McCORMACK GIVES A SHOW IN THE PARK
BALLINASLOE 3-2 WEST UNITED aet Connacht Cup Final 28th May 2017 eamonn deacy park
x3 McCormack x1 Power (pen), x1 Dooley
Ballinasloe Town are now the newly installed 2017 Connacht Cup Champions after winning an epic final in Galway United’s Eamonn Deacy Park against a determined West Utd on Sunday 28th May. Following on from the Shield Final on the same day it was a case of the Eoin McCormack show as the young striker scored a memorable hat trick to send Ballinasloe Town into raptures at the final whistle.
In excellent weather and in a resplendent Eamonn Deacy Park (formerly Terryland Park) in the sun both teams acquitted themselves excellently as an early Geoff Power penalty just on nine minutes gave the Galway league side a lead with Canavan being penalised for a trip inside the box and this made up for a glaring miss from a West forward after only 5 minutes of play, blazing over the bar from close in, but this appeared to galvanize a Town team who have been used to adversity this season winning games when they have fell behind before.
On 16 minutes Canavan who was clearly pumped up for this match crossed for McCormack and his header went wide and this was quickly followed up by another of his trademark crosses as this time a very forward Des Hope connected with his head but the effort lacked power. With Cullen also getting more into the game his speculative through ball almost had an energetic McCormack through on goal as the West keeper Connolly gratefully collected the ball safely.
Then on 26 minutes a Gary Canavan cross was glanced home superbly by McCormack who managed to evade his marker and he followed this up with another shortly afterwards as Mark Duffy fed him this time and he threaded the ball through West keeper Connolly’s legs to give the amber men another goal and the lead ten minutes later. As Ballinasloe gained more confidence the West backline creaked under pressure with the experienced Alan Murphy and Shane Keogh of United trying their utmost to gain a way forward as Maloney the Ballinasloe keeper this time put his body on the line to block another shot in a goalmouth scramble that saw him require treatment.
With West making a couple of changes at the midway point the game became a much more cagey affair in the second half missing the free flowing football of the first but there was no let up from McCormack once again as another chance gained from his agility and turning ability went over the bar and with Mark Duffy and Lynch providing good support it was a Cullen effort that went just over the bar from just outside the box. With more chances from McCormack forcing an excellent acrobatic save from Connolly it was Ballinasloe who looked like claiming their fourth Connacht title as the game entered its last few minutes as Egan came on for Clogher and once again McCormack wriggled free from his defender once again and seeing the keeper out of position his targeted effort was almost in as Connolly raced back to his goal line to clear in a last ditch attempt.
With West now throwing everything at the Ballinasloe defence it was Kenny who cleared away before a trademark long throw by Shane Maughan in the last minute of regulation time found the head of Dooley and his attempt somehow squirmed away from Maloney and into the net. Extra time beckoned and duly arrived as McCormack looked like he would hobble into the extra time period after receiving treatment from the Ballinasloe bench.
A team talk by manager Henry Loughnane and water on board for the next 20 minutes as extra time began and then a masterclass from a clearly unaffected McCormack who once again in the 94th minute scored as an excellent Egan delivery was met on the volley by McCormack to complete his hat trick as a Liam Lynch effort in extra time also clipped the bar and Ballinasloe attempted to shore up their position as Shane Treacy came on to replace a very tired Kenny who had ran all day. Then a bizarre moment just before the end of the half of extra time as the West keeper Connolly looked to have done serious damage to himself as he collapsed on the floor clutching his thigh after a goal kick but he recovered after treatment despite looking shook when all around him thought he would have to be subbed despite West not having a sub keeper.
Then the last period of extra time flew by as Moloney replaced Lynch and Ballinasloe managed to keep West out for the remaining five minutes and win the cup for the Roscommon and District league side in what was a highly enjoyable and emotional day for all involved with the club both on and off the pitch.
A massive thank you to all of our supporters who gave great encouragement to the team when the going got tough and a big shout out to our many sponsors who have given financial assistance with Gearoid Geraghty, Solictors Society St, Ballinasloe and to Kellers Main St, Ballinasloe for sponsoring our match day gear. We also want to thank main sponsors Joes Bar and Brodericks pharmacy for all their support as well as the many sponsors who have come on board this season.
Team – Maloney, Clogher, Woods, Hope, Canavan, Kenny, S.Duffy, M.Duffy, Cullen, Lynch, McCormack. Subs – Egan, Treacy, Moloney, Nee, Grehan, Keighrey, Lyons, Evason, Kelly,
EXTRA TIME BRINGS REWARD FOR LOUGHNANE'S TOWN
BALLAGHEDEREEN 1-2 BALLINASLOE TOWN Premier Division Cup Semi Final
x1 Egan (pen), x1 Clogher
This was an early noon kick off that saw Ballinasloe line out in an unusual 3-5-2 formation in a game that was preceded and endured sporadic downpours throughout the match, making it a bit of a lottery at times as clear cut chances were hard to come by. With Ballaghedereen appearing to raise their game whenever they play Ballinasloe these days it was no surprise as they brought the game to Ballinasloe in the early stages, but with the wet grass providing extra zip for the ball Ballinasloe were well able to contain anything that Balla threw at them as the game became a much more 50/50 affair as firstly a precise Egan free kick just evaded Lynch on 15 minutes when he was in a dangerous position and Moloneys effort from distance flew over the bar.
With Egan enjoying himself now his decisive run forced a free kick and as he delivered it Grehan just missed his header as the ball was cleared and Kenny picked up the ball and his drive bounced off the bar, more was to come as once again Grehan tried his luck from distance to no avail. Then a defensive error on 32 minutes from an otherwise impeccable Egan who made a sloppy pass across the edge of his own box and it was intercepted by a Balla forward who gleefully accepted the challenge lobbing Maloney who had strayed from his line to send the home support delirious and Balla into the lead.
Ballinasloe came back at them and as the heavens opened once again a flurry of activity from the Ballinasloe bench who en masse warmed up as the half time approached, more so to keep moving in the rain than the promise of coming on! The half ended with Ballinasloe having a few chances most notably Grehan who firstly shot over the bar and just before the whistle blew a shot from distance but it lacked power to trouble the Balla keeper.
So plenty of food for thought for manager Henry Loughnane but he resisted the temptation to make any changes, at the moment anyway. The half got underway once again and almost immediately Egan was in the thick of it once again as he and Woods worked well together to snuff out another foray forward by the Balla strike force and Hope then sent Egan away once again. This time after only 4 minutes of the half Egan tried his luck trying to lift the ball over a defender in the box and shouts of handball rung around the ground as the referee pointed to the spot and Egan making up for his sole error in the first half made it 1-1.
As the game progressed the expected onslaught from either side didn't arrive and Mark Duffy came on for Kenny on the hour as the rain arrived once again. With Lynch looking much sharper now his cross to Mark Duffy brought a good save from the newly arrived sub's snatched shot and then Cullen's through ball almost saw Shane Duffy grab a chance just inside the box as Balla cleared once again. Then another chance of sorts as Grehan challenged the keeper and as the keeper fumbled the loose ball the referee called a foul as the Balla custodian needed treatment from the forceful tackle. With Hope now hobbling another change as Canavan came on replacing the dependable centre half as Egan moved to the centre of defence and Balla came back into the game once more as Woods was in the right time and place as he headed off the line just before the full time whistle.
So extra time and Clogher now on for Grehan as Cullen went up front to add movement up front and it wasn't long before they combined well as Cullens intelligent pass to Lynch was cut out and the last few minutes ended without incident in the 1st period of extra time. Now it was the time for the fresher legs to rise above the conditions and the pace of the game as Mark Duffy went close from another Egan free kick and Duffy followed this up with another shot wide after good work from newly arrived Clogher. With Shane Duffy helping out at the back another chance this time for the hosts as Treacy needed his wits about him to bring the ball away as his lay off to Clogher saw Moloney get in on the act running into the box but the ball was cleared once again. Then with another penalty shoot out beckoning Clogher received the ball from just outside the box and as he ran and hit the ball it deflected of a defenders leg and looped into the goal to give Ballinasloe a 2-1 victory as they saw out the half and Egan and Cloghers goal scoring form seems to be gathering momentum at just the right time. It wasn't pretty nor free flowing but the substitutions really contributed to this win adding a fresh impetus when they arrived but Egan must take great credit for his performance despite his Faux Pas on the half hour.
Team - Maloney, Woods, Hope, Egan, Treacy, Kenny, S.Duffy, Moloney, Cullen, Grehan, Lynch. Subs - Clogher, M.Duffy, Canavan, Evason, Nee, Lyons
EGANS DAISY CUTTER WINS THE TIE
BALLINASLOE TOWN 1-0 CASTLEREA CELTIC Premier Division Cup Quarter Final
This game came quickly after Ballinasloe had effectively stopped Castlerea winning the league title for a second year in a row a few days previously in the corresponding league fixture, so it was a determined Castlerea who came with a mission to reach the Semi Finals of the Premier Division Cup.
From the very start it was very much end to end football as Cullen shot over the bar within a minute of the start and Maloney was called into action after 5 minutes to palm away a good strike on target, but this was the way it went for much of the early exchanges in the first half as each side traded half chances until Castlerea got a fortunate penalty as Nee was adjudged to be holding a Castlerea forward as he ran into the box, in fairness to the Castlerea player he stayed on his feet when others may have taken a tumble.
With this penalty awarded on 14 minutes it was the chance that Celtic needed to calm the nerves but as it was blazed wide Ballinasloe renewed their efforts to give themselves a break and this they almost did on 20 minutes as an Eoin McCormack shot bobbled off the post and his follow up shot a minute later after good work from Canavan and Mark Duffy went over the bar as it looked to be a frustrating night for the young Ballinasloe forward.
At the other end of the pitch Maloney was quicker to the ball to clear a visitor’s attack as once again Castlerea looked dangerous when shooting over the bar from close in and as the half meandered to its conclusion a couple of lengthy stoppages as first a Castlerea player needed treatment and Ballinasloe defender Joe Woods received attention for a shoulder injury.
Half time and lots to play for as Shane Treacy came on for David Nee and he was quickly into the thick of the action as he launched himself into a challenge winning possession as Mark Duffy moved forward directing those before him to give more options for the pass and his lay off to McCormack almost brought dividends as his shot was blocked as he got the return pass. Then Maloney was also called upon shortly into the half as his stretching tip over the bar made sure the score remained a 0-0.
Then this time a great combination as Egan, Cullen and Duffy all combined in a wonderful passing move that had Castlerea almost breached as a McCormack shot was just about held by the Castlerea keeper and the forward once again almost set up Lynch as his cross just eluded Lynch’s head as the striker rushed forward as Castlerea collectively sighed with relief. Yet another chance as Clogher and Lynch this time combined and another effort shaved the post, then the moment of breakthrough when Egan got forward down Ballinasloe’s left and as no challenge came in his low drive went through a crowded box and across the unsighted keeper who could only look on in disbelief as the ball had curled just inside his far right post and was caught in the ‘onion bag!
One up after 70 minutes and this gave Ballinasloe confidence as Cullen and McCormack played the ball between them and once again McCormack's luck was out on the night as he shot wide. Not that it was all Ballinasloe as Castlerea did rally and Joe Woods was on hand to block another shot that was hit with venom and bounced away to safety as another break away by Hope set up Cullen whose well struck shot hit the goalkeepers right hand side post to deny the Town once again on a night that could have been a frustrating one had Egan not scored earlier.
With the game entering its last ten minutes it was Castlerea who gave it their all as Hope was called into action once again and Treacy committed a foul to stop Celtic moving forward as the free kick that followed went wide. This was a game that was effectively over as it entered its last few seconds as Ballinasloe’s rear guard maintained control as the referee blew to end the game without adding any injury time much to the annoyance of the visitors.
Another win which was a strong defensive performance and but for the woodwork could have ended on a more emphatic note. It wasn’t ‘silky’ football but defensively Ballinasloe built from the back with a lot of their attacking intent starting in their own half. With them going into the semi final in their next match it will be interesting to see if they can begin to express themselves on the pitch and get that bit of luck that their play has warranted as they hit the business end of the season.
Maloney, Egan, Woods, Hope, Nee, M.Duffy, Clogher, Cullen, Canavan, Lynch, McCormack. Subs Kelly, Grehan, Moloney, Evason, Lyons
BALLINASLOE LATE GOALS GATE CRASH CASTLEREA’S PARTY
CASTLEREA 1-2 BALLINASLOE TOWN rdfl premier league
x1 Lynch, x1 Clogher
This was a game that depending on its result could provide so many permutations as to where the RDFL League Title would be resting for the season. A Castlerea win would see them crowned Champions, a draw would see their local Derby rivals Ballymoe win the league if they beat Moore United in their corresponding fixture down the road and any slip up on their behalf would either see Ballinasloe or Castlerea have a chance of an outright win or the promise of a play off between them themselves.
Before kick off a downpour added moisture to the pitch to give an extra zip to the ball and Castlerea were welcomed onto the pitch by a large crowd and they set about their business with gusto as they moved the ball out wide and their number 7 had a super chance after only 2 minutes narrowly shooting wide of Maloney’s post. Another swift attack and this time it was Maloney’s safe hands that saved the ball as Joe Woods cut out another move forward.
Ballinasloe were finding the going tough now as another chance blazed over Maloney’s bar from a Castlerea midfielder, this was punctuated by Lynch going very close after Canavan’s cross was hit over the bar from close in on 9 minutes and another chance for the visitors as this time Grehan found his charge through the box open up for him but as the ball bobbled into the net the referee blew up for a handball against the Town forward.
The half continued to the break with Castlerea enjoying the lion’s share of possession and half chances as Egan playing as centre half tried to build from the back after the defence had been put under almost constant pressure from a pressing Castlerea advance guard. The home side would have been disappointed going into the turn-around though to have nothing to show for their endeavours and exertions for 45 minutes.
Half time now and a change as Evason replaced John Moloney and he wasn’t long in the action after 5 minutes before suffering a high boot to the head which surprisingly the referee deemed a free in to Castlerea. And it was shortly after this on 55 minutes that a Castlerea lob into the danger zone saw Woods shepherding the ball to Maloney’s penalty area and before the ball reached the box or Maloneys hands Ronan Curran of Castlerea nipped in to nick the ball away from the pair and pass it into an empty net as the home crowd roared encouragement and celebrated as though they had won the tie and the title and on the strength of play they had certainly deserved it so far. This unsettled Ballinasloe and more defensive wobbles followed as they tried to steady the ship as another Castlerea shot went narrowly wide on 62 minutes. And they had Maloney to thank for keeping it at 1 nil as he made an instinctive save from a diving header making up for the defensive error earlier.
This was now a crucial period of the game as the next goal would be decisive you felt as Mark Duffy started to exert his influence by stretching every sinew to win an unwinnable ball and his lay off to Lynch who was now beginning to boss his marker was bringing dividends as his headed lay off found Grehan, but he was just unable to get a head on the ball as it flew wide. Then another challenge as Evason really putting his body on the line was forced off the pitch before returning to the fray after another boot to the face, this time you felt a more deliberate act.
Ten minutes left now and still Castlerea were Champions elect despite Ballinasloe coming strongly back into the game as Nee this time forced the ball forward and Cullen impishly attempted to weave his way into the box only to be blocked off as Clogher picked up the ball in a more advanced position but his pass was cleared to send Castlerea away to relieve the pressure once again. Then a moment of inspiration as another forward attack from Ballinasloe as Canavan, Duffy and Cullen all combined well and as the ball was played out to Lynch wide on the right of the Castlerea box his sublime chip to the far corner flummoxed the keeper and nestled in the back of the net on 83 minutes as Castlerea collectively groaned and it got much worse for them as they saw their title aspirations in deep disarray as this time Evason was put through and he combatively raced through the centre of the box surrounded by three defenders managing to win a corner in the last 5 minutes and from this corner Cormac Clogher went sliding into the six yard box and kneed the ball home to make it 2-1 on 86 minutes breaking Castlerea hearts and giving Ballymoe fans who still had a good 10 minutes left to play in their game a belief that this was going to be their year and so it was confirmed as they won their match 1-0 beating Moore United in the process who themselves had gone close on a number of occasions during the game.
In many ways a disappointing end to the League campaign after only being beaten once all season but with a Connacht Cup final coming up soon and the Divisional cup too who knows what the season will bring, but it was also a good win going into a major final as a somewhat changed side will have gained great confidence after beating an in form Castlerea side who today met a very in form Ballinasloe side who took a while to get going.
Team- Maloney, clogher, woods, egan, canavan, moloney, cullen, m.duffy, nee, grehan, lynch. Subs evason, kelly, lyons.
LYNCH HEADER GIVES THE TOWN A FINAL DATE
St Bernards 0-1 Ballinasloe Town
x1 Liam Lynch (107 minutes)
Man Of The Match – Captain Des Hope’s overall excellent display was a lesson in the art of defending for a centre half, just about shaded from Kenneth Kenny whose performance was full of guile and determination.
