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2005 Junior Football Championship and march through Leinster

Junior Football Championship, 9 May 2005

Ballinagore 3-13  Delvin 1-06

We played our opening game in this years championship last Sunday against Delvin in Springfield. Playing into the breeze in the first half, Ballinagore settled quickly and established a comfortable lead by half time, 2-10 to 0-01. Our performance in the second half deteriorated badly and we allowed our opponents to take the game to us but we were comfortable winners in the end. However we will have to address our second half display if we are to progress in this years competition. Team: Paddy Maloney, Ciaran Deegan, Enda McCann, Pat Heduan, Pierce Corcoran, Marty Linnane, Louis Ennis, Eoin Miller, Peter Deegan, Eddie Quinlan, Stuart Gavin, Ciaran Carey, Cathal Ennis, Michael Ennis, Ger Linnane. Subs: Jason Winfield, Michael Maloney, Declan Claffey, Paul Seery, Darren Ennis, Mark Claffey, Shane Heraty, Christy Maloney, Gerry Claffey.


Junior Football Championship, 13th June 2005

Ballinagore 3-08  St. Fintans/Multyfarnham 2-09

We played our second game in the championship against St. Fintans/Multy in Springfield last Thursday week. Heavy rain that afternoon and during the game left conditions very hard for both teams but a very spirited performance by our opponents made us battle all the way and goals by Michael Ennis (2) and Eoin Miller saw us collect our second win in the competition. It was evident from this game that we have a lot more work to do if we are to progress so all players are asked to continue the good work at training. Team: Paddy Maloney, Pierce Corcoran, Enda McCann, Pat Heduan, Louis Ennis, Marty Linnane, Peter Deegan, Eoin Miller, Stuart Gavin, Eddie Quinlan, Paul Seery, Ciaran Deegan, Cathal Ennis, Michael Ennis, Ciaran Carey. Subs: Chritsy Maloney, JJ Hegarty, Michael Maloney, Jason Winfield, Shane Heraty, Sean Delaney, Danny Maloney, Mark Claffey, Declan Claffey, Darren Ennis, Gerry Claffey.


Junior Football Championship, 11th July 2005

Ballinagore 0-12  Loughnavalley 1-06

Ballinagore collected their third brace of points in this years championship by virtue of this hard earned win over Loughnavalley last Wednesday evening in The Downs. This was a well contested game throughout and this win now leaves us well positioned to reach the play off stages. Our next game in this competition is on next Sunday against Ballycomoyle in Springfield at 2.30pm. Please come along to lend your support to the team. Team: Paddy Maloney, Ciaran Deegan, Enda McCann, Pat Heduan, Louis Ennis, Peter Heraty, Peter Deegan, Stuart Gavin, Marty Linnane, Shane Heraty, Ciaran Carey, Eddie Quinlan, Cathal Ennis, Michael Ennis, James Durkan. Subs used: Jason Winfield, Declan Claffey.


Junior Football Championship, 18th July 2005

Ballinagore 5-12  Ballycomoyle 1-06

We had a comfortable win over Ballycomoyle last Sunday in this championship game played in sunny St. Lomans. We were expecting a big challenge as our opponents had to win after drawing their previous games. However our lads showed great hunger and spirit on the day and three first half goals from Ger Linnane (2) and Michael Ennis set us on the road for victory. Half time score was 3-06 to 0-05. A well executed goal and a point by Ballycomoyle at the start of the second half gave them a glimmer of hope but we responded with another goal almost immediately and dominated the rest of the game as our opponents faded. Team: Paddy Maloney, Peter Deegan, Enda McCann, Ciaran Deegan, Eddie Quinlan, Peter Heraty, Louis Ennis, Stuart Gavin, Marty Linnane, James Durkan, Ian Seery, Cathal Ennis, Jason Winfield, Michael Ennis, Ger Linnane. Subs (all used) Declan Claffey, Shane Heraty, Darren Ennis, Michael Maloney, Mark Claffey.


