Draw in basement battle

Bannow-Ballymitty 0-10 St. Joseph's 0-10

Brendan Furlong

There was little relief for these two struggling sides as they could not be separated at the finish, with a late Shane Dempsey pointed free handing St. Joseph's a draw with Bannow-Ballymitty in this feisty Amber Springs/Ashdown Park Hotels Intermediate football championship Group B game in Taghmon on Sunday.

Both sides were locked at the bottom of the table, point-less, going into this game, and given the flow of this game it was easy to understand why.

Referee Justin Heffernan experienced a torrid opening half in maintaining control, with the verbals and off-the-ball incidents keeping him over-worked. However, the teams did settle down for the second-half, with 14-man Bannow-Ballymitty coming within 60 seconds of snatching what would have been a dramatic win.

They had trailed by four points at the break, and were down to 14 players with corner-back John Staples having been red carded after 23 minutes, while they lost influential centre-back Arthur Sweetman to a black card three minutes later.

The clash of the bottom failed to produce any real quality through the opening half, as players seemed more intent on settling their differences, with little in the way of flowing football.

The sides were deadlocked at 0-2 each at the end of the opening quarter, with both Niall Harney and Shane Dempsey sharing the points. St. Joseph's enjoyed the better of the second quarter, as their opponents tried to re-organise their defence, adding points through two Dempsey frees, Gary Byrne and Andy Moore to lead by 0-6 to 0-2 at the interval.

The quality of fare improved on the resumption with a Harney-inspired Bannow-Ballymitty battling to get back into contention. Harney kicked over three points along with efforts from Mark Sinnott and Conor Anglim to trail by 0-8 to 0-7 at the end of the third quarter, with Shane Dempsey kicking the opposition points, one from play and one free.

Two pointed Harney frees had Bannow-Ballymitty 0-9 to 0-8 in front with nine minutes remaining, but after Andy Moore and Harney had exchanged points it was left to Dempsey's late pointed frees to bring about a share of the spoils.

Bannow-Ballymitty: Jack Farragher; John Mernagh, Conor Furlong, John Staples; Nicky Doyle, Arthur Sweetman, Conor Anglim (0-1); Micheál Murphy, Mark Wallace; Richie Walsh, Patrick Fitzharris, Conor Neville; Niall Harney (0-8, 4 frees), Philip Murphy, Gary Morton. Subs. - Mark Sinnott (0-1) for Sweetman, black card (26), John O'Leary for Doyle, Niall Murphy for P. Murphy, David White for Neville.

St. Joseph's: Jamie McMahon; Seamus King, John Fenlon, Philip Leniston; Eddie Lawlor, Derek Bergin, Paddy Harnett; Deckie Downes, Andy Moore (0-2); Ashley Haughton, Jason Murphy, Paul Murphy; Dean Roche, Shane Dempsey (0-7, 5 frees, 1 '45), Gary Byrne (0-1). Subs. - Stephen Kearney for Byrne, Byrne for Kearney, Darren Dempsey for Roche.

Referee: Justin Heffernan (Blackwater).

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