Cautions - eoin mccormack (yellow)
Another Connacht Final was booked at Galway Champions St Bernards O’Donohue Park in glorious sunshine. With a possible final against FAI Junior Cup semi finalists Boyle Celtic or West United of Galway on offer there was plenty of incentive to win. The first meaningful chance came on 14 minutes for the visitors as Cullen’s intelligent pass found Canavan whose pass to McCormack found him inexplicably shoot wide from 8 yards out as the Ballinasloe support looked on in dismay as a gilt edged chance was missed. Ballinasloe’s keeper was soon in action on 20 minutes as St Bernard’s Eoghan Roche chased down a ball and his shot squirmed wide as Maloney threw his body smothering the chance and it agonizingly flew across the box with no one to touch it home and it was cleared by a grateful Cullen.
With Eoghan Roche and Jason Finn combining well and representing St Bernards best hope of a breakthrough it was left to Ballinasloe’s centre half Des Hope to intervene once again as he cleared the Town’s lines. With the sun beating down it was excellent refereeing by the Sligo official as he gave a water break when there was an interruption in play as both teams gratefully accepted the offer. Then an excellent move that almost brought dividends for Ballinasloe as another set piece from Shane Duffy was flicked on and centre back Martie Finn kept the ball out with a combination of his head and the underside off the bar as it bounced to safety. Plenty of more chances for Ballinasloe as both Woods and Cullen went close as the half ended.
So to the second half and this was a much more subdued affair as both sides became more cautious as Johnathon Maloney replaced Grehan on 65 minutes and his chance on 75 minutes flew over the bar after good work from Mark Duffy. With time running out for both sides and an extra 20 minutes of extra time in the withering heat to look forward to St Bernards manager Derek Ward brought on Shane King for Adrian Roche on 86 minutes and his introduction gave extra zip to the St Bernards attack with Des Hope having a running battle with the substitute for the rest of the match. Then a heart in the mouth moment in the dying seconds for the visitors as an Eoghan Roche shot smashed into Ballinasloe winger Maloney’s body on the edge of the box and a big claim for hand ball and a penalty which the referee waived away as the referee signalled the end of normal time and extra time. St Bernard’s players seemed to be suffering more from cramp than their Ballinasloe counterparts as a couple of more lengthy stoppages allowed more water to be taken on board.
Another change as St Bernard’s Jamie Finn who had an excellent game was replaced by Tom Forde and Cormac Clogher moved to right midfield to add extra impetus to the Ballinasloe attack. And so into the second period of extra time as more changes with experienced players David Nee and Gary Egan coming on for Ballinasloe to freshen up the team. With the game to-ing and froing now with chances from both sides, but still no breakthrough, another change as Liam Lynch came on with 6 minutes remaining and his introduction brought immediate dividends as Clogher lofted in a cross from out wide right and his ball found Lynch loitering with intent on the back post as he lost his marker and headed in from 2 yards out to win the game for Ballinasloe and send the visiting supporters into a frenzy of celebration.
St Bernards Team - 1.denis farragher, 2. jamie finn, 20.martie finn, 4.darren finn, 5.brian Collins, 6.donnell finn, 7.adrian roche (sub 86m shane king), 16.colin treacy, 9.eoghan roche (sub 108m dillon murphy), 10.johnathon keane (sub 109m kevin ruane), 11.jason finn. Subs - 12.kevin ruane, 13.shane king, 14.tom forde, 15.dillon murphy, 17.chris dunne, 18.diarmuid healy. Manager – derek ward
Ballinasloe Team - 1.padraigh Maloney, 2.cormac clogher, 3.gary canavan (sub 104m liam lynch), 4.joe woods, 5.des hope (c), 6.kenneth Kenny (sub 100m david nee),7.shane duffy (sub 100m gary egan), 8.mark duffy, 9.david grehan (sub 65m Johnathon Maloney), 10.eoin mccormack, 11.david Cullen. Subs - 12.gary egan, 13.johnathon moloney, 14.david nee, 15.liam lynch, 16.patric evason, 17.joby Kelly, 18.mike lyons. Manager – henry loughnane
(Sligo) referee owen mcloughlin, linesmen - phillip mcloughlin, stephen fallon
PENALTY EXIT AGAINST HARPS
LOUGH HARPS 2-2 BALLINASLOE TOWN rdfl Challenge Cup
x1 Cullen, x1 Grehan
(Ballinasloe lose 4-3 on penalties a.e.t )
This was a game that got away from Ballinasloe who despite numerous chances just couldn’t get the better of a tenacious performance from their hosts in Ballinlough. As early as the 4th minute a Mark Duffy double chance came to nought as his shots were both blocked in the penalty box and a Gary Egan free was safely caught by the Harps custodian as the early exchanges were going Ballinasloe’s way. Another chance once again as a recalled Liam Lynch took a side swipe at a ball that spun off his boot and to safety as the visitors found it tough to break down an opponent who had set up their stall to soak up pressure from the premier division team.
Then a break away on 16 minutes that caught Ballinasloe cold as a Lough Harps chance flashed across the box and Padraigh Maloney bravely grabbed the ball with both hands to snuff out any danger. This chance apart it was only a matter of time before the constant pressure was going to bring a reward and it was so on 25 minutes as Cullen got the ball from a goalmouth melee and controlled it, twisted this way and then that and as is his penchant for scoring these days he buried it into the net to take the lead for his team. This now led to a deluge of chances as it was Lynch this time who just couldn’t control the ball as his header from close in zipped wide and more wide efforts from Egan and Cullen as Kenneth Kenny went into a challenge and got a stern talking to from the referee for a hard tackle as the half ended.
Second half and an early chance for Ballinasloe as Canavan and Cullen interchanged the ball as Shane Duffy found Clogher and Kenny in advanced positions but the ball was cleared and as the Ballinalsoe defence hesitated in clearing the Lough Harps number 9 was quicker to the ball in the scramble to clear and he raced onto the ball and drove it into the net to give parity to the home side after only 5 minutes of the second half. An immediate change this time as Evason was brought on as the side was rejigged and it wasn’t long before he was in the thick of the action with a sliding tackle to win possession in midfield as another chance fell to Des Hope in an advanced position but his weak effort was easily cut out off the line as Ballinasloe knew this game was now becoming a bit of a slog in the park as Lough Harps contrived another break away chance as their number 9 once again went close.
It was now Ballinasloe with the majority of possession as more chances went begging as an Evason shot came off a defender in the box, shouts of penalty which the referee ignored and his follow up blast was also handled by the same defender but this time outside of the box and the referee gave a free kick much to the annoyance of the Ballinasloe management and team alike. The free from Egan went over as another change this time as Grehan entered the fray for Kenny. The full time had ended in deadlock as Ballinasloe had been wasteful in front of goal and if it wasn’t for a superb one handed Maloney save from a long range effort from the Lough Harps number 8 they would have been behind.
But it was that man Grehan who seems to chip in with a goal when its needed, who found the net in extra time with his head from another Ballinasloe cross to make it 2-1 heading into the last 5 minutes to seemingly win an ugly game of football, but in the dying moments as long punt upfield and a combination of a Joe Woods motion with his shoulder, a referee who was 40 yards away and a clever enough Lough Harps forward who collapsed to the ground as if poleaxed and won the penalty which was duly scored to send this match to the dreaded penalties where they lost 4-3 and exited the League cup on a disappointing day.
Rather than give an account of the penalties this game should have really been won as they had 24 chances in this match to score and 10 on target with the guts of possession whilst their hardy opponents had 9 shots and 4 on target. We wish Lough Harps all the best in their future endeavours.
Team Maloney, clogher, woods, hope, egan, s.duffy, Cullen, Kenny, canavan, m.duffy, lynch. - subs evason, grehan, kelly, lyons.
WOODWORK & KEEPER KEEP BALLINASLOE OUT
BALLINASLOE 1-1 BALLYMOE rdfl
This was really a must win for Ballinasloe as they attempted to win the league in manager Loughnane's first season in charge but a combination of momentary lapses of concentration, Ballymoe's wastefulness in front of goal, the woodwork and an outstanding keeper display kept the score at 1-1. With Joe Woods taking his chance with an expertly driven corner from Shane Duffy on 4 minutes it really was a case of when Ballinasloe were going to score again as they took the initiative in the early stages of this match. With McCormack having a shot saved after 6 minutes it looked like it was going to be a long night for the Ballymoe defence as a David Grehan chance was blazed over the bar on 19 minutes and straight away another free kick from Shane Duffy sailed safely into the Ballymoe's keepers arms from 25 yards out. Not that it was all one way traffic as a Woods slip almost let Ballymoe in but as in most double acts it was his partner Hope who came to his assistance clearing upfield. As the ball was passed out wide to Canavan his pass found Grehan and his lay off to Cullen saw the attacking midfielder shoot wide. This was a very entertaining match, if you were a Ballinasloe supporter that is, as another chance this time from Kenny as he won possession and moved forward feeding Shane Duffy whose shot was saved once again by the Ballymoe goalie. Then the game changer moment as McCormack gave away a free kick about 10 yards out from the edge of Maloneys box and defender Clogher, lined up in the wall, moved his hand to protect his face from a well hit drive and was penalised for handball and from the resultant penalty Maloney dived to his right as the ball was driven down the middle by Ballymoes Number 11 to restore parity on 39 minutes. As Ballymoe gained confidence from this goal it was Ballymoe who were now in the ascendancy as the half time whistle blew.
Game on and a substitution as the unfortunate Clogher was replaced by Gary Egan to give a more attacking option down the right. Ballymoe started well as in a few minutes Maloney was out charging down a Ballymoe ball into the box as he snuffed out a goalscoring chance and then Kenny as he has done for most of this season just about getting a foot in to spoil another effort. McCormack then had an effort well saved once again as Ballinasloe attempted to go in front once again, but they were leaving gaps at the back as they searched for another goal. With Mark Duffy working well in tandem with Kenneth Kenny, once again it was Kenny's excellent feint that saw him bypass two players as his pass was picked up by Cullen and his cross into the box flew to safety. Once again Ballymoe retaliated and came forward in numbers this time as a defensive mix up between Egan and Woods almost saw reward as the Ballymoe forward shot wide when he should have really done better. Ballymoe were now really playing well and it needed Ballinasloe to respond and they did in almost emphatic style on 65 minutes as a Des Hope lay off found Kenny from 30 yards out and his thundering shot crashed off the underside of the bar and bounced the wrong side of the line despite appeals to the contrary and Ballymoe cleared their lines.
Another chance as Ballymoe shot wide once again from another counter attack and in their own counter attack Grehan fired over the bar from his misplaced header, then after some good play from Mark Duffy and Eoin McCormack Cullen picked up the ball and his drive from 25 yards out smashed off the post as Ballymoe launched another attack as Egan launched himself forward to snuff out another chance with a defensive tackle and as Ballinasloe lost possession once again a Des Hope header flew narrowly wide of his own post to give the watching crowd a fright. Then another moment as Cullen lost and won possession in quick succession as he went past two more players but his pass wasn't picked up on and the chance was gone as Ballymoe moved forward once again and Ballinasloe's normally tight defence opened up and their number 8 scuffed his shot wide when it would have probably won the match. One last chance for the hosts, this time as a Shane Duffy effort was blocked in the box as the match entered the last few minutes, as the game came to its ultimate conclusion with the referees whistle signalling full time. This gave the visitors the more satisfying result that will certainly help other teams around the top of the league but its never really over until its over.
maloney, clogher, hope, woods, canavan, s.duffy, cullen, kenny, m.duffy, grehan, mccormack. Subs - egan, moloney, nee, evason, treacy, lyons
EGAN ROCKET KEEPS TOWN IN HUNT
BALLINASLOE TOWN 3-0 SKYVALLEY ROVERS rdfl
x1 Cullen, x1 Grehan, x1 Egan
Let's be in no doubt this win was another valuable three points trying to reclaim Ballinasloe’s Roscommon & District League crown but with tougher games coming up over the next few weeks The Town will have to ‘up the ante’ if they want to put last season behind them.
With an unchanged side going into this match it was business as usual in the 3rd minute as a Grehan pass across the box found Cullen in space to slot home to make it one nil and bring Skyvalley’s nightmares of their 8-1 home defeat against the same opposition from earlier in the season to the fore. Not that it was all Ballinasloe as Skyvalley responded with a couple of off target shots immediately after but possession wise it was all Ballinasloe who made the running as firstly Cullen shot wide from an intelligent cross from McCormack and then a Grehan header went over from close in after excellent work from Mark Duffy. With McCormack also having a well struck free kick on 10 minutes that went straight into the Rovers keeper’s midriff it was the home sides wayward passing that was causing as much trouble for the The Town than their visitors exertions.
In a stuttering start, despite the early goal, it was Des Hope who was keeping Rovers lone energetic forward quiet when needed at the back as at the other end a Mark Duffy goal was disallowed for a nudge on the keeper. With Hope also moving forward, his lay off to Grehan saw the forward hit over the bar as the game hadn’t reached any sort of heights and was turning into a lacklustre affair punctuated by a foul on McCormack which brought a yellow for the Rovers number 11 from the official. As Clogher and Canavan momentarily switched defensive sides Ballinasloe had plenty of possession but very little penetration as they resorted to pot shots from distance with Kenny blazing over from 30 yards out. Then on 37 minutes, at last a move that showed what Ballinasloe are capable of, as a Canavan corner found Grehan and as the ball was whipped in a Skyvalley defender crashed the ball off his own bar and as the ball fell invitingly for Grehan his shot flew well over, but this respite was only momentary as a minute later Cullen was moving forward and as he was blocked the ball was moved forward into the box and the combative Grehan stormed through a host of defenders and tried his luck, this time the shot was parried, he hit it again and this time the post and as it fell for him again for the third time he finished to give a two goal cushion going into the much needed break.
A couple of changes now as Ballinasloe took to the field with Gary Egan replacing Canavan and Shane Treacy returning from long term injury coming on for Kenny to add a bit more steel to the midfield, which he did within a minute as his forceful challenge on a Skyvalley player was met with a caution. With Egan providing fresh impetus on the left his run on 50 minutes which started at the edge of his own box saw him run the length of the field with the ball, gratefully accepting a one two flick back from McCormack, and as he got to the edge of the Rovers box he unleashed a powerful drive across the goal that nestled into the right hand side of the net to put this game to bed and settle Ballinasloe for the rest of the game.
More attacking football as Cullen found Shane Duffy whose cross went to safety when perhaps he should have gone for goal and as Cullen started to find his range his interchange with Egan saw the Rovers goalie have to be quick to charge down Egan’s effort who was getting forward more and more as the half wore on. With Shane Duffy having a pop on 65 minutes this was really one way traffic now as a Hope chance saw the Rovers keeper tip the ball over the bar and despite Rovers lone forward trying to stretch the back line of Woods and Hope, it was substitute Moloney (on for McCormack) whose movement now tested the Rovers backline as this time Mark Duffy kept the pressure on with a pass into the box which was cleared and as it was returned a header from Clogher went over. Then a moment of rare pressure as Cotton (getting his first run replacing Des Hope) stepped into the breach as he tackled and won possession just outside the Ballinasloe box passing to Evason (on for Clogher) whose instinctive pass found Moloney to build once again.
With the match entering its end game another couple of chances to extend the score line as a Mark Duffy shot from 30 yards was collected by the grateful Rovers keeper whom had an excellent game despite the 3 nil score and then at the death Joe Woods found himself with the ball at his feet inside the six yard box and he elected for power rather than accuracy and it sailed inexplicably over the bar as the referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the match, another three points for the Loughnane/Flanagan managerial team and another confidence boosting win that will see tougher obstacles in the form of second placed Ballymoe at home in the league and Galway champions St Bernards away in their mountain top venue! in the TP Brennan Connacht Cup Semi Final.
Team- Maloney, Clogher, Woods, Hope, Canavan, M.Duffy, Cullen, Kenny, S.Duffy, Grehan, McCormack. Subs Egan, Treacy, Moloney, Cotton, Evason, Kelly, Lynch, Nee.
BALLINASLOE YOUNGSTERS POWER PAST RANGERS
Connacht Cup Quarter Final (Curragh Grounds, Ballinasloe)
Sunday 16th April 2017
Ballinasloe Town AFC 4-0 Manor Hamilton Rangers
’13 McCormack (pen), ’33 Woods, ’65 McCormack, ’72 McCormack
This was a day when youth overcame experience as a sublime Eoin McCormack hat trick and an imperious performance at the back from Joe Woods who also chipped in with a goal made the visit of Sligo Premier leaguers look like child’s play for large parts of this game. Early indications suggested this was going to be a tighter affair than transpired as an excellent chance by the visitors on 7 minutes went over the bar when composure from the misfiring Rangers captain Alan Hickey was called for. With Ballinasloe’s Kenny now biting into tackles and getting a talking to by the match official it was an indication to the watching crowd that the hosts were fired up and ready for the challenge today.