Junior Football Championship, 25th July 2005

Ballinagore 1-09  St. Pauls 0-14

We played our final group game last Saturday evening against St. Paul's in Springfield. With both teams already qualified, this game decided who would top the group. St. Paul's started well and dominated the first half and went into a deserved 0-09 to 0-03 lead at half time. Ballinagore were very lack lustre in this first half but emerged more determined in the second moiety. Midway throught the second half we got the break we needed when Peter Deegan who was now playing in the forwards finished to the net after a good move. This reduced the deficit to two points. We were enjoying a purple patch in terms of possession and we drew level with moments to go. However St. Paul's had more left in their tank and after breaking up a Ballinagore attack they went downfield to kick a point and restore their lead. We got caught pressing forward again and another point by the Clonmellon men in the dying minutes left us with too big a hill to climb. On the day, St. Paul's were the better team and deserved their victory. We never got going in the first half at all and ultimately we paid the price. We have a lot more work to do between now and the semi-final so please keep up the attendances at training. Team: Paddy Maloney, Ciaran Deegan, Enda McCann, Peter Deegan, Louis Ennis, Peter Heraty, Eddie Quinlan, Marty Linnane, Stuart Gavin, Cathal Ennis, Ian Seery, James Durkan, Jason Winfield, Michael Ennis, Ger Linnane. Subs: Pat Heduan, Shane Heraty, Michael Maloney, Darren Ennis, Declan Claffey, Sean Delaney, Mark Claffey.


Junior Championship Semi-Final, 12th September 2005

Ballinagore 1-13  Ballycomoyle 1-03

Ballinagore qualified for the junior final last Sunday when we defeated a gallant Ballycomoyle side in St. Lomans grounds. We started the game well and raced into a 1-03 to 0-00 lead midway through the first half, our goal being scored by Michael Ennis after being well setup by Ger Linnane. Ballycomoyle responded well and scored a somewhat fortuitous goal to bring them back into the game. This score seemed to knock us back for the remainder of the half and we only scored two more points which were matched by our opponents to leave the score 1-05 to 1-02 in our favour at half time. We took control of the game in the second half with the breeze in our favour. Our defense got on top of the Ballycomoyle attack and we started playing the ball quicker into our forwards which resulted in us picking off some fine scores to put the result firmly in our favour. We now play St. Pauls in the final in a few weeks time, the date for the final is provisionally set for October 2nd. If our previous meetings this year are anything to go by, we can be sure of a very good, close game to decide who makes the step up to Intermediate next year. Team: Paddy Maloney, Enda McCann, Louis Ennis, Pat Heduan, Peter Deegan, Peter Heraty, Ciaran Deegan, Stewart Gavin, Marty Linnane, Eddie Quinlan, Ciaran Carey, Cathal Ennis, James Durkan, Michael Ennis, Ger Linnane. Subs: Shane Heraty, Eoin Miller, Jason Winfield, Declan Claffey, Darren Ennis, Sean Delaney, Mark Claffey, Ian Seery, Christy Maloney.


Junior Championship Final, 2nd October 2005

Ballinagore 1-9  St. Paul’s 0-8

Last Sunday at 3.23pm, great scenes of joy and celebration were witnessed in Cusack Park, Mullingar as the referee blew the final whistle to this year’s Junior Football Final which saw Ballinagore crowned Junior Champions for the fourth time.

A close game was expected and this is exactly what was played as Ballinagore were made fight all the way to victory by a gallant St. Paul’s side.

This was a superb team performance with some great individual performances notably from Pat Heduan, Cathal Ennis, Michael Ennis and captain Eoin Miller who gave a terrific display of high fielding especially in the second half.

This was a great day in the history of Ballinagore GAA and one which will surely be celebrated over the coming weeks.

