30 Apr 2014

Ballythomas retain their title after extra time drama

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Ballythomas 4-10 Murrintown 3-4

In Hollywood, it is nearly impossible to pull off a sequel that is better than the original, but last Tuesday in Patrick’s Park, the Ballythomas and Murrintown boys served up a final that was twice as spectacular in its entertainment and epic drama as was seen in last year’s final between the same teams.

The game began with a bang as Conor Hughes cut through the Murrintown defence to get a goal within seconds. Such was the speed of this goal and subsequent Ballythomas attacks, that it looked like they would build an early lead. But some tight Murrintown defending and some wasteful Ballythomas shooting saw only one more score for the Ballythomas boys in the half. Murrintown scored two points through Daragh O’Sullivan-Connell to keep close to their rivals. The scoring may have been low but all over the field there was some great play with an intense battle going on in the midfield and a great duel being contested between Ballythomas defender Conor Kinsella and Murrintown attacker Oisín Waters.

In the second half, Daragh O’Sullivan-Connell scored another point in the opening minute to put a point between the teams. Paul Gatley did well to parry a powerful Conor Hughes shot over the crossbar when a goal looked certain. The game then burst into life when the impressive Cian Hughes finished a great team move by Ballythomas to open up a five point lead. Murrintown responded by attacking en masse and scrambling in a goal following some great pressure on the Ballythomas keeper. Ballythomas then upped the pace again and created another big lead through a Paddy D’Arcy long range point and a seventh minute Conor Hughes goal. This did nothing to dent the Murrintown confidence and you could almost smell the nervous tension building in the Ballythomas team as the clock ticked down and the opposition pushed harder. Twice they pounced in the closing minutes to score a goal and this levelled the game.  One of these goals was highlight of the game. Daragh O’Sullivan-Connell hit a close range free that sped like a bullet past five Ballythomas boys on the line to equalise at the death.

The final whistle brought confusion amongst the players when Murrintown instantly began to celebrate and the Ballythomas team trudged forlornly to the sideline. However the scores were rightly level and so there was extra time to be played and both teams had to regroup to go at it again.

Daragh O’Sullivan-Connell, who was proving to be unmarkable at this stage, pointed yet again on the resumption and it took a long time for Ballythomas to score until Conor Hughes scored three, two from frees, and Jason Bolger got one of his own to build a three point lead just before the third break of the game.

In the final period of play Ballythomas clicked into gear and Conor Hughes got a game breaking goal and put over another free to make the lead grow to seven points. Jason Bolger chipped in with his second point and Conor Hughes scored a sublime 45 to bring the final scores to 4-10 to 3-4 after a special game of football between two very talented teams. Ballythomas may have gotten the better of their fierce rivals once again, but Murrintown will always stand tall beside them as a very special team in this and last year’s competition. The county can only look forward to future battles between these bright young stars if the competition is always going to be this good.

Ballythomas: JJ Kinsella O Neill, Conor Kinsella, Tom Mordaunt,  Jason Bolger, Paddy D’Arcy, Cian Hughes, Conor Hughes, Jason Byrne, Micheál McGonigle, Seán Hughes, Gearóid Boland

Murrintown: Paul Gatley, Jamie Berry, Ben Morris, Zac Firman, Conor Kelly, Oisín Waters, Daragh O’Sullivan-Connell, Conor Keane, Francis Dempsey, Conor Doyle, Daragh Collins