This time it was Ballinasloe’s turn to fire an opening salvo as a sweeping move on 13 minutes saw left back Canavan go on one of his many forays on the left wing and his cross saw the imposing Grehan clumsily taken down in the box to give Ballinasloe the chance to put one foot into the Semi Final and this they did as a cool McCormack finish sent Rangers custodian Scanlon the wrong way. A timely response was needed as this time Rangers defender McDonald’s whipped in ball brought a finger tips save from Ballinasloe keeper Maloney after good approach play from Rangers duo Hickey and Walsh as they fought to get back into the game, but as Ballinasloe have shown this season they can soak up pressure when needed and hit back as a McCormack free kick on 33 minutes was nodded in by a diving Joe Woods who had come forward from defensive duties to make it 2 nil as the game sauntered to the half time break.
No changes at half time from either side and an instant response was required to get back into this game but it was once again the hosts who brought the game to the visitors as another McCormack free kick executed with precision saw it fired into the bottom right hand side of the post to make it 3-0 on 65 minutes and it didn’t get much better for the Sligo Premier side as Rangers Callinan lost possession in midfield and whilst waiting for a whistle that never came McCormack running forward chipped the ball over a despairing Scanlon to complete the rout, grab his hat trick and Ballinasloe’s fourth with 20 minutes still left to play as Ballinasloe won at a canter as their blend of experience and youth won the day.
Match Officials- Ciaran O’Reilly, Conor Fitzgibbon, David Dully
Ballinasloe team - P.Maloney, C.Clogher (84m Treacy), G.Canavan, J.Woods, D.Hope (c) (73m Egan), K.Kenny (87m Lynch), S.Duffy, M.Duffy (82m Nee), D.Grehan (70m Maloney), E.McCormack, D.Cullen. Subs G.Egan, D.Nee, J.Moloney, L.Lynch, S.Treacy, N.Cotton, M.Lyons, J.Kelly, P.Evason
Manor Hamilton Rangers – P.Scanlon, A.McDonald (73m A.Hickey), P.Clancy (69m Kavanagh), T.McDonald, P.Lonican, A.Croal (60m Callinan), B.McDonald, A.Hickey (c), S.Ryder (73m Connolly), N.Walsh, P.Wolfe. Subs C.Callinan, A.Connolly, M.Kavanagh, A.Giligan, G.Hickey, H.Aajip, D.Cummins
MALONEY PENALTY HERO ONCE AGAIN
BALLINASLOE TOWN 'A' 1-1 CORRIB CELTIC tp brennan connacht cup (last 16)
win on penalties a.e.t. 4-2
This was a hard fought game that saw last seasons semi final keeper Padraigh Maloney repeat his heroics in the dreaded penalty shoot out as he saved two of Corrib Celtics penalties to pave the way for Ballinalsoe Town to move into the quarter final draw. With Ballinasloe coming into this game full of confidence they faced wily Galway opponents who had easily dispatched Castlerea Celtic in the previous round and the games first half was a stoic encounter with plenty of tough tackling with most of the shouting coming from the crowd as the players put their blood, sweat and tears into an engrossing affair .
With Ballinasloe missing a chance early on in the game it was another good attack on 15 minutes that saw McCormack fire over from a Canavan free as Corrib Celtic began to found their stride and started to apply pressure to the home sides goal as Maloney fisted the ball away to safety as Shane Duffy picked up the ball to bring the ball away, his pass to McCormack then saw Cullen over run the ball as he was unlucky not to get on the end of this expansive move which could have paid dividends if it came off. With Grehan struggling with an injury on 24 minutes he was replaced with Gary Egan as the team was reorganised to accommodate a more defensive player as the game entered a scrappy phase as once again Maloney parried away a dangerous cross from the Celtic number 7 and as it came back across the edge of the box a shot was fired in and Kenny was there to kick it off the line to keep the scores level.
With Cullen fouled and a few more battles going on around the pitch it was a really enthralling game for the neutral despite the lack of clear cut.chances as an Egan free found Des Hope whose weak header saw the Corrib keeper spill the ball and recover just in time to clutch the ball close to his chest. With Woods now moving forward his header was also held as McCormack and Cullen were now finding their forays forward being hampered by the visitors midfield who were working hard to quell Ballinasloes attacking edge. Another Egan forward run as he found Clogher and his cross flashed across the box with no one on the end of it. The half concluded with a lengthy stoppage as Canavan was chopped down as he made one of his runs on the wing and the fans crowded into the new clubhouse for half time refreshments with the score at 0-0.
As the game kicked off in a cooling breeze both sides set about continuing where they left off and it was no surprise as an early corner saw Woods head over as the match became a physical game once again this time as McCormack saw his run into the box impeded from behind and his shot went agonizingly wide, then when we thought this was going to continue Cullen controlled the ball as the Corrib keeper hesitated in coming to collect it and his perfect pass to Mark Duffy saw him slide in from the middle of the penalty box and he put the ball away on 54 minutes to much celebration from the expectant crowd. Game on.
This set up a period of Ballinasloe taking control of the game now as they sensed another goal was on offer as a Hope header and a Cullen effort both went wide in quick succession. Indeed if it wasn't for an over zealous refs assistant then McCormacks chance that hit the post could have brought more reward as Corrib Celtic then came more into the game as they found success down their left wing winning a succession of free kicks and it was from one of these that they capitalised on as the ball into the box wasn't dealt with and it was forced in from just outside the six yard box to give parity to the visitors at 1-1 on 79 minutes. Game on........again!
More good play from Ballinasloe as Mark Duffy shot wide and then from an Egan free the same striker fired over the bar as the game entered injury time and it was Corrib Celtic who fashioned the last chance that should really have won them the game but as the ball was whipped across the box Maloney somehow managed to tip the ball away as a Corrib forward headed an inch wide of the post after failing to get enough purchase on the ball due to the Ballinasloe keepers fingertips!
Extra time now and more reorganisation from both teams as players went down with cramp and as the game started again it really was nerve wracking stuff as this time a Mark Duffy run into the box was brought to an abrupt halt as he was taken down on the edge of the box and his genuine appeal for a penalty was waived away. The second half of extra time also brought more stalemate as both sides found it hard to break each other down and it was left to penalties to sort out the cup quarter finalists.
With McCormack first up he finished his effort low down to the left with the Corrib keeper at least two yards of his line before the kick was taken, 1 nil to the Town, Corrib Celtic replied as Maloney's despairing dive almost kept it out. Next up Egan whose powerful drive flew past the keeper once again flying forward off his line before the kick was taken 2-1. Then a moment of pure joy as Maloney showing no sign of nerves kept his and blocked the next penalty giving Woods the young defender a chance to put daylight between the two teams and he did (3-1) despite more goal line movement from the Corrib Celtic keeper. Then Corrib brought the game back to 3-2 as Maloney got close once again and it was left to the experienced Mark Duffy to seal the win with an excellent strike which bypassed the advanced Corrib keeper
team - maloney, clogher, woods, hope, canavan, s.duffy, kenny, cullen, m.duffy, mccormack, grehan. subs egan, nee, evason, keighrey, lynch, kelly
OWN GOAL GETS THE GOALFEST ROLLING
BALLINASLOE TOWN 'A' 5-0 ST JOHNS ATHLETIC rdfl premier
o.g, m.duffy, cullen, lynch, hope.
This game represented another chance for Ballinasloe to catch up with the league leaders and they did it with another impressive performance that may not have yielded the goal avalanche of last week but was certainly in no way less emphatic. From early on the result was never really in doubt and that is not being disrespectful to the visitors but the own goal that set the Town on their way was from a Canavan set piece that once again caused mayhem in the St John's box and this set them up for the rest of the match.
With Cullen in good form once again his driving runs from midfield were giving St Johns all sorts of problems as another Ballinasloe attack saw a goal mouth scramble which had Woods shoot over the bar from close in and with Clogher starting to get forward his lay off to Mark Duffy set up Cullen and he shot wide as the forward movement and momentum continued for the home side.
This time Egan on 24 minutes moved up the park and his up and under pass to Canavan saw the St Johns keeper fumble the ball away and it was hacked to safety to give momentary relief to the visiting side. Then a Grehan lob which went just over the bar was a precursor for what was to come as Cullen found Mark Duffy and he finished to give the home side a deserved 2 nil lead on 34 minutes.
With the attacks still coming St John's were attempting damage limitation now as they found any attacking intent floundered on the rock that is defensive duo Des Hope and Joe Woods who once again looked impervious in this league campaign. Indeed this was also Cormac Cloghers best game as he found the time on numerous occasions to venture forward as he found his was open on his wing and another cross from him found Mark Duffy once again as his shot was parried away to keep the score at 2 nil as the half came to an end but not before Egan and Canavan both went close again with set pieces.
As the second half begun St Johns found a way through but only for an alert Maloney to clear his lines as Kenny moved the ball forward finding Grehan whose run was intuitive and he found Cullen who made it 3-0 after 53 minutes giving the keeper no chance. With Lynch now on for a tiring Grehan he shortly made it 4-0 with a headed goal from close in at the 'astro end' in the 65th minute to take an unassailable lead into the last 25 minutes. Shortly after Lynch had another chance but his shot was deflected to safety much to the visitors relief as the movement from the Town was relentless as Joby Kelly now getting in on the act firstly made an excellent defensive tackle to take the ball away from the St Johns number 9 on one of their rare excursions forward and his lay off to Duffy set up another breach as Cullen shot just over.
More attacking play as Evason and Egan combined and another Lynch header was collected and kicked out and with Clogher picking the clearance up his pass down the middle was slotted to Kenny but his shot was cleared for a corner and this time it was Des Hope who made sure on 85 minutes making it 5-0 from the set piece and giving Ballinasloe their 72nd goal of this League and Cups campaign.
team - maloney, egan, woods, hope, clogher, canavan, cullen, kenny, s.duffy, m.duffy, grehan subs lynch, kelly, evason, campbell, loughnane.
CULLEN'S FIVE GOAL STAR PERFORMANCE
BALLINASLOE TOWN 12-0 AHASCRAGH UNITED rdfl premier league
x5 Cullen, x2 McCormack, Kenny, Hope, M.Duffy, Moloney, O.G
This wasn't so much a game of football as a massacre of such proportions that it resembled a practice match in the latter stages as Ballinasloe stopped celebrating as the goals rained in as they reached double figures and poor Ahascragh look destined for Division 1 football next season after an all too brief sojourn in the Premier. With David Cullen collecting the man of the match for his 5 star performance there were plenty of other players who were superb all night and the general all round team play left the visitors capitulating well before the 90 minutes was up.
With Grehan shooting wide after just 3 minutes it was Ahascragh who had an attempt themselves from a free kick early on, which was hit high over Maloney's bar. With Ballinasloe beginning to assert their authority once again it was a well worked Eoin McCormack move that saw Kenny also have an attempt that flew wide and with McCormack still lively his pass to Grehan saw the forward spin around and let fly inside the penalty box as his shot was well saved. With Canavan intercepting a wayward Ahascragh ball forward his lay off to Grehan promised more as he received the ball back and his drive into the box was cut out for a corner which the defender dutifully took and his in swinger was touched on in the box as Kenny pounced to prod home on 15 minutes for his second of the season.
With more attacking play, all too easily Ballinasloe were being caught offside as enthusiasm to move the ball forward quickly was their undoing when patience was needed. Then just as you thought the home side were making hard work of this another excellent passing move saw McCormack in the thick of it once again as he found Cullen, then Mark Duffy who passed back to the instigator of the move who finished on 25 minutes to make it 2-0. With another Canavan corner paying dividends and being Ahascraghs undoing it was an unfortunate own goal that flew into the Ahascragh keepers net to make it 3 up on 38 minutes and shortly afterwards Cullen got the teams fourth and his first on 42 minutes as the game reached the half time stage.
Plenty of movement on the bench with subs warming up and it was no surprise as a Des Hope header from another corner made it 5-0 as Ahascraghs defence crumbled under the strain of constant pressure. With Kelly now on for Clogher his intuitive pass to Moloney saw his run end with a Mark Duffy header from the lofted pass being saved by a relieved Ahascragh keeper, but Duffy wasn't going to be thwarted as he made it 6-0 shortly on the 55th minute stage. Plenty of more passing movement now as Moloney combined with Evason and the youngster making his full debut for this season ran into the box but his pass across the box was cleared and Ballinasloe regrouped and came forward once again as Evason crossed into the box and McCormack's shot flashed across the goal. This was now the time for the Cullen show to start as his run from the half way line saw him bypass no less than four Ahascragh players and as he ran into the box his solo run saw him finish low into the left side of the keepers net to make it 7-0 to the Town.
On 65 minutes Duffy and Grehan combined well and once again Cullen was on the end of the ball to make it 8-0 as almost immediately after kick off another McCormack shot went high and wide who could be forgiven for rushing his shot considering the scoreline. With player manager Henry Loughnane now getting in on the act his driven shot went wide and as Ballinasloe sensed more reward to be gotten from the match it was no surprise as another Cullen finish made it 9-0 on 75 minutes. With Woods once again making defending look easy and not giving the Ahascragh forwards a sniff all night his pass was moved forward from the left to Moloney who layed it back to Evason who returned the favour and his lay off found McCormack to finish for his second of the night and Ballinasloe's tenth and Ballinasloe weren't finished there as Moloney got in on the act scoring with a low drive but injuring himself in the process as cramp got the better of him as Flanagan left the bench with his magic sponge! As Ballinasloe finished the game with 10 men it was fitting that Cullen made it a dozen goals on the night with his fifth on 84 minutes and this sparked a late flurry from Ahascragh which found an otherwise unoccupied Maloney for much of the evening having to make a diving save to keep his clean sheet and as McCormack had another excellent chance on 87 minutes it was the referee who called time almost exactly on 90 minutes to end the nightmare for the visitors. with Ballinasloe due to meet St Johns on Sunday at 2pm it represents a great chance to claw back ponts to the league leaders but Ballinasloe must guard against complacency after this performance as football is a funny auld game!
team-maloney, clogher, woods,hope, canavan, moloney, kenny, cullen, m.duffy, mccormack, grehan. subs used kelly, evason, keighrey, loughnane.
TOWN GET MOORE OUT OF THE CUP
BALLINASLOE TOWN 3-1 MOORE UNITED (TP BRENNAN CONNACHT CUP last 32)
X1 David Cullen x1 Alan Duffy
X1 David Grehan
X1 Mark Duffy
With both teams having strong squads to select from this was always going to be a keenly contested game of football and as it was practically a local derby an air of expectation from both sides supporters was evident from the start. With a chance coming as early as the third minute as a Grehan lob agonisingly bounced onto the woodwork and his follow up was charged down by Moore’s alert goal tender this game was looking like it may provide goals and as another chance after 10 minutes saw an energetic Gary Canavan get his cross in only for the ball to evade everyone as it flashed across the Moore box to safety, chances were coming quickly. With Ballinasloe taking the early initiative and having the majority of possession, it was David Cullen in tandem with Kenneth Kenny and Mark Duffy who seemed to take control of the midfield in the sunny conditions and with Eoin McCormack flitting around the box this was going to be a tough test for United. The passing may not have been as crisp as usual but the pressure that the visitors were being put under was constant as another drive this time from Shane Duffy was deflected for a corner and the set piece saw Ballinasloe defender Des Hope penalised for handball as Moore United attempted to regroup and get a foothold in the game.
Then as the half hour approached another attack this time down the centre of the field and the ball found Cullen who stabbed home the ball from 10 yards out to keep his rich vein of goal scoring form alive. The lead was no more than the home side deserved as they controlled proceedings until half time with the visitors having few chances and when they did arrive they were profligate in front of goal with speculative shots from distance which didn’t trouble Town keeper Maloney who was for the most part having an uneventful afternoon. With Ballinasloe’s new ‘state of the art’ club house building open for half time refreshments, the large crowd who availed of it also had the luxury of seeing the beginning of the second half from the excellent viewing area as the sun continued shining especially for the home side. With another free flowing move this time with Joe Woods finding Shane Duffy and his incisive pass found namesake Mark Duffy who moved forward and his pass to Grehan almost brought dividends as the forward was called offside as a collective groan went around the ground as Grehan looked incredulous across the line at the offical, but he was not to be denied in the 55th minute when he headed in from close range to take a two nil lead after good approach play from the Ballinasloe midfield.
