford struck for their goal when the game was in injury time, Stiofan McMahon converting a penalty after Shane Taylor was adjudged to have been fouled in the square.
In the opening ten minutes of the second half both sides added two points to their half time tallies. By the second waterbreak, Ballyea had stretched their advantage to four points and they pushed this out to five when the final quarter got underway.
Ballyea were four points clear with six minutes remaining when Stiofan McMahon struck for his side’s second goal and they quickly followed with two points to lead by one with three minutes remaining.
It wasn’t enough to deny Ballyea who finished strongly to take the spoils
Scorers Ballyea: Niall Deasy (0-9, 5f); Tony Kelky (0-8, 1f) Aaron Griffin (1-2)
Scorers Broadford: Cathal Chaplin (0-7, all frees) Stiofan Mc|Mahon (2-2, 1-0 penalty) Cian Cremins, Diarmuid Moloney (0-2) each; Cian Mulqueen, Oisin Kavanagh (0-1) each
1: Barry Coote
2: Peter Casey
3: Paul Flanagan
4: Brian Murphy
5: Cian Meaney
6: Jack Browne
7: Brandon O’Connell
8: Tony Kelly
9: Stan Lineen
10: Pearse Lillis
11: Gary Brennan
12: Cillian Brennan
13: Mossy Gavin
14: Niall Deasy
15: Aaron Griffin
17: Martin O’Leary for Gavin (46)
22: James Murphy for Lineen (58)
1: Cian O’Brien
2: David Boland
3: Eoin Donnellan
4: Darragh Whelan
5: Cian Mulqueen
6: Darren Chaplin
7: Pauric Taylor
8: Diarmuid Moloney
9: Paddy Donnellan
10: Cathal Chaplin
11: Diarmuid O’Brien
12: Cian Cremins
13: Shane Taylor
14: Mark Moloney
15: Stiofan McMahon
28: Danny Reddan for Boland (HT)
20: Oisin Kavanagh for M. Moloney (half time)
17: Craig Chaplin for C. Cremins (inj 58)
Referee: Jarlath Donnellan (Wolfe Tones)