Pressure on Ballyhogue
Duffry Rovers 0-15 Ballyhogue 1-11
Already qualified Duffry Rovers ground out a win over Ballyhogue to get right in the mix for a top-two finish in Group B of the Amber Springs/Ashdown Park Hotels Intermediate football championship in St. Patrick's Park on Sunday.
The Coolree club will need to beat St. Mary's (Maudlintown) in their final game to grab a preferential top-two quarter-final place but they look primed to do it after getting the better of a side that needed this win more than they did.
When the hunger dips after sewing up qualifying early it can have a detrimental impact on a team trying to prepare for the knockout stages, and the Duffry look intent on avoiding those problems with strong performances to see out the round-robin games.
On the other hand this was a disappointing outcome for Ballyhogue. They were a bit rudderless around the centre of the park without the influential Syl Byrne and their opponents did a lot of damage in the middle third of the field.
It was a game of distinct spells. The Duffry started like a steam train and sauntered into a 0-4 to nil lead after just seven minutes. At that stage they looked set for a big performance but, with Shane Doyle kicking three good scores, Ballyhogue registered the next six on the spin.
After a break of 21 minutes without a point, Robert Frayne halted the growing momentum with a close-range left-footer. However, Dean Doyle kicked over two lovely points before the break and they were good enough to give his side a 0-8 to 0-6 interval advantage.
Strangely, the Duffry started the second-half just like the first, with four consecutive points to take the lead, and just like the opening half there was a six-point swing before they scored again. This time Ballyhogue scored 1-2, the goal coming from a Noel Roche penalty after Eddie Galavan was fouled (1-10 to 0-10).
Yet they failed to maintain their momentum and with Johnny Flynn-O'Connor notching a trio of scores in the last ten minutes, the Duffry edged home by the minimum.
The loss means Ballyhogue must avoid defeat against Bannow-Ballymitty in their final group game to keep their title hopes alive.
Duffry Rovers: Bobby Larkin; Craig Casey, Gavin Watchorn, Feargal Kenny; Aidan Byrne (0-1), Paul Nolan, Liam Pender; Eamonn Doyle (0-1), Thomas Dunne; Johnny Flynn-O'Connor (0-5, 1 free), Tim Bowler (0-1 free), Robert Frayne (0-3); Cian Fitzhenry (0-3 frees), Donie Doyle, Stephen Watchorn. Subs. - Matty Flynn-O'Connor (0-1) for Bowler (30+3), Donie O'Connor for G. Watchorn (47), John Dunne for E. Doyle, temp. (53-57), Alan O'Neill for Fitzhenry (60).
Ballyhogue: Myles Roche; Tomás Moriarty, Graham Parker, Seán Rochford; James Parle, Richard Dunne, Arthur Dunne; Shane Byrne (0-1), Hughie O'Neill; Nick Doyle, Shane Doyle (0-3), Jim Bob Levingstone; Seán Ring, Eddie Galavan (capt., 0-1), Dean Doyle (0-5, 2 frees). Subs. - Conor Byrne for Parle (35), Noel Roche (1-0 pen.) for Ring (45), Shane Murphy for Rochford (48), Mick Condon for Levingstone (48), Enda Minogue (0-1) for Dunne (53).
Referee: Brendan Holohan (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown).