Ballyporeen star forward Conor Sweeney
Ballyporeen clinched their place in the knock-out stages of the Tipperary Water county senior football championship with a comfortable five points win over Kiladangan in round two of group 3 at Cashel on Sunday morning, 1-13 to 2-5
The South side were the better outfit in a scrappy encounter but what matters most is that they secured a second victory in the group with their third game against Killenaule, who are also unbeaten in the campaign.
While they were always making the running, and never really looked likely to lose, Ballyporeen will need to do better than this when the serious football is being played and more testing opposition is encountered.
In particular they will be concerned at slack defending which cost them two goals and which could well have cost them another. That said they fully deserved this win as they were tidier in their approach,with a good work ethic in the team and the likelihood is that this win will bring them on.
Ballyporeen set their stall out early, Adrian English’s goal after eight minutes reflecting their superiority even at that stage. They went 1-3 to 0-1 clear by the 16th minute but then Kiladangan exposed defensive problems in the Ballyporeen set up when first Declan McGrath netted in the 22nd minute and two minutes later Kieran Kelly banged home a second to put Kiladangan ahead 2-1 to 1-3.
Ballyporeen recovered well from that setback to go 1-7 to 2-2 clear coming to half-time, with Tommy Sweney,Conor Sweeney, John O Callaghan and Darrragh Lyons getting on the board. They got another fright just on half-time when Darragh Egan was set up by Dan O Meara but the Kiladangan man shot wide when it seemed easier to goal.
Fergal Hayes, their best player in the first half, notched a point for Kiladangan before the break at which stage Ballyporeen led 1-7 to 2-3, having played into the fresh breeze in the opening half.
The advantage lay with Ballyporeen and the scales tipped even more in their favour when Kiladangan lost Fergal Hayes to a black card shortly after resuming. Two Conor Sweeney points from frees gave them a three points lead and thirteen minutes elapsed before Jack Loughnane registered Kiladangan’s first score of the second half.
It was a brief respite for the North lads as Ballyporeen once more asserted themselves with points from Conor Sweeney(2) and John Martin for a five points lead after fifty minutes which prompted management to begin emptying the subs bench. In the remaining minutes Tommy Sweeney for Ballyporeen and Ben Banaghan for Kiladangan swapped points leaving Ballyporeen comfortable five points winners.
Ballyporeen’s last group game is against Killenaule and with both having a one hundred percent record, and qualified for the knock-out stages, it is largely bragging rights which will be at issue. Even if the performance was not from the top drawer, it was nevertheless a satisfying outcome for Ballyporeen who will be hoping tos build on this as they face into the business-end of the championship.
They are strong in the key areas with John O Callaghan, Noel Vaughan, Tommy and Conor Sweeney, and John Martin providing the leadership for their colleagues.
Kiladangan’s hopes of a championship run are ended following this their second defeat and their concern now will be to preserve their senior status. The side has enough potential to do so and the crucial thing for them is going to be how their hurling interests impinge on their preparations. They were doing well until they lost Fergal Hayes to a black card at the start of the second half but their handling skills and general movement was a notch lower than their opponents’.
Fergal Hayes was a key figure for Kiladangan with Dan O Meara,Joe Gallagher, Jack and Andy Loughnane and goalkeeper Tom O Meara also to the fore.
Scorers for Ballyporeen – C Sweeney(0-5,4fs), T Sweeney(0-3), A English(1-0), J Martin(0-2), S Molan, J O Callaghan, D Lyons(0-1 each);
Kiladangan scorers – F Hayes(0-3), D McGrath, C Kelly(1-0 each), J Loughnane, B Banaghan(0-1 each);
Ballyporeen -Jack English; Seamus O Callaghan, Rian O Callaghan, Shane Molan; Darren O Dwyer, John O Callaghan, Eoin Morrissey; Tommy Sweeney, Conor Sweeney; Noel Vaughan, Dave Hyland, Anthony Crotty; Adrian English, John Martin, Darragh Lyons; Subs – John Ryan for O Dwyer(h/t), Paudie Fitzgerald for Hyland(48 mins), James Hackett for English; Josh Mackin for T Sweeney(56mins), Cealloch Hennessy for Crotty(57mins),
Kiladangan - Tom O Meara; James Quigley, Martin Minehan, Paddy Gallagher; Jack Loughnane, Darren Moran, Declan McGrath; Joe Gallagher, Fergal Hayes; Ciaran Kelly, Dan O Meara, Darragh Flannery; Ben Banaghan, Darragh Egan, Tadgh Gallagher; Subs Andy Loughnane for J Loughnane(h/t), Jack Loughnane for Hayes,(black card, 35mins), Keith Brennan for Kelly(51 mins), Paul Flynn for Banaghan(56 mins), Michael Quigley for P Gallagher(59mins);
Referee- Seanie Peters, Galtee Rovers