Home‎ > ‎Archives‎ > ‎

2005 Leinster Junior Club Final

Leinster Junior Final Match Report

(This report appeared on the Westmeah Examiner on 26th October 2005 and has been reproduced here with their kind permission)

Brilliant Ballinagore make history after memorable comeback

BALLINAGORE 0-9 GRANGENOLVAN 0-7

While 2005 was a very disappointing year for Westmeath football’s three inter-county teams, it ended triumphantly for Lake County fans, and in particular the hard-working Gaels involved on and off the field in the village of Ballinagore, after a magnificent extra-time victory in last Saturday’s Leinster club junior football final at home to Kildare representatives Grangenolvan.

This ground-breaking provincial success for a Westmeath club was all the sweeter considering how the visitors from outside Athy almost totally dominated the opening 23 minutes, with Ballinagore failing to score as Grangenolvan tacked on five points (which could have been more). Two late points from frees in the first half gave the home fans hope and it took a great save from Paddy Maloney deep in injury time to realistically maintain his side’s interest in the competition.

However, the boys in maroon and white were transformed on the resumption and they fully deserved to bring the contest into extra-time (when the referee eventually consented to same, with the teams level at 0-7 apiece). In this additional 20 minutes, the winners added two priceless points (one in each half), the first from the previously subdued up-and-coming star, James Durkan, and the second appropriately from the man whose all-round standards of excellence any young player should aspire to replicating, Michael Ennis. In the end, Ballinagore were worthy winners and when Gabriel McKenny, who refereed fairly throughout, blew the final whistle, an entire community and many others from further afield in Westmeath, descended upon the Ballinagore pitch to celebrate a truly outstanding achievement.

Conditions could not have been better for football on Saturday afternoon last. The men and women behind the scenes in Ballinagore had ensured that all was in place logistically for this massive day in the club’s history. Indeed, as it transpired one of their biggest achievements was to ensure that many fans who were departing after the referee initially decided there would be a replay after the standard 60 minutes had finished level, were retrieved in time to see the nailbiting 20 minutes extra-time which eventually followed! Grangenolvan had a large and vociferous travelling support with them, who were undoubtedly gutted to have travelled home trophyless, but their team played a great part in an absorbing encounter where there was not so much as one nasty blow struck by either side.

Grangenolvan started the game in determined fashion and, when a Timmy Doyle free was deflected out for a ‘45’, the same player converted the subsequent kick, off the outstretched hands of Stuart Gavin on the goal line. Within a minute, a fine through ball from the lively John Leahy was fielded by Gary Brennan who turned and pointed in style from 30 metres. It was almost 0-3 to 0-0 in the eighth minute but Lar Nolan’s "point" was disallowed for overcarrying. The visitors were unquestionably the livelier side at this juncture and Peter Nolan increased their lead in the tenth minute with a great left-footed point, following fine approach play from Paddy O’Brien and Eamon Farrell. Three minutes later, it was 0-4 to 0-0 when Eamon Farrell’s inswinging free was flicked over the bar by Gary Brennan.

At exactly the midpoint of the first half, Ballinagore eventually threatened the Grangenolvan defence. A typical burst from Michael Ennis ended with one of many fouls on the Leinster player, but unfortunately James Durkan was unable to convert the resultant 25 metre free from a tricky angle. Almost immediately, Ennis again bore down on goal but, strangely chose to try for a goal from all of 25 metres out, and his shot was easily saved. In the 21st minute, Noel Lawler found Daniel Nolan in acres of space and the corner forward had time to compose himself before slotting over the Kildare side’s fifth point.

Very shortly afterwards, a great move by the winners involving Martin Linnane, Eoin Miller and David Deegan ended with Ger Linnane’s goal attempt being blocked - in the opinion of some spectators illegally - before the losers were penalised for overcarrying, and James Durkan opened the Ballinagore account from the 20-metre free which ensued. In the last minute of normal time, Michael Ennis pointed another free from a similar distance following a foul on Eoin Miller. Two minutes into added time, Paddy Maloney pulled off a great save from a side-footed effort from Daniel Nolan, who had chased Noel Lawler’s through ball. The resulting ‘45’ was unconverted, leaving Grangenolvan ahead by 0-5 to 0-2 at the break.

Within two minutes of the restart, Ballinagore had reduced the deficit to two points, with Michael Ennis slotting over a 35-metre free from his hands after, yet again, he had been fouled. However, Grange’ responded in style when Mark Brennan’s high centre was fisted out to Gary Brennan by the home keeper Paddy Maloney, and the full forward duly tapped over his side’s sixth point. Maloney was then forced to retire injured, but his late first half save was to prove invaluable. Martin Linnane took over the number 1 jersey and ironically was never really tested in the time remaining, due to a vast improvement in the winners’ defence. In the seventh minute, Gary Brennan was fouled and he tapped over the subsequent 14-metre free.

Now trailing by 0-2 to 0-7, the scenario looked bleak for the home side, with Grange’ looking the more purposeful outfit. However, the fitness and sheer class of Michael Ennis, allied to a steely determination from all of his colleagues, would ensure that Ballinagore refused to throw in the towel. Ennis pointed a 20-metre free in the 12th minute following a foul on Sean Robinson. Two minutes later, the winners almost conjured up an equalising goal, when David Deegan’s shot broke to Michael Ennis whose first-time effort flew back from the woodwork before substitute Ian Seery steered the rebound narrowly wide.

