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JFC St Patricks 1-10 Ballon 1-5

posted 6 Aug 2014, 05:36 by PRO St Pats,Tullow,Carlow

This clash had all you would expect in a first round championship clash. We didn't see any black cards in the league, but we saw three in Fenagh as St Pats grabbed victory over a strong Ballon side. We had rain, big hits, good scores, aggression and skill throughout.
St Pats opened the scoring with a goal from Jack Kennedy after Josh Doyle, who won lots of ball all night, spilt the Ballon defence with a cross field pass to play the county man in, with Jacko slotting cooling to the corner. Padraig Murphy added a point for the Tullow men, having previously kicked a wide, with the Ballon men not finding their feet in the early stages. Ballon also had their corner back black carded after 4 minutes as referee David Hughes stamped his authority.
Hugh Nolan got the Ballon men on the scoreboard with a nice point after breaking through from midfield, followed by a Frank Fanning free. Ballon were now hitting form with Michael 'Mouse' O'Leary adding a great point with his left foot to leave the minimum between the sides.
On 15 minutes, David Wilson broke through the St Pats defence and when Padraig Murphy made the tackle in the area, it led to a penalty for Ballon and a black card for the Tullow captain. This looked like Ballon would go ahead for the first time in the game. However, James 'Shad' Tobin made a great save low to his right from the penalty and cleared the ball to keep Pats ahead. Will Doran added a point for St Pats and Shane Byrne added one for Ballon to leave the half time scores at 1.2 to 4pts.
St Pats came out hungry in the second half with Ballon sluggish in the opening few minutes as they were in the first half. Pats kicked the first three points of the second half with Johnny 'Egg' Fitzgerald's reliable left foot adding the opener with Jacko adding two frees to put Pats 1.5 to 0.4 up. Cathal Bailey broke through for Pats after good work but saw his shot come back off the post. Ballon came into the game at this point and but for the tigerish defending from the Pats back line, the Ballon men might have went ahead. Ryan Malone, who made his championship debut tonight, was leading the way for the Pats defence with others responding well around him. Ballon scored 1.1, a point from Fanning and a goal from Shane Byrne, to leave the sides level on 1.5 each midway through the second half. Ballon were attacking well at this stage but the Tullow men held strong. Malone and his full back line partners Allan O'Neill and Sean Condon cleared ball after ball, with Shane Rohan driving on the team from half back winning numerous 50/50 balls. Lee Kavanagh and Darren Butler put their bodies on the line also and came out with the ball many times to set Pats up for scores. This half back line was full of energy and aggression throughout and are a solid foundation for the team.
This defending during the Ballon purple patch was the winning of the game for Pats. Ballon never went ahead in the game, and Pats scored the last 5 points to win by 1.10 to 1.5. Johnny Egg added two and Jacko the other three.
Stephen Nolan and James 'Chuck' O'Connor worked well together at midfield. Will Doran got on plenty of ball and was a great link at centre forward. Brian Kenny played at corner forward and linked up play well beside Josh Doyle, who is going to be a handful for every full back!
St Pats brought on Paddy Tobin at midfield, a player the club welcome back working overseas at the moment in Canada. Paul Rooney entered the game in the late stages also. Peter Fitzgerald, the clubs most experienced championship player entered the game at corner back to ensure the lead was maintained. Peter has played championship for Tullow's first team for 17 years, missing only a handful of games over that period.
Jack Kennedy topped scored again, with great displays all around the pitch. However, the man of the match award goes to St Pat's corner back Ryan Malone. He did all the simple things so well, like any corner back should. He marked tightly throughout, won breaking ball, played the ball out of defence with simple hand passes and worked tirelessly throughout. This was a great debut for the young man and he has made the jersey his own.
This victory sets St Pats up well to advance from the group, but a further two wins against Pal and Rathvilly would put them straight into a semi final spot.
Ballon are a strong team who will no doubt be involved during the knockout stages of the championship. Frank Fanning, the ballon captain, got on plenty of ball at full forward and would have kicked more scores if he hadn't been put under such pressure. Paddy Byrne and Hugh Nolan battled well in the middle for Ballon. David Wilson got through lots of work helping out his defence from wing forward.
St Pats; James Tobin, Sean Condon, Allan O'Neill, Ryan Malone, Darren Butler, Lee Kavanagh, Shane Rohan, James O'Connor, Stephen Nolan, Padraig Murphy(0.1), Willie Doran(0.1), Jack Kennedy(1.5), John Fitzgerald(0.3), Josh Doyle, Brian Kenny. (Cathal Bailey for Murphy-BC 15mins, Paul Rooney for Kenny 47mins, Paddy Tobin for O'Connor 52mins, Peter Fitzgerald for Condon 55mins)

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