More importantly it marks Ballinagore’s immediate return to Intermediate football for 2006 and with the club’s current batch of young footballers, the future looks good. Well done to manager, Sean Robinson, selectors Liam McDaniels and Martin Seery who have put in great work throughout the year.

Also, congratulations to the committee and backroom team that have worked tirelessly during the year.

We spare a thought for our opponents in this year’s final, St. Paul’s. This year was their second final defeat in a row and in Ballinagore we know exactly how that feels as we had to endure three final defeats in a row before we finally tasted success in 1994. St. Paul’s are a very young and strong side who were very gracious in defeat. They deserve the taste of success and it will surely come soon given their display last Sunday.

We would like to thank our various sponsors who have helped us along the way to this year’s success. Also we would like to thank all our supporters and all our friends from our neighbouring clubs who came out to support us last Sunday.

Finally, we must remember the players, not just the seventeen lads that featured in last Sunday’s game, but the entire squad who have trained hard all year. Without the effort and sacrifices each one of these men made we would not have won last Sunday. Well done lads, enjoy the celebrations, you all deserve it.

Ballinagore team and scorers: Patrick Maloney, Enda McCann, Louis Ennis, Pat Heduan, Eddie Quinlan, Peter Heraty, Peter Deegan, Stuart Gavin, Martin Linnane, Cathal Ennis, Ciarán Carey, Eoin Miller (captain) (0-1), James Durkan (0-5, 4 pts from frees), Michael Ennis (1-2, 1pt from a free), Ger Linnane (0-1). Subs: Shane Heraty for Ger Linnane; Ian Seery for Ciarán Carey; Temporary substitute Ian Seery for Michael Ennis.


Leinster Junior Quarter Final, 5th November 2005

Ballinagore 2-10  Carrickshock (Kilkenny) 1-05

After nearly a months waiting, we made the long trip to Kilkenny last Saturday to take on this years Kilkenny Intermediate champions, Carrickshock, in the quarter final of the Leinster Junior club championship. Heavy rain in the south east last week left the original venue and the backup venue unplayable, so we were forced to travel to possibly the most southern part of the province to Carrigeen, three miles from Waterford city on the Limerick road. Aside from the journey, the south east lived up to its sunny reputation with almost summer like weather conditions on a very good but soft pitch. A minutes silence was observed before the game as a mark of respect for the late Adrian Murray who sadly passed away the previous day. Ballinagore started in whirlwind fashion, quickly dispelling any notions of tiredness from the long trip, and after a few poor wides we found our scoring boots and with Michael Ennis in fine form we had the first three minors of the day. After seven minutes, a long delivery into their full back line caused panic among their defenders and between them they managed a bizarre own goal. This was quickly followed by a brilliantly taken goal from Peter Deegan from an acute angle. Another pointed free by James Durkan left us 2-04 to 0-00 up after fifteen minutes. On the sideline we talked about going home. The lads on the pitch must have heard us, as for the remainder of the half they took their foot off the pedal and allowed Carrickshock gain parity in terms of possession and the Kilkenny side outscored us by 0-03 to 0-01 in this period, which could have been more if their excellant free taker had not hit the post with one of his efforts. Half time score was Ballinagore 2-05, Carrickshock 0-03. After a stern half time talk, Ballinagore re-emerged to put this game beyond Carrickshock but on their first attack of the second, a long ball landed inside our full back line and was despatched to the bottom corner soccer-style by the delighted corner forward. This score set the scene for an intense second half. A few positional changes were then made to the team. This seemed to steady the ship but we still found it hard to take our scores against a sticky defense. A few late points when our opposition tired ensured we ran out deserving winners. We had some good performances with Peter Heraty and Ciaran Deegan playing well in defense. Our midfield pair of Eoin Miller and Stuart Gavin had strong games while up front Michael Ennis, Ciaran Carey and Marty Linnane played very well. However we will have to up our performance again if we are to win next weekend against what will definitely be stronger, more organised opposition. Team: Paddy Maloney, Enda McCann, Louis Ennis, Pat Heduan, Ciaran Deegan, Peter Heraty, Eddie Quinlan, Eoin Miller, Stuart Gavin, Marty Linnane, Ciaran Carey, Peter Deegan, James Durkan, Michael Ennis, David Deegan. Subs used: Shane Heraty, Ger Linnane, Ian Seery, Sean Robinson, Declan Claffey.


