Ballyporeen engineer a stunning comeback and force replay

AIB Munster Intermediate Football Club Quarter-Final

AIB Munster Intermediate

Football Club Quarter-Final

Ballyporeen 2-12

De La Salle (Waterford) 4-6

Nine points down and apparently on the way out of the Munster intermediate club championship at the first obstacle, Ballyporeen engineered a stunning comeback last Sunday and even looked like winning the encounter before going home with a draw.

Extra-time couldn’t split the teams in Clonmel, with both getting a brace of points in the first half of the additional period and neither managing to add to their score after that as legs grew tired and the skies grew dull.

De La Salle went two ahead early in extra time, through points by Ian Cantwell and Stephen Walsh, before Conor Sweeney added two in a row and those points proved the last of the day.

It was Sweeney who Ballyporeen could thank for keeping them in this match as he finished with 1-8 and was the difference between the teams during a 14-minute period in the second half when they got 1-7 on the bounce, bringing them from a nine-point deficit to a one-point lead.

Their second goal, midway through that run, arrived when Tommy Sweeney scrambled the ball to the net, and their equaliser was a superb effort by Danny Barrett after some good work by Shane Lynch. The Ballyporeen support was delirious when John O’Callaghan put them ahead on the 59th minute but within 50 seconds the teams were level again when Oran Keevers popped up for De La Salle to get their first score in 19 minutes and bring the game to extra-time.

That dramatic second half followed an opening half which featured more goals than points. Ballyporeen drew the early blood with a close-range point by Fionnán O’Sullivan in the first minute before the first goal of the game, a poacher’s effort by De La Salle’s Mitchell Casey after good work by Patrick Kennedy and Ian Cantwell. By the 11th minute they’d added a second, inter-county hurler Jake Dillon making an appearance as a sub and shooting to the net within 10 seconds after a nice passing move.

Ballyporeen got in on the green flag act when Conor Sweeney finished off a long Darragh Lyons ball from the wing but, with points hard to come by in that opening period, things seemed to be in the Waterford side’s control when Dillon got their third goal just before the interval.

But credit must go to Ballyporeen who overcame the concession of a fourth goal, soccer-style on the ground by Ian Cantwell early in the second half, to keep on trying and eventually bring themselves back into contention. The second period of extra-time yielded no score.

Ballyporeen: Michael Sweeney, Seamus O’Callaghan, David Russell, Bobby Breedy, Eoin Morrissey, William English, Riain O’Callaghan, John O’Callaghan (0-2), John Martin, Paidí Fitzgerald, Conor Sweeney (1-8, 4f), Darragh Lyons, Shane Lynch, Tommy Sweeney (1-0), Fionnán O’Sullivan (0-1). Subs: Eoin Kearney for E Morrissey, Anthony Crotty for D Russell, Danny Barrett (0-1) for F O’Sullivan, Neil Barrett for S Lynch, David Hyland for P Fitzgerald.

De La Salle: David Dennison, Stephen Dalton, Colm Clancy, Christopher Sheehan, Oran Keevers (0-1), Thomas Kearney, David Kennedy, Jack Kennedy, Eddie Barrett (0-1), I Cantwell (1-3, 3f), Mitchell Casey (1-0), Kenneth Byrne, Colm Morris, Lee Hayes, Patrick Kennedy. Subs: Jake Dillon (2-0) for P Kennedy, Stephen Walsh (0-1) for K Byrne, Adam Farrell for M Casey, Dean Twomey for L Hayes.

Ref: Richard Moloney (Limerick).