This was the time for a timely response from the visitors but Ballinasloe turned the screw some more as another Mark Duffy pass found McCormack who had been making a nuisance of himself all day and his strike flew narrowly wide. A quick succession of no less than four corners now as Town forced the game to Moore once again with another shot shaving the bar. Then finally another headed goal as this time Mark Duffy nodded home from an opportunistic cross from Canavan as Ballinasloe took an unassailable 3 nil lead with 20 minutes left to play. With a few flash points now on the pitch a change up front, McCormack was replaced as Ballinasloe manager Loughnane attempted to shore up midfield to see out the game but it was Moore who began to find their range of passing as Ballinasloe’s attacking threat waned and Moore forced a corner as Maloney attempted to punch away, with this increased tempo from United they got their reward as it was yet another headed goal, this time as Alan Duffy eluded his marker and headed in from inside the six yard box to give a semblance of hope and set up a nervy last 12 minutes as Gary Egan entered the fray for right back Cormac Clogher. 3-1 now and as the game entered its last few minutes it was the visitors who were now knocking at the door as Ballinasloe invited United onto them as they dropped deeper with the odd break away punctuating the onslaught, but it was a case of too little too late as Ballinasloe weathered the brief storm to set up a round of 16 tie with Galway Premier and Annaghdown side Corrib Celtic who had an excellent win over Castlerea Celtic.
Ballinasloe Town AFC – Padraig Maloney, Cormac Clogher, Des Hope, Joe Woods, Gary Canavan, Shane Duffy, Kenneth Kenny, David Cullen, Mark Duffy, David Grehan, Eoin McCormack. Subs used Johnathon Moloney, Gary Egan, David Nee. Unused Subs Aidan Fallon, Petie Keighrey, Patric Evason, Joby Kelly
SECOND HALF BLITZ SENDS VISITORS WEST......again
BALLINASLOE TOWN AFC 5-0 WEST COAST UTD connacht cup
x1 WOODS, x1 GREHAN, x1 CULLEN, x2 MCCORMACK
This game was very much a chance to put away those Connacht Cup demons that have hung around since the very much one sided final against Athenry last season. With the team really clicking into gear in the last few months this game brought Galway first division side all the way from Letterfrack to the first round of 64.
This on paper saw Ballinasloe as big favourites but with the Letterfrack men putting ten past Tuam Celtic last week, a note of caution would have to be taken especially with a long looping shot bouncing off the top of Maloney’s crossbar after only 5 minutes of the game. With West Coast having another early chance albeit high and wide on that occasion it was a delivery from a lofted free kick from Shane Duffy that saw Woods power into the box to head the Town into the lead for his first of the season after just 6 minutes of the game.
With this a wakeup call for the visitors it was actually the home side Ballinasloe that took heart from the early breakthrough and they powered forward as Hope found Cullen whose drive was punched out by the keeper on 15 minutes, then a Mark Duffy pass found Grehan whose shot was saved and another Cullen drive that was blocked on 25 minutes. With Ballinasloe now in control the game entered something of a lull as possession was now the name of the game and once again the back four stood firm when needed with Clogher heading out to Kenny whose work rate was really paying dividends as he switched roles from defence to midfield.
With the game entering the last few minutes of the half West had a great chance on 42 minutes as the forwards shot squirmed wide as he ran into Maloney’s penalty box and then again a minute later another excellent West chance but once again accuracy wasn’t on the agenda today for this forward as he fluffed his chance. Half time and although possession stats were all in Ballinasloe’s favour it was still only 1 nil and in the Cup anything can happen.
Straight away from kick off Maloney had to punch clear as West’s pep talk ‘on the hill’ seemed to be paying dividends, but Ballinasloe had other ideas and came out of their shells as Grehan and Kenny combined well, but Kenny’s effort was ruled out for offside as Woods had strayed too near the keeper’s eye line and he was deemed interfering with play by the official.
With McCormack now having more of an influence in the game it was his shot that went wide and his free kick that flew over the bar on 55 minutes as pressure was applied. Then a wonderful combination as Shane Duffy working like a terrier now passed to namesake Mark and his low drive found Grehan for a simple tap in to give a deserved two goal cushion. Shortly afterwards a third, as a long punt up field from keeper Maloney found its way to Cullen and he slotted home to grab his usual goal! Then movement from the Ballinasloe bench as management took the decision to bring on reinforcements.
With Campbell now on the pitch he had an excellent chance as he ran into the box but was outmuscled and in quick succession another chance for him as the ball was crossed in but his header was tipped away. Then a moment of madness from West’s number 10 who took out McCormack with a needless lunging challenge on the side line and he was, despite protestations deservedly sent off. With numerical superiority it really was now all Ballinasloe as McCormack found the net with his close range header for goal number four and then another chance to add to the goal tally as Evason found Cullen with a pinpoint pass but his shot was well held by the West Coast keeper.
The same player Cullen then had another glorious chance on 75 minutes but he blazed over the bar and then sub Johnathon Moloney combining well on the left of midfield had a shot that the keeper comfortably held onto. The game was over as a contest long before the fifth arrived courtesy of McCormack for his second but his finish on 84 minutes was a real team effort as Kelly combined well with Duffy launching the ball forward and as the ball found Campbell who passed to McCormack to finish this was just reward for his busy second half efforts on the day as he finished with a brace to his name.
This win once again shows that Ballinasloe are gearing up for the business end of the season and will be hoping to add silverware to an unusual barren season last year, whether they can do this time will only tell but it won’t be for a lack of effort as the team possesses a never say die attitude this season and most importantly strength in depth when needed.
Team - maloney, clogher, woods, hope, canavan, s.duffy, kenny, cullen, m.duffy, mccormack, grehan Subs used- egan, campbell, moloney, evason, kelly
TOWN WIN MOORE POINTS
MOORE UNITED 0-1 BALLINASLOE TOWN 'A' rdfl premier
After last week's goalfest this game wasn't going to see the same number of goal mouth chances but it wasn't without incident as a bitterly cold night and a good sized crowded assembled and welcomed both teams to the pitch, and it was Ballinasloe who had the early chances in the first few minutes as David Grehan and Mark Duffy added to an earlier speculative shot from Ballinasloe. With league leaders Moore's title aspirations very much alive the first attack of note was a high ball dealt with by Padraigh Maloney, collecting and releasing Canavan who set up Cullen for a cross that saw an acrobatic McCormack overhead bicycle kick that went wide. Both teams apart from these opening skirmishes were finding it difficult to find any sort of rhythm as a succession of shots firstly by Kenny, then McCormack on 20 minutes interrupted the stalemate that was developing as each team attempted to break each other down.
Then Grehan doing well to keep in a ball on the bye line saw his cross cleared as McCormack then won possession to lay it off to Mark Duffy whose lobbed shot was collected by the Moore keeper. As United began to find their feet they became more of a threat as another Moore cross flew into the box and the forward almost connected with his head as the ball went out to safety. With McCormack busy at the other end his good run ended with no reward as a deflected shot went out for a corner and from the set piece Cullen on a forward run shot just over the bar as the game reached the half-time stage.
On resumption after a half that could hardly be described as riveting entertainment, a breakthrough, this time as McCormack released the ball quickly as he played Cullen into the box who expertly took his chance to continue his rich vein of form he is currently in and give Ballinasloe a very early lead in the 47th minute of the game. The next 10 minutes or so saw the visitors have a period of dominance and the hosts take umbrage at some refereeing decisions at some challenges but the referee had been strong all evening and continued as he had started for both teams. With United trying to boss the midfield it was Kenny and Cullen who responded for the visitors, working well as a unit to give Ballinasloe impetus in winning the ball and reward movement around the pitch.
On the hour, a substitution for The Town as Lynch once again went into the field to build his fitness as Grehan was replaced upfront. The game was now becoming quite ‘niggly’as every decision was now being called or questioned, but Ballinasloe’s defence once again held firm as another Moore attack had first Woods heading out then Hope blocking a directed effort to stop Moore building momentum going forward. More pressure as another lob into the box and this time it was Kenny doing defensive duties heading the ball out once again. Then a moment of more protestations as United wanted a possible handball from one of the crosses but once again the referee was adamant in waving play on.
As the game entered its closing stages another sub entered the fray as Johnathon Moloney went onto the left wing as a few more chances for both teams presented themselves as first McCormack played in Shane Duffy who shot wide and then Mark Duffy’s attempt was charged down as Moore then had an excellent chance of their own as they headed over from just outside the 6 yard box as Maloney jumped to cover the chance.
Then a chance from Lynch who’s dipping shot just cleared over the bar from a wide angle in the 82nd minute and this was followed by a good run into the box from Johnathon Moloney, but his weak effort was smothered by the advancing Moore keeper at full stretch as yet another chance beckoned for the hosts as this time Padraigh Maloney, Ballinasloe’s keeper saved as he was quickest out from his goal to close down quickly in the 89th minute at full stretch to block out the chance as Moore called for a penalty, more in hope than expectation.
But the drama still wasn't over as another cross came in as Maloney collected the ball cleanly and he was shoved into the net as Moore attempted to claim the equalizer as the referee turned the very hopeful calls down. Then the final act of this drama as Moore once again pushed for the goal to rescue a point and a careless free kick was concede about 35 yards out as former Ballinasloe player Concannon came up to take it, but the chance was blasted straight at the wall much to the home supporters disappointment and as the whistle sounded a few moments later it very much showed that the league title is very much up for grabs now.
Yes, the game was a scrappy affair in the first half with both teams struggling to stamp their authority, but Cullens early goal gave Ballinasloe the confidence to grow into this game and they they laid down a marker for other teams to match. Time will tell who will take up the challenge.
Maloney, Clogher, Woods, Hope, Canavan, S.Duffy, Kenny, Cullen, M.Duffy, Grehan. Subs Lynch, Moloney, Nee, Keighrey, Evason, Kelly.
GREHAN GIVES TOWN SIX APPEAL
BALLINASLOE ‘A’ 6-1 BRAZUKAS rdfl premier
X1 kenny, x1 cullen, x1 m.duffy, x1 mccormack, x1 campbell, x1 grehan.
This was a must win game for the hosts as the RDFL’s closing stages seems to be hotting up as points dropped by any of the top four who have a chance of winning the league will lead to sleepless nights by their management teams.
With Keighrey and McCormack in the starting line up, it was very much business as usual as an early goal on 7 minutes from Kenny, scoring his first for the season from 25 yards out after Campbell had played the ball to him was just reward for his dogged midfield displays this season. Very much an unsung player in the ranks this season and getting a prolonged run, he has quietly gone about the business of thwarting attacks and winning possession to set up The Town’s more prolific scorers to do their thing!
With this early set back Brazukas, who had been restricted to a lone free kick beforehand, were awarded another set piece in the rain that saw them gain parity, this time a much more central position.As the ball bypassed the wall Maloney stooped to parry only for the ball to zip off his gloves to nestle in the net much to the young keepers disbelief and Brazkuas celebrations to make it 1-1 on the day. A set back that although unexpected seemed to lift the visitors as another shot in the pouring rain flew high and wide shortly afterwards. The response from Ballinasloe would now show the mettle of the team as conditions were not ideal and the team in front of them were now gaining confidence.
The response came quickly as Canavan carrying on from his heroics last week fed McCormack whose cross bypassed all in the box, the ball was pumped back in and a Shane Duffy shot was blocked down just inside the box. More pressure as another Canavan pass found Campbell whose shot went narrowly wide and the same winger then found Cullen as his shot was held by the keeper. Then the break through as another attack and this time Shane Duffy found Cullen who stabbed the ball into the net to make it 2-1 on the 20 minute mark.
Shortly after Egan came on for an injured Canavan, but there was little respite for the visitors as the next few minutes were to prove crucial in this result as an avalanche of goals began as an impish Campbell flashed his shot across the box and it flew low into the keepers right hand side post to make it 3-1 on the half hour. Again the movement from Ballinasloe’s forward line was relentless as another free conceded by an over zealous challenge on 33 minutes saw a sublime Eoin McCormack finish from 30 yards out sail into the net to give The Town an unassailable 4-1 lead. More pressure and another goal, this time McCormack turning provider as his shot was blocked and a hard working Mark Duffy got his goal from the follow up close in, 5-1.
Brazuka’s were now hard pressed to keep the score line down to half time as the odd set piece was their only response to Ballinasloe’s game plan and with Keighrey now showing why he is such a good defender and marshal with another challenge you can understand why they have the tightest defence in the league especially with Des Hope waiting in the wings after being unavailable for this match.
With Grehan now coming on for McCormack at half time, it didn’t take him long to get on the score sheet after only 3 minutes of the restart he was able to run straight at the Brazuka’s defence and slot his low drive into the keepers left hand side netting to make it 6. Then another sweeping move which saw Woods narrowly miss out as his close in effort went just over the bar and then another chance as Grehan gained possession just inside the box and the Brazukas keeper followed him to leave an empty net, his lay off to Clogher saw the ball pumped into the box but unfortunately the layoff was over hit and the chance was gone, despite the keeper going walkabouts! More chances as the weather improved now but the momentum seemed to leave the hosts at this time and Johnathon Moloney was brought on to bring life back to the game.
More chances as Campbell’s shot was blocked and Cullen fired over with even J.Moloney getting in on the act with a wide effort. This really was a training game now as Evason came on to shore up the defence which had apart from the concession of the goal had been excellent all day. With S.Duffy now moving into the box his good shout for a penalty saw the ref turn him down as another Grehan shot came back in and went wide. Then another chance as Evason sent Grehan away who had made a good run forward only to be crowded out as yet another move from Cullen, who has really found a niche in those runs that seem to be bringing him goals and chances. This time he was tackled and from the free kick another chance went begging as it went high and wide to end the game as a contest, despite the game being effectively over at half time.
Conclusions to be drawn from this game or the season so far? Firstly Ballinasloe’s defence is excellent, they don’t concede too many goals with whatever combination of back four they go with and with three effectively first choice centre halves for 2 positions competition is fierce. Midfield is a major factor in Ballinasloe’s renaissance this season with them contributing firstly with defensive duties to stop attacks but with goals also, and up front the current incumbents have been ticking along nicely contributing to the teams fair share of goals with further reinforcements coming in that will indeed make them a stronger option as the business end of the season approaches.
Team – P.Maloney, Clogher, Woods, Keighrey, S.Duffy, Cullen, Kenny, Canavan, McCormack, M.Duffy, Campbell Subs used – Egan, Grehan, J.Moloney, Evason
CULLEN MAKES THE SKY FALL WITH HAT TRICK
SKYVALLEY ROVERS 1-8 BALLINASLOE TOWN ‘A’ rdfl premier
x3 cullen, x2 duffy, hope, campbell, lynch
A delayed kick off with a few last minute changes to the pitch markings by the SkyValley groundsmen didn’t do anything to diminish Ballinasloe’s recent good form as this game was effectively over at half time as a contest and with due respect to the home side the final score could have entered double figures given the number of chances Ballinasloe had on the day.
As early as the 5th minute Cullen was showing his hunger in front of goal once again as he had done last week on numerous occasions against Ballymoe, forcing his way down the middle of the park to unleash a shot that unfortunately cannoned off Ballinasloe’s Mark Duffy to safety, but within a minute Duffy had made amends for this block by heading the ball back into the area for his team mate from a lofted Kenny ball into a melee off players and it was Cullen who reacted quickest in the goalmouth scramble to finish and give the visitors the early lead, 1-0.
With Skyvalley reacting to this early set back with a free kick which was well over it was Ballinasloe who once again picked up the tempo as another Cullen shot fizzed just over the bar from inside the box as the visitors settled quickly. With Egan running down the left wing his pass found Canavan whose shot was fumbled by the Rovers keeper and it was cleared but Ballinasloe were first to the ball and it was played back into the box for Mark Duffy to make it 2 nil with a sweet finish on 20 minutes.
Like a lot of Ballinasloe games this season the defence has built solid foundations for the rest of the team to produce the goods at the other end of the pitch and this game was no exception as Hope, Woods and Clogher kept it tight at the back with Egan forcing the pace as he worked in tandem with Canavan to put Rovers under constant pressure on the left hand side of the Ballinasloe pitch, this was really bringing dividends as another Egan free gave Hope a free header which went over from close in and with Canavan having another shot blocked it was going to be a long day for the home team.
With Grehan having to leave the field after picking up an injury the momentum was still with the visitors as Campbell came on up front for his first start of the season and with it all one way traffic it was Hope who found the freedom up field as he headed into the net after another lofted cross into the box to make it 3 nil and make it effectively game over. A few words from the management and a quick turn and change around saw the hard working Kenny rested for the next game with David Nee coming on.
Before the home side had time to put any remedial work into practice after their half time team talk it was 4 nil, as another Cullen finish from yet another Canavan pass after only a minute into the half saw the visitors hit cruise control as any threats from SkyValley seemed to come from set pieces but they were wasteful as another went high and wide on 49 minutes. With Campbell now moving forward quickly his cross went close as it whizzed past the far post as no one was on hand to convert and just as the danger had passed it was once again Canavan who found Mark Duffy and he once again found the net for his reward for his second goal and Ballinasloe’s fifth on the day. More changes to personnel and this really was the perfect game to make goal difference a factor for the league table compiler as firstly Cullen then Duffy once again went close.
