Ballymore Eustace 1-14
Kildare Intermediate Football Championship round one
By Robert Cribbin
Ballymore Eustace continued where they left off in winning the 2017 Junior Championship when they defeated Monasterevin in the opening round of the Intermediate Championship.
Niall Murphy was the star for Ballymore kicking 1-6 throughout as Gary Kilmartin’s team showed what a threat they could be at this level for the upcoming year.
In a thoroughly entertaining game Monasterevin’s Padraig Nash did his best to keep tabs with Murphy as he kicked 1-5 himself and on another day his tally would have been enough.
In truth the two point margin doesn’t really do Ballymore’s victory justice as if it weren’t for late goals in either half by Monasterevin, Ballymore would have ran out much easier winners.
Ballymore Eustace looked to have made a dream start when Darragh Kelleher was brought down in the opening minute for a penalty and while it may have been questionable whether the foul was inside the square or not it was given by referee Eamonn Kelly but Shane Barrett’s effort went tamely past the post.
Padraig Nash then opened the scoring in the third minute with a beautiful Monasterevin point right on the sideline.
It was a lead that was short lived though with Ballymore scoring 1-3 without reply in response with the excellent Niall Murphy leading the way.
The corner forward took advantage of a mistake in the Monasterevin defence to find the net in the 10th minute and after he followed that up with a point from play, Mark Slevin and Caolan Halpin Graham also scored leaving them with a 1-3 to 0-1 lead.
Monasterevin did get the lead back to three points by the 20th minute however courtesy of scores from Padraig Nash and Kevin Fitzpatrick which cancelled out a Murphy score from play.
Ballymore put on another surge though with Murphy running riot in kicking a trio of scores to add to a Halpin Graham free and they looked to be in a very comfortable position leading 1-8 to 0-4.
Monasterevin battled back bravely before the interval with Cormac Stapleton and Wayne Fitzpatrick scoring well from distance while Nash who was a real handful buried a goal past Patrick Murphy in the Ballymore goal in the 31st minute.
Incidentally Monasterevin could have easily being in front after a goalmouth scramble in the Ballymore goalmouth but the team in Green and Yellow survived to lead 1-8 to 1-6 at the end of an absorbing opening half.
The second half was a lot less hectic and the quality dropped considerably with both teams guilty of squandering chances at goal.
The first point took five minutes of the half to come with Murphy nailing his second free before a lull occurred and it wasn’t until Halpin Graham scored an excellent effort in the 44th minute that anything worthwhile happened when he was out in front and won a ball inside and he kicked between the posts on the turn.
Eventually after going the majority of the half without scoring Nash stalled Ballymore’s momentum with two points in as many minutes to get back within sight but Ballymore were the better side and they kicked on again with Murphy and Shane Barrett scoring from play as well as Halpin Graham kicking another free.
Monasterevin sub Sean Kavanagh scored a cracking point from range late on but a fisted point from Ballymore’s full back Mark Barrett when a goal may have been summed up the mood Ballymore were in.
Murphy could have added to his tally when he found himself 1 on 1 with Adam Forde in stoppage time but to Forde’s credit he stood tall to deny him.
Kevin Dunne slammed in a late goal for Monasterevin but it came too late as Ballymore claimed a thoroughly deserved victory on a 1-14 to 2-9 scoreline.
Ballymore Eustace: Patrick Murphy; Keith Conway, Mark Barrett 0-1, Tomas Murphy, Michael Stewart Byrne, Sean Doyle, Joe Broderick, David McAtamney, Tadhg Grace, Stephen Dwyer, Shane Barrett 0-1, Darragh Kelleher, Niall Murphy 1-6 (0-2fs), Caolan Halpin Graham 0-3 (0-2fs), Mark Slevin 0-2. Subs: William O’Donoghue for Dwyer 45 mins, Jordan Deegan for Slevin 56 mins.
Monasterevin: Adam Forde; John O’Toole, DJ Earley, Paul Kelly, Cormac Stapleton 0-1, Eoin Stapleton, Kevin Dunne 1-0, Leonard Havens, Paul Maloney, Sean Kavanagh, Kevin Fitzpatrick 0-1, Mark Kelly, Wayne Fitzpatrick 0-1, Padraig Nash 1-5 (0-1f), Wayne Sharpe. Subs: Adam Kavanagh 0-1 for P.Kelly 44 mins.
Ref: Eamonn Kelly
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