Leinster Junior Semi Final, 12th November 2005

Ballinagore 2-08  Ballyboden Wanderers 1-08

After a hot and cold display the previous weekend against Carrickshock, Ballinagore turned up the heat at home last Saturday to beat a fancied Ballyboden Wanderers side and qualify for the final of the Leinster junior club championship. Our opposition were after easily disposing of Dowdallshall from Louth and also beat a strong Birr side so we knew were going to be in for a close game and that is exactly what we got. In fact the good attendance got a lot more, this game had nearly everything - played at an intense pace, we were treated to good scores, good passages of open football, strong hitting and a nailbiting finale which included over six minutes of injury time. Our opponents were a fine side with a strong physical presence but our lads displayed a greater hunger to reach the final and this was evident in our play throughout. Right from the throw in, Ballinagore attacked and David Deegan signalled our intentions by collecting a pass and soloing straight through the heart of their defence before kicking a fine point from the outside of his boot. Ballinagore attacked relentlessly in the opening quarter and we were rewarded with two superbly worked goals from Michael Ennis and Ger Linnane. Wanderers had settled for the second quarter and they scored a very fortuituous goal of their own to bring them back into contention. Half time score was 2-04 to 1-04 in our favour. The second half was a ding-dong battle with both teams giving it their all. Wanderers took the game to Ballinagore with commendable spirit but we always were able to match their scores. The referee was having his own impact in this half with frees being given against both sides for very little. Both teams had a player sent off for what seemed minor indicretions and as a result the quality of play deteriorated towards the end but the intensity remained. As we approached the long whistle, we were still holding onto a dangerous three point lead and while we had to endure over six minutes of injury time, Wanderers never looked like creating a goal chance to bring the game to extra time.

The final whistle was greeted by great scenes of relief and celebration as our junior team created our own little bit of history in reaching the Leinster final. This was a fine team performance with every man playing out of their skin and giving everything for the cause. Next Saturday will see us meet the Kildare champions, Grangenolvan, who overcame St. Michael's from Meath in the other semi-final. This promises to be another close game and it will require a repeat of last Saturdays performance if not better to get the better of them. Next Saturday's game is in Ballinagore with a two o'clock throw in. Please come along to support the team. Team on Saturday was: Paddy Maloney, Enda McCann, Louis Ennis, Peter Deegan, Ciaran Deegan, Peter Heraty, Pat Heduan, Marty Linnane, Stuart Gavin, Ciaran Carey, Eoin Miller, Sean Robinson, David Deegan, Michael Ennis, Ger Linnane. Subs used: James Durkan, Ian Seery.