With another half an hour to go and the score at five goals to nil it was time to shore up the defence for the blues but with Ballinasloe now attacking at will it was another goal from a team effort which saw Cullen central to proceedings once again, as he played a one two with Shane Duffy then onto Mark Duffy and sent it long to Canavan who laid it off for yet another assist to early substitute Campbell and he picked up the ball from 20 yards out and raced at the goal and shot past the keeper to make it six! With Shane Duffy then having a genuine claim for a penalty waived away SkyValley kept trying to get something on the day and a rare attack and an inswinger of a cross saw an otherwise unoccupied Maloney for much of this game called into action but the SkyValley attacker was quicker and forced the ball into the net to give the hosts a consolation on the day to ruin Ballinasloe’s clean sheet.
The effect of this saw a new impetus from Loughnane’s men as the game threatened to turn to a pedestrian pace before the Sky Valley goal and more good work from Campbell saw another of his crosses cause panic in the box as Canavan went close only for the referee to call the ball back for an earlier foul. With Rovers launching another raid on the wing it was Evason this time heading clear who found Nee who picked up the ball sending it forward and Campbell crossed only for the referee to blow for an infringement in the box and award Ballinasloe a penalty and a chance for someone to get a hat trick. Step forward Cullen who finished without too much ado to make it 7-1 with 20 minutes still left to play.
Another few minutes would see the return of free scoring club forward Liam Lynch who had been side lined for 9 months after picking up a serious knee injury in the corresponding fixture from last season at the same venue and it was a luxury for the management team to bring him on with the game out of sight with 15 minutes to go. With David Nee now running freely in midfield he twisted this way then another before tamely shooting at the keeper, who gratefully accepted the ball as he held onto it before punting it upfield once again to relieve the pressure. With Evason then trying a lob from distance it was Lynch now getting on the ball with his first shot blocked from 20 yards out as he showed he hasn’t lost anything in the agility stakes, then another blocked shot as Ballinasloe attacked once again and then a moment of real beauty as Lynch received the ball with his back to goal and his quick turn saw his unstoppable shot fly into the net in the final minutes of the game to give him his much needed goal to get him up and running for this season and Ballinasloe’s 8th of the day.
Team- maloney, clogher, woods, hope, egan, canavan, s.duffy, kenny, cullen, canavan, grehan,m.duffy. subs used - campbell, nee, evason, lynch, keighrey.
GREHAN BREATHES LIFE BACK INTO LEAGUE CHALLENGE FOR ALL
BALLYMOE 0-2 BALLINASLOE A
This result away from the Curragh wasn’t in the script for certain commentators on the RDFL but this Ballinasloe Town team have been very unlucky to drop points at home and only seem to be getting stronger as the season progresses. With an excellent blend of experience and youth the team still has the core personnel of Ballinasloe’s successful teams of the past but the capitulation of last season appears to be long forgotten.
This was always going to be a competitive match and it was Ballinasloe who had the first meaningful move of the game on 3 minutes as a scramble at Ballymoe’s near post after a combination of Clogher, McCormack and Shane Duffy almost brought an instant reward. But at the other end following a defensive slip by Ballinasloe’s Clogher, Woods was stronger in the challenge to head out any cross to safety as Ballymoe seemed to be adopting a high pressing strategy from the off. On 5 minutes a Mark Duffy shot was blocked from just outside the area and a succession of McCormack free kicks followed but to no avail, as Kenny set up Grehan who couldn’t connect despite his powerful run and good work.
With Ballymoe also testing Maloney with a drive from distance on 10 minutes and in a sweeping move that almost caught out the Ballinasloe defence the hosts first had a shot hit wide and then over the bar in as many minutes to forewarn Loughnane that this was going to be a tough game today. Indeed this passage of play saw Maloney having to show his dribbling skills as he reacted quicker to a through ball but didn’t have time to pick it up and proceeded to pass not one but two Ballymoe forwards in his own box, only to clear his lines as he moved the ball forward.
On 20 minutes an Eoin McCormack pass found Grehan and his inviting cross flashed across the box begging for someone to put it in the net. A few more challenges from both sides and Ballymoe started to get riled and question the official’s decisions as they also knew this wasn’t going to be an easy day at the office for the league leaders. On 25 minutes a superb run from Cullen saw him ghost into the home sides box which promised more as he was crowded out by the Ballymoe centre halves and McCormack picked up the clearance only to drive his shot low as the Ballymoe keeper saved easily. This was real end to end football and a very even game with an animated crowd giving a great atmosphere to proceedings on the pitch.
With the entertainment value improving all the time, the quality of the set pieces was the only thing letting this game down as both teams showed great commitment as biting tackles flew in and both defences were on top as Canavan laid off to Cullen who in the past few weeks has really started to find licence to make those all important runs in the middle of the park leaving defensive duties to Kenny & Co when needed, but once again his shot was blocked and when he picked up the ball from Mark Duffy, whose influence tucked just behind the forward line was growing, he hit his shot wide on 35 minutes, much to his own annoyance and the crowds. With only half chances coming, firstly from Mark Duffy’s wayward shot and then Cullen forcing the Ballymoe custodian into a rare save it was looking like it could be a frustrating afternoon for both sides as the game sauntered to the half time whistle with both teams evenly matched.
Straight from the kick off Ballymoe once more came out looking to force the goal with a high line being adopted again as they pressed each Ballinasloe possession. A Canavan free on 47 minutes saw Wood’s glance a header just over the bar on a rare forward outing for him and then the moment of the match as McCormack whose work rate is phenomenal forced the ball forward into the box and as it was cleared and returned from the right of the area an acrobatic Davey Grehan chose to hit the ball on the volley moving his body laterally with the ground from 15 yards out and bury the football past a despairing keeper who had no chance to save nor see the ball as the net bulged to give the visitors a slender 1 nil lead.
This was a shock for Ballymoe as they had contained Ballinasloe for a large part of the game despite not having too many clear cut chances themselves. Then a scare for Maloney as he and Hope combined well to clear their lines as Ballymoe looked for an immediate response to going behind. Cullen picked up the loose ball and ran 20 yards forward moving the ball quickly as he went distributing to Shane Duffy who played the ball to Kenny who was brought down with a thundering challenge and a high boot to earn Ballymoe a caution and a free kick to Ballinasloe and lengthy treatment for midfielder Kenny. From the free another McCormack run this time on the left of the Ballymoe box as Mark Duffy set up Grehan who was having his best game in a Ballinasloe jersey this season, and his pass to Cullen saw his shot smothered by the keeper to keep it at 1 nil.
Ballymoe responded to this Ballinasloe period of dominance with another shot from a free kick on 60 minutes but the drive only succeeded in finding the side netting of Maloney’s goal who had the near post angles covered. Then goal 2 from a powerful run into the box as Grehan went the direct route to goal side by side with his Ballymoe defender and unleashed a thumping shot which once again had the net rippling upon impact to make it 2 goals to Grehan and nil to Ballymoe!
This rallied Ballymoe as they were now looking at only their second defeat all season in this campaign and both would be to Ballinasloe Town if it ended this way. As they got more and more frustrated the hosts got more physical and with the referee showing a few cautions in the final 15 minutes it was Grehan who once again shrugged off his marker and stroked the ball into the net for his third but the whistle had sounded for an earlier infringement a few seconds before to deny him his deserved hat trick. Ballinasloe responded with Nee coming on to shore up midfield as the game entered its final period.
The last few minutes saw more tackles coming in as Mark Duffy went off the pitch for treatment and Shane Duffy being very patient with Ballymoe as 'verbals' were issued and in the last few minutes the energetic McCormack saw an error by the keeper, picked up the ball, bypassed a defender and proceeded to miss the target from 20 yards out with the goal wide open which would have been just reward for his prolific running all day, giving Ballymoe the runaround. As the ref called time on the proceedings the win was greeted with great cheers from the visiting supporters and even though It was Ballinasloe who won here a few teams in the premier will acknowledge the Town for opening up the league a little bit for now anyway.
Team – p.maloney, clogher, woods, hope, canavan, s.duffy, Cullen, Kenny, m.duffy, mccormack, grehan. Subs nee, evason, egan
KEANE SCREAMER NOT ENOUGH AS HARPS DO THE DOUBLE
Ballinasloe Town B 1-4 Lough Harps
x1 Dylan Keane
This game saw the return leg of the 1st Division RDFL match v Lough Harps. A game that saw some excellent goals but unfortunately only one was for the home side. Ballinasloe ‘B’ will look at the table and wonder how some of their performances have not produced more points, it wasn’t as though they were not in the game certainly for the last period they were the much better side but goals win games and so it was in this game.
As early as the eighth minute Ballinasloe found themselves behind from a driven header from close in as Lough Harps began to dominate and it wasn’t until the 20th minute before Owen Keighrey let fly from his corner only for it to flash across goal with no one on the end of it for Ballinasloe’s first meaningful attack on goal. As the game progressed it was difficult for the home side to get a foothold in the game as the hard working Dylan Keane saw his effort blocked on the half hour and with James Kinsella putting his body on the line once again with a superb defensive sliding challenge this was going to be a tough game, indeed with Shane Fallon and Mike Lynch called into action once again relief from the visitor’s attack was only momentary as another save from Fallon saw more sustained pressure from Harps. With Ballinasloe weathering the storm and in particular Owen Keighrey getting some joy from his frequent runs down the left wing it was a sucker punch on 37 minutes when a long range shot flew into the net to give a two goal cushion as the game entered the turn around.
With a few changes at half time and new recruit Johnny Maloney getting another run after his debut as a sub for the A’s earlier in the day the game started with Ballinasloe’s side bringing the game to the visitors with David McDonnell turning and weaving giving Harps a scare as his shot went wide. As the game approached the 55 minute’s mark with Maloney now running wide his cross was cut out and on the counter a sweeping move saw the ball pumped long from the Harps defence and as it was crossed into the Ballinasloe box it was tipped in by a Harps striker to put any good work that the home side had done since half time to bed. A real struggle now at 3-0 down for the management team and a real headache to get back into the game, with the forwards being starved of possession chances were few and far between as a Henry Loughnane through ball to Davey McDonnell saw him show some fleet footedness in ghosting past three defenders only to see his tame shot collected by the Harps keeper. Another attack as Ryan showed strength in first blocking a shot and then laying off the ball to Loughnane whose run was brought to an abrupt end by a heavy challenge and from the resultant free kick Ryan hit his shot wide of the left hand side post.
This was much better play now from the home side, then a reward for their endeavour as McDonnell crossed wide for Dylan whose sublime shot from 30 yards out sailed into the net giving a glimmer of hope for the last 15 minutes. This was now the team that was passing well and getting more chances as Kinsella moved forward hitting wide on the volley, quickly followed by a Lynch shot that flew narrowly wide. With Coyne now pulling the strings in midfield it looked like another goal could be in the offing as Ballinasloe applied more pressure adopting a higher line as the team moved forward but once again as often happens with a team pushing for goals in the last few minutes Harps broke and scored to put an end to the contest 4-1. As the last few minutes played out an excellent defensive sliding challenge snuffed out a near certain 5th goal for Harps and when the ref blew his whistle it was met with relief and disappointment as there where glimpses of what the Reserves can do when it clicks into place.
Team – aidan fallon, shane fallon, mike lynch, james kinsella, mark nee, david mcdonnell, warren coyne, conor kenny, eoin keighrey, niall burke, dylan keane, subs johnathon maloney, henry loughnane, stephen cregg, padraig ryan.
DEAD EYE DUFFY BREAKS DEADLOCK
Ballinasloe A 3-0 Shiven Rovers
x2 mark duffy, x1 david grehan
A high tempo start to this match set the tone with Ballinasloe A taking to the second pitch due to the Youth international that is scheduled for late February this season. This Ballinasloe team is showing a never say die attitude this season and would be looking to improve their home form from now on.
On 4 minutes Davey Grehan flashed a header just wide after an excellent cross from Cullen and with the emphasis on attack it really was an explosive start as Grehan was caught offside after Mark Duffy played him through in an excellent move early on. Not that Shiven were not a threat as they received a free kick on 7 minutes in a dangerous position and Maloney was on hand to punch clear. As the game picked up pace McCormack was making a nuisance of himself on the wing with his quick runs and agility and putting Rovers under constant pressure. A quick throw by Evason and an even quicker pass by Mark Duffy saw once again McCormack chase a ball which he shouldn’t have won but did and his shot flashed across the box with Grehan failing to connect.
Ballinasloe where in the ascendancy now with more quick interplay between Richardson and Shane Duffy resulting in another shot which this time lacked power as the keeper held easily. With the defence holding firm, Rovers tried to break through again but with Hope marshalling his troops and dishing out advice constantly it was an assured display from the Town as this time Evason strolled forward laying the ball to McCormack who took possession once again as Cullen made another forward run receiving the ball and setting up Grehan only to see his shot blocked and cleared.
On 25 minutes Shiven attacked gaining a free kick, and as this was launched it went over the wall and a free header went narrowly wide. From the kick out it fell to Kenny whose lay off found Mark Duffy who ran with it and his daisy cutter of a chance flew narrowly wide. This really was all Ballinasloe but final chances were still at a premium as shots were off target and the number of offside’s was growing. On the half hour Kenny who seems to be growing into the ‘Enforcer’ role in the middle of the park won the ball and set up Cullen whose shot went over the bar from 20 yards out, another missed opportunity that was beginning to frustrate both fans and the manager alike.
With Ballinasloe building from the back constantly as Shiven cleared their lines a host of chances went abegging as first Cullen shot over on 30 minutes and McCormack with Cullen in close support on 35 minutes just failed to connect with a cross from Richardson. Then on 40 minutes Hope in a more advanced role played in Grehan only to find himself offside once again. The half concluded with yet another chance this time from Kenny whose shot was well held by the Rovers keeper to see out the half.
The second half began in much the same vein as the first with Grehan having a chance on the edge of the box in the first minute of the half, then Cullen and Grehan combined once again only for Richardson to see his shot hit off the top of the bar, with Cullen now relishing going forward his pairing with Kenny was bringing dividends as another shot from Kenny was collected by the keeper once again. With Woods heading over from close in from yet another in swinger this time from McCormack it seemed only a matter of time before the opening goal would be scored but it wasn’t from the hosts that the chance came, it was from the visitors who got a fortuitous decision as Kenny was adjudged to have held back his man in the box and send him to the ground and after Ballinasloe waited for a free out surprisingly the referee pointed to the spot after what seemed an age in deciding.
This really was a lifeline for the maroon and sky team who really hadn’t been in the game at all up to this point. Up stepped the penalty taker and sent Maloney the wrong way, but the ball went in the opposite direction and went wide also. For all their play its goals that count and Ballinasloe had played their get out of jail free as Maloney took his goal kick, firing up the field, Mark Duffy headed down and Evason challenged winning the ball to set up McCormack whose run saw yet another shot fly over the bar. As the teams set up for the goal kick the Shiven keeper inexplicably hit a bobbled ball to Grehan just outside the box in no mans land and instead of teeing up his shot he took a touch too many and the keeper was able to smother the ball, it was at this time that the keeper placed the ball down and then picked it up again as a Ballinasloe player moved towards him and the referee blew the whistle and after consultation with his experienced linesman ordered an uncontested drop ball out from the penalty box rather than the expected indirect free kick in for Ballinasloe Town, perhaps that one can be checked in the FAI rule perchance?
Last 20 minutes now and another sweeping move from the left side of defence as Cullen played in Grehan but the dreaded flag was raised once again and with another Kenny shot lacking power Johnathon Maloney came on for his Senior A debut as sub to mix it up a bit. With 15 minutes remaining Mark Duffy picked up the ball and cut in from the right hand side of the Shiven goal and unleashed a shot from a very acute angle and it beat the keeper chest high on his near post to give the Town a very much well deserved 1 nil lead, it took a few seconds for the crowd to react as it looked like it had hit the side netting but the pinpoint nature of the shot and the small gap the ball flew through had all the hall marks of a goal of the season contender for its accuracy alone!
With the penalty miss and parity lost Shiven’s hearts sunk and it was backs to the wall as their defence buckled once again as another Cullen drive went wide. Then on 80 minutes McCormack found Grehan lurking at the far post and he had the simplest of headers to nod in to make it 2-0 and put real daylight between the teams. This time and more chances as Richardson combined again with Grehan but his shot was blocked and out for a throw to give a brief respite for the visitors, but this wasn’t to last too long as Kenny hustled his way to the ball and played the ball down the middle to Mark Duffy who shrugged past one challenge, balanced himself and slotted into the goal to give The Town what looked on paper a comfortable 3-0 win but in reality could have been so different if they had conceded the goal from the penalty. An excellent performance in terms of possession, not so good in shots on target ratio but keep playing like this and the goals will soon flow.
