Slow building St. Kevin’s prepare for quarter-final clash

Robert Cribbin

Reporter:

Robert Cribbin

Slow building St. Kevin’s prepare for quarter-final clash

St.Kevins will now play Clogherinkoe in the Quarter-Finals

St. Kevin’s 1-17  

Ballyteague 0-9

Pittman Traffic IFC preliminary Quarter-final

By Ian Baker

Recent momentum and an outstanding eleven-point win over Ballyteague in the preliminary quarter-final in  Hawkfield on Saturday means St. Kevin’s are peaking at the right time.

 St. Kevin’s may have had to play an extra game getting into a quarter-final against Clogherinkoe, but steady progress has allowed them to gain momentum.

Despite the one-sided result, speaking after the game, manager Mark Fitzharris remarked that over the years little or nothing has separated these local derby teams.

“Maybe the scoreline doesn’t suggest that today, but only in the last fifteen minutes did I feel we pulled away.”

Controlling the game from the outset, but always looking over their shoulder at a resilient Ballyteague side, Fitzharris says that “it was a real battle and that’s normally the way it is against Ballyteague.”

“Similar to last year, we came off a poor league campaign and it took us a while to adapt to the Championship, but we’re back working hard in training.”

 Leading 0-4 – nil after the opening quarter, St. Kevin’s got on top early in the game and stayed there. Ross Carew, Barry Noone, Ryan Casey and Declan Flaherty, who’d all had a positive bearing on the game, left Ballyteague searching for scores in the first-half.

It took Jimmy Hyland seventeen minutes to open Ballyteague’s account as three early wides shook their confidence.

 A long-distance Stephen Connolly free and a Fionn Murphy point closed the gap to three points by the 25th minute as Carew and Noone registered corresponding points.

Finishing the half with six wides apiece, St. Kevin’s made full use their first-half wind advantage to lead by five points at the break.

 As Noone and Carew extended their tallies to three apiece, Seamus Hanafin’s 28th minute missed goal chance might have been better served over the bar.

Nearly kicking three times more points in the first-half, St. Kevin’s led 0-8 – 0-3, despite Hyland and Cian Gilligan scoring early second-half points.

These scores might have reduced the margin to three points three minutes into the second-half, but St. Kevin’s responded by outscoring Ballyteague by 1-9 – 0-6.

When Ballyteague goalkeeper Derek Mooney fouled Carew inside the square for a penalty and a blackcard, Johnny Fitzharris’ strike meant that Marc Herbert’s first job was picking the ball out of the net.

Hyland and Connolly points kept a sense of hope alive, but when Flaherty and Casey responded, it was clear which team was in the driving seat.

 Keeping Ballyteague scoreless for a fourteen-minute period, which included the black carding of Hyland, further points from Mark Grace, Joe Kenny and Flaherty meant St. Kevin’s led 1-13 – 0-7 by the 55th minute.

 Substitutes Gavin Smullen and Brian McGrath kicked concluding points for Ballyteague, but when Flaherty kicked his fourth point and Noone his fifth, St. Kevin’s progressed into the quarter-final with a handsome, if not flattering, elven-point margin.

Scorers – St. Kevin’s – B Noone 0-6 (3f); D Flaherty 0-4; R Carew 0-3 (f), R Casey 0-2; M Grace and J Kenny 0-1 each.

 Ballyteague – J Hyland 0-3 (f); S Connolly 0-2f; B McGrath (f), C Gilligan, F Murphy and G Smullen 0-1 each.

ST. KEVIN’S: Keith Fitzharris; Alan Bennett, Tom Barron, Conor Gordon; Jamie Smyth, Mick Kenny, Brian Fogarty; Ciarán Smyth, Mark Grace; Cormac Noone, Barry Noone, Ryan Casey; Ross Carew, Declan Flaherty, Johnny Fitzharris. Subs: Joe Kenny and Dylan Brereton for C Noone and Casey (53 mins); Paddy Walshe for J Smyth (57); Dean O’Regan for J Fitzharris (59); Kevin O’Brien for Bennett (60).

BALLYTEAGUE: Derek Mooney; Conor Mullaney, David Randles, Tommy Coogan; Gerry Melia, Glen Thorpe; Niall Moran; Cian Gilligan, Cathal Hanafin; Robert McCabe, Stephen Connolly, Seamus Hanafin; Fionn Murphy, Kieran Brennan, Jimmy Hyland. Subs: Marc Herbert for Mooney B/C (35); Stephen Dunne for McCabe (44); Brian McGrath for Hyland B/C (47); McCabe for Dunne B/C (53); Gavin Smullen for Gilligan (56); Barry Dempsey for Murphy (57).

REFEREE: Conor Daly.