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Saturday 18 November 2017

Ballyhogue deliver goods

Ballyhogue 1-18 Bannow-B/mitty 0-12

Alan Aherne at Innovate Wexford Park

Enda Wallace of Ballyhogue is chased by Mark Wallace and Nicky Doyle of Bannow-Ballymitty
Enda Wallace of Ballyhogue is chased by Mark Wallace and Nicky Doyle of Bannow-Ballymitty
Ballyhogue's Shane Doyle in action against Art Sweetman of Bannow-Ballymitty at Innovate Wexford Park

A powerful run of six points on the trot between the 37th and 44th minutes drove Ballyhogue on to a place in the Amber Springs/Ashdown Park Hotels Intermediate football championship quarter-finals on Saturday, but they still owed a great deal to netminder Myles Roche who made two blinding third quarter saves at a stage when Bannow-Ballymitty were very much in contention.

Ace placed-ball kicker Niall Harney was foiled twice by the agile number one, first in the 35th minute after a lovely flicked pick-up saw the attacker close in on goal before Roche threw his body at the kick at the expense of a '45.

Harney knocked that over - the second of three he managed to convert - to leave the minimum between them (0-9 to 0-8) after Ballyhogue had led by two at half-time.

Points from Enda Minogue and their own free-taking ace, Noel Roche, meant that the blue and whites were starting to gain momentum before Roche intervened again in the 39th minute.

This stop was even better, as Micheál Murphy's long ball found Mark Sinnott who handpassed to Harney in full flight. His strike was powerful but Roche was once more equal to the task, and there was no way back thereafter for Bannow-Ballymitty who failed to qualify in fifth spot after losing the last two county finals by a combined margin of just four points.

Indeed, Ballyhogue quickly and emphatically availed of those two let-offs and had that knockout spot practically in the bag by the start of the last quarter after points from Noel Roche (free and play), Shane Doyle and another Roche free pushed them 15-8 clear.

Although Harney hit back from a free and a '45, Roche matched the latter strike before a sweeping move saw Ballyhogue wrap it up emphatically in the 55th minute.

Syl Byrne and captain Eddie Galavan combined to create a side-footed goal for Shane Doyle who also contributed four points from play in a strong individual performance.

There was still time for Noel Roche to sell an audacious dummy and kick a superb point, and for Jim Bob Levingstone's goal to be disallowed as he fisted it to the net off his hand.

The fact that Mark Sinnott's added-time point was only Bannow-Ballymitty's third from play summed up their problems, and it goes without saying that the loss of Ben Brosnan to the scoring department has been immense.

Ballyhogue had moved 0-4 to 0-1 clear by the ninth minute, but they kicked seven first-half wides to a mere one from the opposition who must have been reasonably happy to only trail by 0-9 to 0-7 at the break as Harney kept them in touch.

The leaders' Enda Minogue shot low to the left and wide from a gilt-edged goal chance just ten seconds into the new half, but they drove on after Myles Roche's heroics and will now face St. Mary's (Rosslare) in the quarter-final.

Ballyhogue: Myles Roche; Tomás Moriarty, Graham Parker, Arthur Dunne; Conor Byrne (0-1), Richard Dunne (0-1), Hughie O'Neill; Shane Byrne, Syl Byrne; Nick Doyle (0-1), Shane Doyle (1-4), Enda Minogue (0-1); Dean Doyle, Eddie Galavan (capt.), Noel Roche (0-10, 6 frees, 2 '45s). Subs. - Seán Ring for D. Doyle (38), Jim Bob Levingstone for N. Doyle (43), Denis Leacy for S. Doyle (60+2).

Bannow-Ballymitty: Philip Murphy; John Staples, Patrick Fitzharris, John Mernagh; Nicky Doyle, Conor Furlong (0-1), Mark Wallace; Art Sweetman, Micheál Murphy (0-1); Conor Anglim, Niall Murphy, Richie Walsh; Niall Harney (0-9, 5 frees, 3 '45s), Mark Sinnott (0-1), Gary Morton. Subs. - David White for Morton, inj. (33), John O'Leary for Doyle (46), Alan Barden for N. Murphy (58).

Referee: Shane Quinn (Réalt na Mara).

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