Team- p.maloney, s.duffy, woods, hope, evason, mccormack, kenny, cullen, Richardson, m.duffy, grehan sub j.maloney
PLENTY OF FOOD FOR THOUGHT IN LOSS
BALLINASLOE TOWN 1-2 CASTLEREA CELTIC
x1 P.Keighery (pen)
As far as home form is concerned 'The Town' will have to start putting away their chances if they want to mount a serious challenge for the league, in previous matches profligacy in front of goal may not have led to defeat but as other teams keep winning even draws are of little help in bringing home the league title this season. With this in mind Ballinasloe Town should improve this season in the new year as players come back from injury and suspension but the transition has to be quickened to keep step with the league pace setters.
Carrying on from his excellent last outing it was no surprise that it was Eoin McCormack that begun brightly as early in the 4th minute he went close combining with Grehan only to see his drive deflected, but this Castlerea team are not league champions for nothing and Maloney was forced into a save early on as a retaliatory attack from the visitors saw their number 9 unlucky not to open the scoring who found Maloney in good form. On 9 minutes following a corner from Egan, Duffy had a shot straight at the keeper which was followed on 12 minutes by McCormack who found space and his shot was parried by the Castlerea custodian who instinctively set up another attack for the visitors as they tried to hit 'The Town' on the break at all times. With Woods and Hope becoming increasingly busy it was Maloney who managed to smother another chance. Midway through the half and tonight was going to be a tough night as Ballinasloe kept knocking on the door but had to keep tracking back to stop Castlrea from getting a foothold in the game as it looked like they increasingly would.
Another chance as firstly McCormack passed to Grehan who was closed down just inside the box and from the resultant corner a Woods header was collected by the keeper who once again played it out quickly from the back down the wing, these quick breaks were troubling Ballinasloe and with Nee and Cullen attempting to cut out the passes it was Nee who fed Egan as his lofted ball saw Canavan head the ball on to Duffy and his lay off to Grehan saw his shot deflected and saw more frustration for the home side who were playing well but not finding the target often enough. On 30 minutes Cullen had a pot shot from far out and the keeper held it well as Ballinasloe saw each attack thwarted by a determined opposition defence who on 40 minutes mounted another attack managing to move across the pitch unopposed, passing the ball across the box and as no one cleared it was played back across from left to right only to find a Castlrea foot to prod it home to take the lead. As the half entered its last few minutes a quick thinking Maloney cut out another forward ball, but couldn't do too much for the second goal on 44 minutes as once again the ball was played across the box and despite getting a hand to it to palm the ball away it was once again played back in finding a Castlrea player who despatched the ball into the net from 10 yards out to go into the break two nil up, but not before another chance for the visitors as a Maloney double save saw the referee signal the end of the half with the whistle.
A few words at half time and a McCormack run saw his ball to Grehan almost come off as Grehan shot wide from close in, then Clogher managed to get forward but his decent cross wasn't met by any heads to direct it towards the net. As the intensity from the home side increased Castlerea's expansive tactics subsided and they began to drop deeper as a Canavan cross saw Grehan collect and hit the post from his bobbled effort, he then followed this up once again in the 53rd minute with a shot that was well saved. This was more like the Ballinasloe team that we have come to know, determined and putting in great effort to get back into a game that wasn't lost yet. Another chance as McCormacks free found Ballinasloe have another shot with Kenny whose strike was deflected for a corner and from the corner McCormacks goal bound header deflected of a Ballinasloe head to go over the bar. This was a determined effort now as McCormack tested the keeper once again as Egan headed over on 65 minutes following good work from Canavan who seemed to be finding his touch once again in this half, but Castlrea still had Maloney blocking their way as they had a rare shot in the half.
With Ballinasloe Town in the ascendancy despite the two goal deficit Mark Duffy's shot from 25 yards was just about held by the keeper as the home side ramped up the tempo, but then ill discipline interceded once again for 'The Town' as a booking was rapidly followed by a red for Egan as he was sent off for dissent to add to Ballinasloes problems on the night. As the loss of a man didn't help the cause it didn't seem to quell Ballinasloe's vibrant attacks as another strong Kenny run saw his lofted ball into the box just missed by Des Hope but Cullen managed to head the ball back but this missed the target. Then another break away by the visitors saw Maloney make a good save from a Castlrea free kick showing all his experience to send the ball long as quickly as possible upfield. Then another contentious moment as Hope waited in the box for the ball to drop and he was shoved in the back by the Castlrea keeper, but the referee incredulously signalled a free out deeming it obstruction on the Castlrea net minder much to the annoyance of the assembled crowd. With more attacks and Hope finding himself forward yet again his header flashed wide as Clogher followed up with a header of his own to put the ball back into the mix and this time the keeper came rushing out and once again pushed into a Ballinasloe Town player to concede a penalty on 87 minutes. Up stepped Mr Reliable club captain Petie Keighrey and as cool as you like dispatched the ball into the net from 12 yards out to set up a heated last few minutes and to bring his goal tally to a very respectable 4 goals this season.
The final few minutes saw Castlrea on the back foot as they worked hard to repel each Ballinasloe move forward with McCormack not getting much solace from the referee his hard won free kick had the defence scrambling once again as the ball was headed out with Kenny picking it up and he thumped it as it twisted and turned and whacked the keepers right hand side post to rebound back out and was momentarily cleared, this time Duffy picking up the ball and sending it over the bar to end the game as a contest on the night.
A first loss in normal time for the season may be scant consolation for the team but there are plenty of points to collect and cups to challenge for, this loss will show the mettle of this team and if the second half is any indication to go by, especially when being reduced to ten men then there is plenty of life in this team and plenty of more goals to score and points to collect! Onwards and upwards for now.
Team- maloney, clogher, woods, hope, egan, m.duffy, nee, cullen, canavan, grehan, mccormack subs p.keighrey, k.kenny, evason
McCORMACKS PATIENCE SHOWING SIGNS OF PAYING OFF
BALLINASLOE TOWN 3-0 AHASCRAGH UNITED rdfl
This game began as a scrappy affair with few chances and apart from a few long range pot shots from distance the Ahascragh defence seemed to cope quite well with anything that Ballinasloe were conjuring up in the way of attacking intent. With another shot this time from Kenneth Kenny again from distance which was well covered by the Ahascragh keeper this was turning into a frustrating first half hour as firstly Evason combined well with Cullen to cross for Mark Duffy to win a corner and from the corner a Shane Duffy drive was punched over by the visitors keeper and this was followed up with another Shane Duffy effort after good work from Cullen which was once again comfortably collected on 27 minutes. On 30 minutes another attack as Richardson chipped the ball through to McCormack and as he raced through on the edge of the box he was clipped with a distinct thud on the shin pads to send him tumbling to give a penalty to the home side and he rose up to take it and finish with aplomb to make it 1 nil, game on and this lifted the team as they set about Ahascragh once again.
The game took on a pattern of play now that saw the visitors attempting to stem the attacks but on 35 minutes a Mark Duffy looped header went wide and McCormack who was really finding his feet now passed to Shane Duffy who found namesake Mark who shot narrowly wide, this was followed up as Hope on a rare forward run found Mark Duffy whose deflected shot went out for a corner. As the screw tightened this time another Evason pass on the wing found Richardson and giving the ball to McCormack he spun and played a sublime ball to Cullen whose deflected drive flew into the net to give a deserved 2 nil lead heading into half time.
The game continued in much the same vein as the half began with Kenneth Kenny feeding Mark Duffy and he laid it off to Clogher as Richardson was provided with another opportunity as he shot over the bar from just inside the box. With a mazy run from Evason passing two players setting up another chance for Ballinasloe the visitors had to defend in numbers and with very little attacking options they had to be content with containment as a tactic, but this could only work for a limited time as Mark Duffy was taken down for a free and a now increasingly confident McCormack strode up to swerve a sublime shot past the wall leaving the keeper with no time to even contemplate an attempt to dive. 3-0 up and the game was over early in the second half giving the management an early chance to make a couple of changes. With more chances falling to Cullen whose shot was blocked and Mark Duffy who was having an excellent game this gave Maloney in the Ballinasloe goal very little to do as another Ahascragh attack broke down and Ballinasloe swiftly sprayed the ball forward as a Grehan shot was tamely collected.
With the game entering its final quarter a McCormack run full of agility ended with a Connor Kenny shot blocked in the box as Cullen won the ball once again, who layed it off to Richardson and as he ran into the box close in Cullen who received the pass back blazed over. It was at this stage that Shane Duffy received his marching orders with a needless red to reduce Ballinasloe Town to 10 men. With this happening at one end a rare Ahascragh United break away saw Maloney make a scrambled save on 77 minutes to ensure his clean sheet from an attack that lacked impetus or drive and as another Cullen shot went over the game came to its inevitable conclusion after another Grehan shot and a Nee pile driver which went over from distance and yet another Conor Kenny drive which bent wide.
A good win which took a while for the home side to get on the score sheet, but once they did they performed admirably well with some good performances especially from the younger players on the books. With Eoin McCormack now a regular in the starting line up it will be interesting to see how Ballinasloe Town's other newer players can slot into the experienced ranks to give a continuity to a team that should be challenging for honours every season especially after last seasons end of season disappointments.
Team - maloney, clogher, woods, hope, evason, s.duffy, cullen, kenny, m.duffy, mccormack, richardson subs grehan, nee, p.keighrey, c.kenny
FAI CUP SHOOTOUT HEARTACHE
BALLINASLOE TOWN 'A' 2-2 VILLA FC of Waterford
3-5 on penalties a.e.t
This was a game that Ballinasloe could have won and perhaps with a bit of luck and a bit more composure they could have gone on to face Cherry Orchard in the 6th Round, but be in no doubt this was an accomplished visiting team that came to play football at The Curragh and we will look at their next game with great interest. It had opened promisingly with a recalled Des Hope back from injury heading over the bar after 4 minutes from an Egan free kick and this was quickly followed by a Gary Canavan shot from some distance out that went wide. With Ballinasloe being the quicker to settle McCormack let fly from 40 yards which never really had a chance of being on target and with Villa being caught offside on 15 minutes when a dangerous run was cut short by the assistants flag on the dug out side it was another pass from McCormack down the centre which saw Dave Grehan outpace his marker and unleash a strike which took a deflection and forced the keeper into an excellent save. The pace quickened as shortly after another Grehan chance after a Cullen pass saw the Villa keeper in fine form once again and the visitors were trying hard to contain Ballinasloe as they got the upper hand. On 24 minutes Cullen saw his intuitive run come to nothing as he was blocked off and with McCormack also taken down somewhat cynically the resultant free was headed away sending Villa away testing the Ballinasloe defence first the first time, shooting wide another Villa attack came to nothing as Des Hope stood firm to head out as the Waterford team began to exert pressure. Maloney was now called into action on 38 minutes saving well and releasing the ball to Woods who centred the ball to an ever improving McCormack who really was becoming a thorn in the side to the Villa midfield, he laid it off to a free running Gary Canavan who took a touch and shot it past a despairing keeper to give the home side the goal they deserved. One up and seemingly in the ascendancy but as happens in soccer you cannot rest on your laurels and on 44 minutes another Villa attack as the midfielder was allowed to drift across the defence without a challenge and he slot a low drive into Maloney's bottom right hand corner to bring the game level and the half to an end.
With the game now even Ballinasloe took to the second half confidently and a stroke of luck as a Shane Duffy cross was fumbled by the Villa keeper as it looked like it was going wide and from the Egan corner Des Hope who was having a great game back powered his close range header into the net to make it 2-1 on 48 minutes. Another attack with Eoin McCormack really working hard now as his run on 51 minutes almost paid off but Villa held firm and a Gary egan free kick was tipped over the bar by the Villa keeper who despite his indiscretion early on was certainly looking a class act with another good save as Canavan and Cullen combined only to have his shot blocked away. Villa broke and Maloney was grateful to get his hand to a shot to push the ball away but this respite was short lived as another Villa attack down the Ballinasloe right found the ball hit into the box and this ended with the ball in the net as the ball was lost and fired into the net to make it 2-2. As Villa gained confidence the game took a turn as Ballinasloe found themselves on the back foot now with Villa finding their range in passing and the challenges became stronger with the referee having to find his voice and cards a bit more than the first half! More and more Ballinasloe tried to get the ball forward quickly but apart from McCormack doing sterling work winning headers it kept coming back as the home side tired and Villa seemd to find their extra gear. Not that Ballinasloe didn't threaten in the last 15 minutes of the second half, they did with another Hope header forcing a save and McCormack's shot bringing another good save but Villa also had a shot from distance on 86 minutes and with Clogher tackling well in the last few minutes this game had extra time stamped all over it and this was confirmed but only just as a Villa header in the box just went past Maloneys goals in the 90th minute.
Extra time and this really was a defensive display as a McCormack chance that lacked conviction was a rare attack from the home side as Shane Duffy and sub Kenneth Kenny worked hard to win and retain possession, coupled with a combatitive Mark Duffy dropping deeper to help out. As extra time came to its conclusion almost a winner for the visitors as Des Hope slid into his own near post to get the ball away from the line to send the game into the dreaded penalties.
With the game poised on penalties the goal nearest the astro pitch was chosen and rather than revisit it shot for shot the shootout was lost 5-3 as Villa started and ended strongly leaving Maloney who had been the hero last year against Mervue in the Connacht Cup not much chance with any of them. The lottery of the penalty shoot out was hard to take but in fairness the Waterford team finished more strongly and we really do wish them the best of luck in the tough tie against Cherry Orchard of Dublin in the 6th round. As for Ballinasloe its a learning experience for the younger players who will come back stronger after the experience and it was an achievement to get to the national stage considering the disappointing end to last season.
Onwards and upwards as they take on Ahascragh on friday night.
team - maloney, woods, hope,egan, clogher, canavan, cullen, m.duffy, s.duffy, mccormack, grehan Subs keighrey, richardson, kenny, evason
BARE BONES BALLINASLOE BEAT BALLA rdfl
BALLAGHDEREEN 1-2 BALLINSLOE TOWN 'A'
A very much depleted Ballinasloe Town due to injury, illness and suspension found that they can still dig deep to win games when they have to and despite a scare at the end of this game they were good value for the win that keeps them in contention in the RDFL Championship. With the ground looking well maintained it was the pitch that looked as though it was a bit soft underfoot as the match kicked off to a lively Ballinasloe Town who seemed to be passing the ball with a confidence that brought a couple of half chances early on. With Richardson and Clogher combining well it was the former who lashed a shot come cross over the Balla bar on 9 minutes and this was followed up with a mazy run from deep in midfield as Cullen ran 30 yards only to be tackled before he could shoot, not that it was all one way traffic as a quick thinking Joe Woods blocked strongly in the box as the Balla striker hit his shot.
With Grehan hitting over the bar on 14 minutes following excellent work from Mark Duffy and Mark Richardson it seemed only a matter of time before the deadlock would be broken by Ballinasloe as another Cullen free just went wide of the Balla goal. It was fast passing that was the order of the day despite the pitch cutting up badly in places and another Cullen pass to Shane Duffy this time saw another shot go wide for The Town as Mark Duffy went close. With the pressure building and Ballaghdereen looking to hit the visitors on the break it was no surprise when on 26 minutes a quick Grehan cross found Cullen who passed to the ever dangerous Mark Duffy who dispatched into the net to make it 1 nil which for their possession they were good value for.
On 29 minutes Maloney was called into action as he smothered the ball from a Balla attack and his throw sent Evason away as he fed Shane Duffy passing to Grehan who shot high and wide as the team took a breather as a Ballaghdereen defender got attention off the pitch. Then it was the turn of Ballaghdereen to move forward trying to bring the game to Ballinasloe but the back four held firm once again as Shane Duffy and Kenny brought the ball away again and as Ballinasloe got another corner Duffy's cross was flicked by Grehan and the keeper parried the ball out of danger but not before the home side had a terrific chance that blazed over the bar and then the moment of the half (other than the goal!) as a Clogher super sliding challenge in his own box saw him win possession back for Ballinasloe as the half came to an end.
Half time and no changes! As Ballinasloe took to the field and were caught cold as a tackle just outside the box led to a free kick and the ball powered into the net, low to the right of Maloney who was unsighted. Game on and barely 2 minutes gone in the half. This led to some hard tackling now as first Woods headed away and then Evason's sliding challenge whipped the ball away to set up Shane Duffy whose influence was really growing on the game and as Ballinasloe steadied the ship it was Richardson who powered away only to be brought down to earn the visitors a free. Shane Duffy played the ball out to Mark Duffy, he passed and it was Richardson's shot that went over the bar from distance to really bring the game to Balla once again as another free kick on 67 minutes, this time taken by Cullen, whose exquisite lofted ball sailed into the box and was finished off by the team captains head much to the chagrin of the keeper who lambasted his defence for this lapse making it 2-1 to The Town.