Leinster Junior Final, 19th November 2005

Ballinagore 0-09  Grangenolvan (Kildare) 0-07

Ballinagore created history last Saturday by becoming the first Westmeath club to win a Leinster club football title when we defeated Grangenolvan from Kildare after a monumental struggle. Our opponents came into this game as 5/4 on favourites according to Paddy Power and when they raced into a 0-04 to 0-00 lead after just twelve minutes it looked as if our time was up. Their pace, urgency and accuracy had our players and supporters shell shocked and their large gathering of support urged them onto towards greater things enthusiastically. The Leinster Leader newspaper during the week spoke highly of the Kildare outfit, their only drawback in their campaign to date was their slow start in their games. If this was another slow start, we're in deep trouble we thought. The previous week, Ballinagore could do no wrong against Wanderers. Our passing was accurate, our movement up front was slick, defensively we were well on top. This was different, Grange didn't like to play nice open football. They wanted to play hard, fast, in your face stuff and Ballinagore were in the wrong mode. In this first half, we made mistake after mistake, took wrong decisions and in general we didn't play our normal game. Then after about twenty minutes with the score at 0-05 to 0-01, came what possibly was the turning point in the game. Another Ballinagore attack broke down badly and the ball was quickly moved back upfield. A long high delivery landed dangerously in space in our large square and was met by a Grange boot. Somehow, Paddy Maloney managed to dive to his right in time and get enough behind it to push it out for a 45. We had been thrown the life line we needed. We were still only four points adrift. (Unfortunately for Paddy, he injured himself making this save and had to be replaced early in the second half with Marty Linnane taking the No. 1 jersey.)

From that save on, Ballinagore gradually gained more control. We scored another free before half time and in a first half where we should have been dead and buried, we found ourselves just a kick of the ball behind with the scoreboard reading 0-05 to 0-02 in favour of Grange. The second half was ours but not from the start. Grange increased their lead to four points two minutes in. We responded with a point by Michael Ennis. Grange regained their four point advantage on six minutes. Little did our visitors know that this would be their final score, not only in the remaining twenty fours minutes of normal time but the additional twenty minutes extra time required to decide the outcome. Throughout the field, Ballinagore were now starting to dominate key positions and for the remainder of the game we put Grange under serious pressure. This pressure paid off with two pointed frees by Michael Ennis and another from play by the same man, after good work by Ciaran Carey and Ger Linnane, reduced their lead to the minimum with eight minutes left on the clock. In between these scores, Ian Seery missed a glorious goal opportunity when the ball came back off the upright only for his shot to go narrowly wide;-) Grangenolvan were now guilty of the same mistakes we made earlier. Another attacking movement three minutes later saw yet another foul committed on a Ballinagore forward. Michael Ennis pointed the resultant free and the sides were level. Ballinagore kept pushing for a late winner and the same player had a great chance to win it for us in normal time but a Grange defender somehow managed to force our county man off balance at the last moment and his shot went agonisingly wide. The final whistle blew with both teams level on seven points apiece. There was confusion at this point as the word spread that the referee had announced that the game would not have extra time but would go to a replay. Both teams were applauded as they made the way to the dressing rooms after their tremendous efforts. Then the match official was corrected by Leinster Council and before long it was game on again. This was great news for the our lads as even though they were after sixty minutes of hard, physical football, we knew they could win this game and they new it too. The twenty minutes produced just two more points and they were both from Ballinagore men. The first was a beauty and came from the left foot of James Durkan in the first half of extra time. Both teams missed scorable opportunities as the time ticked away but a fine break upfield saw James Durkan pass to Michael Ennis and he made no fuss about fisting the ball over to give us a two point lead with four minutes left on the clock. We endured some pressure towards the end as Grange sought a goal but our defense held strong and the referee finally called a halt to proceedings leaving us winners on a scoreline of Ballinagore 0-09, Grangenolvan 0-07. Apart from the first half, this was another great display by our lads. They showed great spirit and determination to drag themselves back into this game. Every man played their part and it would be impossible and unfair to single lads out for praise. Instead, the entire team deserves great praise for what they have achieved for the club and the community. Our thanks to everyone who helped out on Saturday and in the days before this big event. Congratulations to the management team of Sean Robinson, Liam McDaniels and Martin Seery on leading the team to this great success. Finally, congratulations to all of the players, deserving Leinster junior club champions 2005 each and every one of them...Team: Paddy Maloney, Enda McCann, Louis Ennis, Peter Deegan, Marty Linnane, Peter Heraty, Pat Heduan, Eoin Miller, Stuart Gavin, Ciaran Carey, David Deegan, Sean Robinson, James Durkan, Michael Ennis, Ger Linnane. Subs used: Ian Seery, Eddie Quinlan.