Far from deflated by this setrback, Ballinagore tacked on three unanswered points in as many minutes. In the 19th minute, a one-two between Eoin Miller and Michael Ennis ended with the latter player’s high shot dropping just over the crossbar. A lengthy solo run from Ennis then set up James Durkan and, when the Westmeath Under-16 star was fouled, Eoin Miller played a captain’s part by taking the responsibility to point the resulting tricky free. Soon, it was all square, with great work by David Deegan and Ger Linnane enabling Michael Ennis to fist over the equalising point. Try as they might in the ten minutes remaining (including injury time), neither team could add to their seven-point total. Ballinagore had undoubtedly the better chances of sealing the tie but opportunities falling to Eoin Miller and Michael Ennis (twice) were not availed of. The referee and his officials were set to tog in and report the result at 0-7 each, when local GAA officers pointed out that their documentation had stipulated extra-time in the event of a draw. Thankfully, it appears that all fans departing the grounds were intercepted and the sizeable crowd got ready to enjoy a further ten minutes-a-side.

It was inevitable that fatigue would have set in at this point and that scores would be at a premium, and so it transpired. In separate incidents, replacement goalkeeper Martin Linnane and midfielder Stuart Gavin both did well to prevent early Grange’ scores. The only score of the first period of extra-time came in the ninth minute when the very hard-working Eoin Miller set up James Durkan who kicked a great left-footed point under pressure from 25 metres. This left the score reading, Ballinagore 0-8 Grangenolvan 0-7, at the change of ends. Michael Ennis’ 40-metre free after five minutes of the second period tailed wide, but the same player fittingly got the insurance score three minutes later, availing of great work by the two Mercy Secondary School, Kilbeggan, pupils - David Deegan and James Durkan - and fisting over his sixth point. The referee played one minute added time, before the justifiably-ecstatic home support swarmed onto the pitch to acclaim their heroes.

And heroes they all were, the 17 Ballinagore men who brought a first-ever Leinster club title in any grade of football to Westmeath. As stated, Paddy Maloney’s first half injury time save was absolutely vital, with his side very much in danger of being overrun at the time. Enda McCann and Peter Deegan were heroic corner backs, while Louis Ennis recovered brilliantly from a torrid opening against the impressive Gary Brennan, and was arguably the best player on the pitch in extra-time. Peter Heraty was a powerful defensive pivot, while both Stuart Gavin and Eoin Miller were totally committed midfielders, the latter becoming more and more influential as the game progressed.

The winners’ attack found it hard to shake off a resolute visitors’ defence in the first half. However, David Deegan’s strong running was always to the fore and James Durkan’s extra-time point was a class score from a highly-promising player. For their magnificent full forward Michael Ennis, the victory rounded off an amazing week, less than seven days after starring at the other end of the pitch against no less a man than Steven McDonnell in Leinster’s 27th inter-provincial sucess.

Grangenolvan played their part in a memorable match. Left half back John Leahy was a classy defender, with Noel Lawler an imposing figure beside him in a generally tight-marking defence. Patrick Rowan and team captain Eamon Farrell both had their moments at centrefield, with Timmy Doyla and Gary Brennan proving to be lively attackers.

After the game, proud Ballinagore native and one of Westmeath’s Leinster Council delegates, Tony Robinson, had the honour of presenting the Leinster junior club trophy to a delighted winning captain, Eoin Miller. Now, their sights will be set on the All-Ireland series and, if they can play with the same skill and determination from the outset in the semi-final, they will be difficult to defeat.

Ballinagore: Paddy Maloney, Enda McCann, Louis Ennis, Peter Deegan, Martin Linnane, Peter Heraty, Pat Heduan, Stuart Gavin, Eoin Miller (capt) (0-1, from a free), Ciaran Carey, David Deegan, Sean Robinson, Ger Linnane, Michael Ennis (0-6, 0-3 from frees), James Durkan (0-2, 0-1 from a free). Subs: Ian Seery (for Maloney), Eddie Quinlan (for Seery).

Grangenolvan: James Miller, Kevin Peters, Bunny Murphy, Tom Molan, Paddy O’Brien, Noel Lawler, John Leahy, Patrick Rowan, Eamon Farrell (capt), Peter Nolan (0-1), Timmy Doyle (0-1, from a ‘45’), Mark Brennan, Daniel Nolan (0-1), Gary Brennan (0-4, 0-1 from a free), Lar Nolan. Subs: Martin Leahy (for M.Brennan), Martin Tobin (for D.Nolan).

Referee: Gabriel McKenny (Louth).

 

ċ
Unknown user,
17 Sep 2011, 02:31
ċ
Unknown user,
17 Sep 2011, 02:31
ċ
Unknown user,
17 Sep 2011, 02:31
ċ
Unknown user,
17 Sep 2011, 02:31
ċ
Unknown user,
17 Sep 2011, 02:32
ċ
Unknown user,
17 Sep 2011, 02:32
ċ
Unknown user,
17 Sep 2011, 02:32
Comments