Again Balla responded drawing Maloney into another save as Woods blocked to stop another shot on target and from the clearance the ball was hit in again and the Balla forward headed high over the bar. With Shane Duffy now winning his one on ones and encouraging all around him he won yet another challenge as he passed to Kenny who moved forward driving the ball forward to Cullen whose clever pass moved the ball to Richardson and through Grehan, through to Mark Duffy whose shot deflected into the keepers safe grateful hands. With the pace never letting up Clogher made way on 76 minutes for Henry Loughnane to make his first appearance of the season as he brought his experience to the fore passing down the wing for Davey Grehan to run into the corner but he was outnumbered and just couldn't get to the ball before the ball was booted back upfield to start another attack. This time it was blocked by Evason and he was sent away by Shane Duffy but the pass was too strong to get onto and Balla came back at Ballinasloe's defence, but despite being under sustained pressure it was The Town who broke away once again as first Cullen's shot was blocked and the ever lively Shane Duffy's follow up lacked power. Again another punt up field and Maloney cleared his lines before another Mark Duffy shot went wide from close in. This was really end to end stuff now as Maloney came out to protect his box clearing to Kenny and he laid it off to Mark Duffy who passed to Cullen and he brought a good save out of the opposition keeper. As the clock ticked down another clearance and the ball broke to an opportunistic Mark Duffy whose 40 yards high shot saw the keeper backtrack and tip over his own bar to safety to give Ballinasloe another corner. From the corner Balla cleared again and pushed forward to try to grab a last gasp equaliser and they almost succeeded as Loughnane was on hand to clear in front of goal and the Balla forward pulled the trigger again but hit wide just as the linesman flagged for offside much to the home teams consternation to end the game as The Town celebrated.
With a win like this comes 3 well earned points, Ballinasloe were excellent first half, they lost their way a bit after the early concession of the equalizer but that momentary wobble was steadied by a combination of the back five including the keeper being strong and they were protected by Shane Duffy whose constant encouragement to his team mates and running is one of this teams most unsung but important assets, Ballinasloe have outlets in Mark Duffy's experience and Cullen's insightful passing and this blend of experience is bringing dividends this season as the season almost reaches the half way point.
BALLINASLOE TOWN - maloney, evason, woods, clogher, richardson, s.duffy, cullen, kenny, m.duffy, grehan, loughnane
RICHARDSON VOLLEY BREACHES CASTLEREA'S DEFENCE
BALLINASLOE TOWN 1-0 CASTLEREA CELTIC (fai cup rd4)
Wintery weather conditions forced this match to have a late venue change as home advantage was switched to the Curragh grounds in Ballinasloe Town in this 4th Round FAI Cup tie. With this always going to be a tight game against the RDFL Champions it was Ballinasloe who were on the back foot after only 2 minutes as a Castlerea attack almost gave them an early reward but was snuffed out by an excellent defensive tackle from the Ballinasloe
Town captain. With a dangerous Canavan cross almost getting a flick on from Ballinasloe Town striker Mark Duffy after 4 minutes it promised to be a tough night for both teams.
With Castlerea making the early running it was left to Padraigh Maloney to parry a shot on 8 minutes that was unleashed from distance and to smother another chance from close in on 10 minutes. Then an audacious lob from Mark Duffy almost gave the break through to the home side but the Castlerea keeper was up to the challenge. Then an excellent move saw the trio of Treacy, McCormack and Canavan all combining well to carve out another
chance that McCormack unfortunately couldn’t connect with any power, with more attacks from the visitors building momentum an Evason hooked clearance moved danger away from Maloney’s goal as Shane Duffy’s sliding challenge won the ball to send McCormack away with the ball but his unfortunate slip in the pouring rain saw the momentum of the attack break down as once again Cullen wasted no time in tidying up in midfield to send another pass down the wing for Shane Duffy to run on to, to whip in a cross but again no one was on the end of it.
Then another Maloney one handed save tipped the ball over the bar to rescue the Town from going one down and from the resultant corner Ballinasloe broke with Egan clearing to Canavan who ran with the ball to lay it off to McCormack whose pass once again found a marauding Egan and his cross eluded Cullen as it agonisingly flew past the goal line.
Another attack as Evason played the ball down the line as first Treacy found the ball laying it off to Shane Duffy and a chance as McCormack received the ball and turned and shot wide on 38 minutes, Castlerea retaliated but couldn’t make the break through as a shot was stopped by an impervious Woods who bravely blocked the ball from just inside the box, then an excellent chance as a McCormack free kick had the visitors keeper tipping over the bar and from the following corner McCormack set up Canavan for another chance that went close.
Half Time and with chances on target for the home side at a premium a change as Mark Richardson came on as sub to try to unlock the Castlerea defence and with Cullen shooting wide on 48 minutes it was the super sub who broke the deadlock on 55 minutes following good work from Canavan and McCormack on the wing and the cross when it came in was finished on the volley from inside the box to great relief and celebration on the side line as the game had become tense before the goal arrived with niggles on the pitch not helping the mood of the assembled crowd who had braved the wind and the rain which had just about subsided at this stage.
With Cullen sitting in front of the back four his defensive duties took on a more important role as Castlerea threw everything at the Ballinasloe Town lines, but his decisive passing from the middle set up Ballinasloe attacks with firstly McCormack crossing for M.Duffy and Richardson returning the favour for McCormack but to no avail as accuracy was at a premium tonight. On 68 minutes another incisive Cullen pass through the middle to Mark Duffy saw him battling for the ball as he was tackled on the edge of the box but the resultant free kick was high and wide.
With more subs from both sides now on the pitch, Castlerea went three at the back and continued to press, then a close penalty call was waved away by the referee much to the relief of the home crowd on 82 minutes and Cullen moved forward with the loose ball to place another cross into the box that wasn’t converted. As the game entered its last few minutes more desperation as Castlerea went one on one with Maloney who showed his mettle to retrieve the ball from the attacker after a decent shot was saved. With fine defensive displays from Shane Duffy, Maloney and Woods to name just a few across the park it was Cullen who seemed to stifle the Castlerea forwards especially in the second half as nothing really got through him and with his confidence growing in his back four he was able to set up attacks from his “libero” position.
An excellent win against a good footballing side which will give Ballinasloe confidence in their own abilities especially from the blend of experience and younger players who are growing in stature and reputation each week.
Ballinasloe Town-Maloney, Egan, Woods, Evason, S.Duffy, Treacy, Cullen, Canavan, M.Duffy, McCormack, Richardson, Nee, Grehan, O’Leary
MARKS WONDER STRIKE SHARES THE POINTS
BALLINASLOE TOWN 'A' 1-1 MOORE UNITED
x1 Mark Duffy
Well what can we say, this match wasn't so much a feast of football but more of a menu that contained a spicy starter, a firey main course and a somewhat slow melting dessert that was shared equally by both protagonists at the end. From the outset as early as the 5th minute former Town player Darragh Concannon had Maloney saving at full stretch as the custodian was called into action early parrying the ball away for Woods to clear upfield. Then an Egan free given after a counter attack had a lively McCormack flashing a shot wide on 10 minutes, then the first talking point on 13 minutes as a Jordan O'Leary tackle was judged to be late and the referee didn't hesitate to flash the red cardto reduce the home side to 10 men. With this set back chances were going to be at a premium for 'The Town' as a McCormack chance went begging on 20 minutes and the game became more of a defensive action as first Evason was called in to clear his lines with an excellent header when under pressure from two Moore attackers and a superb Joe Woods tackle on 23 minutes set up the ball for Treacy to build from the back feeding Cullen whose run promised more as the keeper smothered the ball just in time. As Moore increased the tempo Maloney was called into action to punch clear and Cullen once again passed to Shane Duffy laying it off to very lively Eoin McCormack whose good work saw Mark Duffy shoot over the bar on 33 minutes. The sending off had Ballinasloe playing a defensive game trying to hit Moore on the break but despite the ball constantly coming back the final shot from the visitors was certainly being marshaled well by the Town's defence who seemed to soak up each attack and it became a much more even game when Moore were reduced to 10 men also as former Town player Darragh Concannon was deemed to have gone flying into a tackle studs up and the referee once again showed the red card. But as football is such a funny old game as the final minutes counted down and Shane Duffy and Woods both had chances to score it was Moore United who took the lead from a deflected free kick in the last few moments of the half and could have gone 2 up if it hadn't been for Maloney's superb diving stop from a long pot shot from a Moore attack. So half time and what could Ballinasloe do to get back into the game after being under pressure from the 13th minute?
A lively start from both sides as firstly Egan slid a ball away on the edge of the box to safety and with Woods and Evason covering any through balls and Maloney making a good save on 54 minutes it was Treacy and Shane Duffy who started moving the ball around the middle of the park to exert their authority as once again McCormack full of running ran into a wall of defenders laying the ball off to to Mark Duffy who hit the ball first time like a rocket from 35 yards out and it crashed in off the post leaving the keeper flat footed unable to deal with it to send Ballinasloe into wild celebrations after getting back into the match. Game on. With this impetus Egan on one of his forward runs passed to Cullen whose mishit shot flew wide and from the throw in possession won once again as another Cullen run was stopped by the quick thinking Moore keeper to the rescue. With the game continuing the Ballinasloe management made a change to freshen the game up and to keep players on the pitch as a couple of yellows had been dished out previously and the officials were very much in danger of adding to this tally with some decisions not going down too well with both sets of supporters.
77 minutes in and more controversy as a shot come cross was whipped into the box and it hit the Moore defender as he moved his bent elbow towards the ball but no penalty. With the game threatening to boil over with the ref coming over to have a chat with the bench it really was end to end stuff now as sub Grehan found Cullen who just couldn't muster the shot on target this time as another Maloney save from a Moore United break down field showed that this game could go either way in the dying minutes. Indeed an Ethan Keogh break away for Moore saw him one on one with Maloney whose excellent stop from point blank range was a game saver in the 86th minute and the Moore Utd keepers save a minute later was a similar instance of what may have been for both sides. Then just as the game looked like it was over, a foul, then a ref's whistle and then Egan punched the ball away and he was booked for a second bookable offence to be shown another yellow then a red to much consternation from the crowd and ended a game that was full of passion, controversy, excellent goals and some solid defending. A point saved that probably doesn't help either side with Ballymoe flying at the moment but still a lot to play for as the season approaches its half way stage with plenty of more points up for grabs.
Team - maloney, egan, woods, evason, cullen, o'leary, treacy, s.duffy, mccormack, m.duffy, grehan, richardson, j.kelly, hope,
BRAZUKA'S BAZOOKERED IN BALLINASLOE !
BALLINASLOE TOWN 'A' 4-0 BRAZUKAS - RDFL
A lively game from both teams that saw an energetic Brazuka's come to Ballinasloe to play football, indeed the early stages of the match saw a couple of excellent Padraig Maloney saves from close range that kept up his recent good form between the sticks. When Egan was called into a sliding challenge after 7 minutes to clear an early Brazukas attack the pattern was set from an early stage as the visitors pushed for an opening goal, however this left them vulnerable at the back as a Shane Duffy long pass found namesake Mark who chased the ball down only for the keeper to clear the bouncing ball. On 12 minutes another wave of yellow and green shirts moved forward and an excellent shot from range saw an even better one handed save tipped over the bar to safety by the Ballinasloe Number One. Then from the cleared corner the ball was moved to Egan whose inviting pass saw Shane Duffy taken down as he tried to latch onto the ball to give the home side a bit of a breather and a very welcome penalty, which was once again like last week 'finished with aplomb'!
One up and a bit against the run of play as Ballinasloe started to get more into the game gaining confidence from the opening goal. Another Egan free as Woods headed over from just outside the 6 yard box and then Shane Duffy picked up the resultant goal kick to pass to forward Mark Duffy who saw his run through blocked by the gathering keeper who picked up the ball and sent it straight out straight to Cullen who took a touch, turned and bury it into the net to make it 2 nil from the goalkeepers error. Brazukas were still a threat as a couple of wild potshots followed shortly afterwards but nothing like the quality of the shots that had rained down on Maloney's goal in the first ten minutes of the game. Then the bustling challenge of Kenny paid dividends who never gave up and won the ball in the box to lay it off to Mark Duffy who got his name on the score sheet to get the third for Ballinasloe Town as the game was effectively over bar a storming come back from the Brazilians. As the game came to the break the pattern of play was established as Ballinasloe kept probing to score another as the visitors were left with long range shots for the most part of the game with most being off target despite good build up play.
Three subs at half time as the Gaffer was thinking about the Moore Utd game on Monday and its early midday kick off, with these extra fresh legs Ballinasloe moved forward once again with sub O'Leary perhaps picking the wrong option as he ran into the box and attempted to beat the keeper at his near post with the ball rebounding off the keeper to safety. Another run as another sub McCormack's deft turn, drag back and swivel and lay off to Jordan O'Leary saw Ballinasloe searching for another as the home side turned the screw and as a Canavan shot flew over the bar on the hour, this was going to be some half for Brazukas to hold out.
On 70 minutes an excellent Woods challenge saw danger averted only for McCormack to challenge for the ball and an over enthusiastic challenge from a Brazuka's player was penalised with a red card to reduce them to 10 men. More momentum for the Town who were playing in their blue change strip as an Evason pass to Canavan then to McCormack found Grehan who laid it off to Shane Duffy who got his deserved goal just before the last ten minutes just inside the box and as a McCormack lofted effort over the keeper just missed the target the game came to its inevitable conclusion as another long pass from defence played just ahead of Grehan could have paid dividends but for the Brazuka's keepers quick reactions. As the game ended a word to Brazuka's who kept playing despite the scoreline and a word to Ballinasloe who seem to be playing some good football themselves and have a strong and resilient panel of players to select from but they will face a tougher game this coming Monday at noon.
team - maloney, egan, woods, treacy, cullen, canavan, d.nee, k.kenny, s.duffy, m.duffy, j.kelly, o'leary, mccormack, evason, grehan,
MARVELOUS MALONEY MAKES A STAND
BALLYMOE 1-2 BALLINASLOE (FAI JR CUP RD 3)
Be in no doubt this was a tough game that perhaps should have been wrapped up by the visitors based on the number of chances that fell to
Ballinasloe earlier before Ballymoe staged a storming fight back to leave Ballinasloe both relieved but also ecstatic at the final whistle. The match
began with Ballinasloe bringing the game to their hosts with Cullen doing good work down the left of the pitch in the first few minutes crossing to
Shane Duffy who couldn't connect with the pass, a corner followed with a shot from just on the edge of the box sailing over the bar. With David Nee
starting to influence the game early on, back from injury that has kept him out for a number of weeks, it was he who had a long range shot from
distance on 10 minutes to trouble the opposition goal but it was blocked by a Ballymoe hand that had the ref pointing to the spot instinctively and this
was slotted home with aplomb to give Ballinasloe the lead. With Ballinasloe building from the back it was an Evason pass down the wing that Cullen
raced onto but his superb cross flashed across the Ballymoe goal with no one able to connect with it, another attack and then another headed effort was gratefully collected by the Ballymoe custodian as the referee had to calm down a few mini battles going on the pitch as the match progressed.
As Ballinasloe tightened up their passing around the middle of the park Shane Duffy found Gary Canavan but his wild header went wide on 27 minutes and this was followed up with another Cullen cross and another effort headed wide which perhaps should have been converted. Then another chance on 38 minutes as this time Gary Canavan had an effort blocked when one on one with the keeper and the resultant rebound fell to a tireless Mark Duffy who couldn't control from close in and his effort squirmed away from the left hand side of the goal. As the half time approached the tackling of Treacy was bringing dividends as the game entered a more scrappy phase with David Nee having another shot from distance which flew over the bar just before halftime.
Half time arrived and the hospitality shown by Ballymoe really was a lot friendlier in the clubhouse than that on the pitch! A special mention to all the people running the club the facilities are excellent and the refreshments very much welcomed as the temperature dropped outside, the club seems to be going places. Back to the match.......
No changes at half time as early on a Gary Egan defensive header cleared the danger down the middle, the ball falling to Kenny whose shot was off target from distance. This was followed by a couple of long range Ballymoe shots the first being well smothered by Padraig Maloney and the second going high over his bar on the hour, with Ballymoe coming into the game more Ballinasloe were still able to probe the hosts defence as another pass down the wing from Evason found Cullen who laid it off to Egan who had stayed up the pitch and his cross whipped across the penalty box as goal mouth action became a bit more of a premium for the next ten minutes with Ballymoe once more having a long range effort comfortably held by Maloney. This was the calm before the storm as on 75 minutes a fantastic double save from the Ballinasloe keeper had the crowd scratching their collective heads as another follow up save reminded us of his heroics against Mervue last season. Then a Ballinasloe goal as Canavan and Shane Duffy played their way out from the corner of the pitch with a one two and the ball was crossed to Cullen who passed the ball into the net to give Ballinasloe a deserved 2 nil lead and a deserved goal for Cullen who had been full of running all day. Two up and once again the defence held firm as another Egan header cleared his lines and yet another Evason ball down the line found Canavan who twisted and turned to deliver a powerful drive into the box which found Cullen whose shot was blocked and cleared. Last five minutes of normal time as another super save from close in from Maloney tipped over his bar as Ballymoe pushed for a goal and a super save from the resultant corner once again but Ballymoe conspired to grab a headed goal from another corner a minute later which could have been better defended and led to a nervous last few minutes as Ballymoe forced another corner and Kenny headed out powerfully to quell any danger. With the ref looking at his watch and then putting his whistle to his mouth to signal the end of the match Ballinasloe knew this had been their toughest game all season but had come through it unscathed and in the ascendancy for most of the game, the defence had held firm with Maloney shading the man of the match award with the late flurry of game saving saves and coolness in front of his goal and David Nee having an excellent game despite his supposed lack of match fitness.
Team - Maloney, Evason, Egan, Treacy, S.Duffy, Kenny, Cullen, Canavan, D.Nee, M.Duffy, J.Kelly, C.Kenny, O.Keighrey
CRAIG’S DRIVE GIVES 'THE TOWN' MOMENTUM
MCR FC 0-3 BALLINASLOE TOWN ‘A’ sean fallon park, Sligo 02/10/16
x1 Egan, x1 M.Duffy, x1 C.Keighrey
Ballinasloe A made the trip to Sligo Town to play MCR FC in this very important 2nd Round FAI Junior Cup game. From the kick off Ballinasloe
showed intent as they pushed forward, immediately putting the experienced home defence on the back foot, this was really high pressing
from “The Town” and it paid dividends early on 4 minutes as a through ball saw a rampaging Gary Egan run into the penalty box to slot home to
give the visitors the early lead. With the momentum clearly with the away side it was a couple of long shots that followed from Craig Keighrey and
David Cullen that showed they were not content to sit on a single goal lead, indeed Keighrey had good grounds for complaining as he was pushed in
the box after another good run which should have resulted in a penalty.
On 20 minutes a sliding Evason challenge won the ball and this was switched across the pitch for Ballinasloe to move forward yet again, a passing ball from defence found Clogher running with pace and it was his searching ball into the box with Des Hope getting there first and heading the ball above the keeper and the resultant come down was headed into the net by an opportunistic Mark Duffy to extend the lead to a very much deserved 2 nil. With MCR now being restricted to pot shots from distance it was Craig Keighrey up front with his energetic running that was causing constant problems providing an outlet for Egan to get forward at every opportunity. On 30 minutes and another goal after more tackling from Shane Duffy feeding Mark Duffy through to Cullen who crossed for Egan to lay on the ball to a waiting Craig Keighrey who finally got his goal from close in. This was no more than they deserved as each attack was being orchestrated from midfield as another Evason tackle swiped the ball from an MCR forward who in turn laid it on to Keighrey whose pass was shot wide from Cullen from distance. The half continued with the Ballinasloe Town defence holding firm and pressing forward in search of another goal with an Evason lob setting up Cullen whose shot went narrowly wide. Egan was unlucky not to get another as the keeper made another stop as another through ball from Evason to Keighrey saw his lay off to Kenny stopped as he hit a wall of MCR defenders as the half drew to a close with the visitors 3 goals to the good.
The second half begun pretty much as it ended with excellent chances from Egan and Cullen and the defence of Ballinasloe Town holding firm as first Hope tackled as MCR looked for a penalty from the referee who waved play on, then Evason’s sliding challenge snuffed out a raid down the wing.With Craig Keighrey still full of running his pass to Egan saw his low drive saved by the MCR custodian from just at the edge of the box on 53 minutes. As the game progressed the home side seemed to take heart from all these missed chances and came more into the game and Maloney’s cool head saw him comfortably save as an MCR forward got through on 68 minutes only to hit it too well, straight at the keeper. With Shane Duffy and Ken Kenny now patrolling the midfield they were working hard to stop attacks coming down the middle now as MCR pushed to get their elusive goal.
Another attack was snuffed out by Des Hopes quick wits setting up Cormac Clogher to move forward then pass to Craig Keighrey who received the ball and after dropping the shoulder to body feint the defender his shot was blasted wide which was unfortunate as this move deserved a goal. With another shot from Shane Duffy being parried by the home keeper it was the midfield winning a lot of ball as the game entered a more physical phase as a Mark Duffy shot forced another save on 75 minutes and he shot wide shortly after. As the game entered its last few minutes the game had become more of an even game in the second half and the hosts should be applauded playing themselves back into the game but even when they got chances they were unable to get past Padraig Maloney who was on hand just at the death to save from point blank range. Overall a really good away day against a decent team who have been scoring goals but Ballinasloe’s intensity on the day was evident from the off and if they keep this side of the game up then more rewards will come their way as the season progresses.
Team- Padraig Maloney, Patric Evason, Des Hope, Cormac Clogher, Shane Duffy, Kenneth Kenny, David Cullen, Gary Egan, Mark Duffy, Craig Keighrey, Subs used Joby Kelly, Conor Kenny, Joe Woods.
TREACY HOT SHOT SEALS VICTORY
St Johns 1-3 Ballinasloe 'A'
x1 M.Duffy, x1 Grehan x1 Treacy
Killoy, Lecarrow 18/09/16
A netting issue held up the start of this match and as the St Johns groundstaff rectified the situation it led to the kick off being delayed for 10 minutes which didn't seem to trouble the visiting Ballinasloe Town team who began the game in a determined manner. A rampaging run from left back Gary Egan set the tempo for the game as his shot on 3 minutes saw the St John's defence gratefully put the ball out for a corner and then the St John's custodian punched the ball out from the resultant Egan corner. With Ballinasloe tightening their grip on the game a Cullen shot from distance on 10 minutes kept the pressure on with another close shot with Shane Duffy just striking wide. Then the breakthrough on 12 minutes as another Egan inswinger from a corner was met perfectly by Mark Duffy's head and he directed it into the gap between the despairing home defence to put the visitors into a very much deserved 1 nil lead. With 'The Town' pushing forward another shot this time by Kenny operating in midfield from distance went wide on 14 minutes and
with Maloney's goal being rarely under attack it was him who sent a long ball over the St John's defence that Cullen was harshly flagged offside for. On 22 mnutes David Grehan had a glorious chance to put Ballinasloe Town 2 up stabbing just wide from close in and this was followed by an excellent Treacy cross that Shane Duffy hit over the bar, this was a game that Ballinasloe Town needed to score a second to reap the rewards of their ongoing attacking presence but as often happens in some games a period of St John's possession saw the 'boys in blue' take heart at being only one nil down and they began to exert more pressure and it was a grateful Ballinasloe team who were happy to get to the break still having the single goal lead after a good 10 minutes from St Johns which saw a tame Mark Duffy header dealt with and an athletic Maloney save when trying to be chipped at the edge of his box being a few 'Town' highlights as St Johns dominated til the turn around.
The second half kicked off to sporadic rain as St Johns kept going for the equalizer as Ballinasloes previous exertions seemed to be catching up with one or two of the lads and just as they were gathering momentum a foolish handball from one of the St John's attackers as he went for a ball in the box saw him receive a second yellow to reduce their side to ten men. Not that it discouraged them much as a Maloney punch out kept the keepers goal intact and once again he was called into action to cut out another dangerous attack, indeed this was Maloney's busiest game so far and he had to be alert but he couldn't do too much about the St John's equalizer on the hour mark when it came, as another home side attack saw their Number 11's sublime low drilled shot curl into the Ballinasloe net passing Maloneys outstretched dive. Game on.
Just when you thought the momentum was with St Johns, the goal only seemed to antagonize the visitors, who sprung into life and literally 3 minutes later a smart through ball saw Grehan latch onto the ball and he stabbed it home after taking a steadying touch to wrong foot the keeper. This was followed again by a Mark Duffy header who was certainly putting in a shift up front and he was unlucky to add another as good work from Grehan saw him shoot narrowly wide in the 70th minute. This really was a case of a team wakening up after conceding a goal as they began to exert their influence once again and with fresh momentum the 'Town' brought the game to their hosts who seemed to go back into their shells as Ballinasloe tightened the screw with a smart Evason through ball seeing Mark Duffy being called offside to the consternation of the Ballinasloe support. But this chagrin didn't last long as a Shane Treacy thunderbolt from just inside the right hand side of the St Johns penalty box burst the net and put daylight between the teams. This was just reward for a never die attitude from the team and just reward for a combative performance from Shane Treacy who kept plugging away all afternoon. Another attack this time from Clogher moving into a more forward position was snuffed out but the resultant ball fell to Evason whose shot was unfortunately blocked by Mark Duffy just on the edge of the box. As the game edged towards its inevitable end it was all Ballinasloe possession as they professionally saw out the game combining one or two more half chances as the referee signalled the end of the game.
Team- Maloney, Egan, Clogher, Hope, Woods, Treacy, Cullen, Kenny, S.Duffy, Grehan, M.Duffy. Sub Used Evason
ATTACKING AND DEFENSIVE LAPSES COST THE BEE'S
x1 Michael Kelly, x1 Warren Coyne (pen)
BALLINASLOE 'B' 2-4 LOUGHGLYNN
The Curragh Grounds 17/09/16
Wayne Coyne's charges were hoping to bounce back from last weeks opening game and with a home game and decent support the game started off brightly with good possession leading to some intelligent play from Coyne feeding Craig Keighrey who in turn set up a half chance for Mike Kelly but he was unable to get a clean strike on the ball as Ballinasloe had the best of the early proceedings, with the midfield feeding an energetic Owen Keighrey for him to push forward, it was his final ball that was hit too strong and over the head of Evason and Lynch who was enjoying a brief forward run from defence following a corner. With a lot of possession and not too many chances it was an in swinging cross that eventually saw Evason twist, turn and leap highest as his free header went over the bar, with Owen Keighrey finding space on the wing once again his energy propelled him forward as the Loughglynn rear guard once again managed to thwart another attack sending the ball long for their forwards to chase with Lynch heading out once again
for Craig Keighrey to bring the ball forward, but there was no way forward as biting tackles hampered any flow to the game. Then a through ball and a pass into the box had three Ballinasloe players running to finish and Evason agonizingly put it over the bar from close in. Just when it looked like Ballinasloe had the measure of the visitors a long pass and a run saw their forward in acres of space as he hit it first time and it flew past Finnerty's left
hand side into the net, this was effectively Loughglynns first attack of real note but it was a good finish nonetheless. As the game came to a break the managers words would be vital in picking the team up for the second half. However the promise of a good solid start was unfortunately undone by a defensive lapse that saw the visitors in black & white take a two nil lead as the ball was put in the net. Recovery was going to be hard especially with Loughglynn sensing another goal as the visitors began to find their range and turn the screw and another bounce saw hesitation in the defence as another goal was added as Ballinasloe waited for a flag that never came and added to this a penalty to give the visitors an unassailable lead despite a late rally with a brave Kelly somehow connecting with a long ball into the box diverting the ball into the net on the goal line to grab a goal for the hosts and give hope especially with Coyne adding a penalty to give the final score a more respectable look despite it being an uphill battle especially for most of the second half. The team will certainly improve with the strength of spirit in the group that was evident on the night and certainly a bit of luck in front of goal and tightening up at the back will certainly bring this team on in the right direction.
Shane Finnerty, Joseph Kelly, Mike Lynch, Conor Kenny, James Kinsella, David McDonnell, Warren Coyne, Craig Keighrey, Owen Keighrey, Mike Kelly, Patric Evason. Subs Niall Burke, Evan Blake, Padraig Ryan, Lloyd Kelly, Kevin Flannagan, Shane Fallon, Mark Nee, Greg Mannion.
DUFFY BRACE JUST REWARDS FOR AWAY DAY VICTORY
Shiven Rovers 0-4 Ballinasloe Town 'A'
x1 Grehan, x2 M.Duffy, x1 Cullen
There was a lot of pressure on the visitors going into this match with Shiven Rovers knocking Sky Valley for 10 goals last week. With the wind going to be a major factor in the game luckily enough Ballinasloe had the wind to their backs and this was certainly a big help in the first half. From the off Ballinasloe looked efficient in their passing with the midfield probing the Shiven rearguard with a few testing through balls then on 20 minutes following good work from Eoin McCormack scampering into the box twisting and turning his cross was tapped in close in by a grateful David Grehan standing just outside the 6 yard box to give a deserved early lead. The attacking was relentless as yet another attack saw a Mark Duffy effort cleared off the
line, with this pressing style Shiven were trying hard to get back into the game and but for some lenient refereeing were lucky to escape with just one booking following a challenge on young defender Joe Woods who once again looked excellent early doors! Another attack and another corner as a Gary Egan set piece found Mark Duffy to finish past a despairing keeper on 34 minutes to give a 2 nil lead heading into the break and it could have been much worse for the home side as another McCormack chance fromclose in gave Shiven another scare. With the defensive pairing of Hope & Woods
growing an excellent understanding between them and giving the two wingers Shane Duffy and Shane Treacy licence to move forward at every opportunity the half came to an end with Ballinasloe like last week wondering how they had not scored more with the chances created.
As Woods reappeared with a bandaged head despite the wind being against them Ballinasloe continued where they left off with another McCormack chance being snuffed out in the box by an excellent Shiven defensive tackle. With Cullen now finding his range with passing it was winger Shane Duffy who had a shot over the bar as he ran into the box on 55 minutes and with Treacy getting forward at every opportunity Shiven were struggling throughout all departments to cope with their goalkeeper having an excellent game and thwarting some certain goals. On 63 minutes Cullen had an excellent chance following a Grehan pass and from the resultant corner hit his shot over the bar. With some strong tackles going in Shane Duffy went down on 70 minutes nursing a knee and required some treatment before a Duffy cross saw a Grehan effort rebound off the post. At this stage Shiven hadn't had much in the way of attacking play and for the second game Maloney's goal was relatively untroubled throughout the game and just when they thought they had weathered the storm a good run by Mark Duffy saw the defence panic and as the ball was cleared and bounced back outside the penalty box a cool Cullen lifted the ball into an empty net from 30 yards out to put the game beyond doubt, but not before another chance saw another lofted ball over the defence who hesitated as they waited for a linesmans flag as Evason ran back from an offisde position and a grateful Mark Duffy ran onto the ball to bury it in the net to put a gloss on the scoreline.
Team - Maloney, Clogher, Woods, Hope, Egan, Treacy, Cullen, S.Duffy, Grehan, M.Duffy, McCormack. Subs Used - Kenny, Evason
Unused - Lynch,
WOODWORK FRUSTRATES 'THE TOWN'
Ballinasloe Town A 1-1 Ballaghdereen
x1 Des Hope
The Curragh Grounds 03/09/16
It was a frustrating night on the opening day of the season at The Curragh Grounds last Friday night (3rd Sept 2016) as Ballinasloe came away with a
point from a game that could so easily have been sealed at half time. An expectant gathering came to see what would be Henry Loughnane's second
term in charge and from the off they weren't disappointed as Ballinasloe brought the game to Ballaghdereen from the start. With David Cullen
showing some nice touches early on it was the home team who looked in the ascendancy as he was unlucky not to get off the mark with a speculative
effort which cannoned off the post leaving the keeper stranded. The follow up was hacked away by a grateful visitors defence who looked a little
nervous as the pace of the game picked up. Another darting run from Shane Duffy who was chasing everything down and biting into tackles gave another chance to 'The Town' but once again the post saved the day. With Mark Duffy now being the fulcrum of the attack his experience stood him in good stead as he kept probing the Ballaghdereen defence with his running and intelligent play and he was unlucky as he also hit the woodwork which left the expectant crowd wondering if this was going to be one of those games? With the end of the half approaching and darkness beginning to descend it was left to Des Hope to rise highest from a lofted ball to head past a despairing keeper to give Ballinasloe a somewhat deserved lead going into the half time break.
With the second half under way the game started to enter into something of a lull as Ballaghdereen seemed to have left their shooting boots at home and owing to some wayward shooting Maloney in goal was finding himself redundant for long periods in the game but he was alert enough when called upon to clean up a rare foray into his box as the game entered its last 20 minutes. Ballinasloe were also finding chances hard to come by as Ballaghdereen began to get a foothold in the game but as Ballinasloe pushed forward Canavan did play in a screamer of a cross that was too quick for striker Mark Duffy to connect to and this agonizingly squirmed away from the goal from close in.
As the game went into the last five minutes the home side didn't clear a cross into the box and it thumped of a defenders shin to rebound into the net to give Ballaghdereen a fortunate equalizer and what proved to be a point on the night. Based on possession and chances on the night Ballinasloe should have been 4 nil up at half time without really hitting any sort of rhythm but in fairness to the visitors they never gave up despite their profligacy in front of goal and when the goal did arrive albeit an own goal they had played themselves back into the game slowly but surely. With newly promoted Shiven Rovers next up for Senior A, Ballinasloe will have to be at the top of their game to get points in Newbridge but with a little bit more luck and the first game under their belt they should be expected to up their game on Sunday. On the night young Joe Woods as Centre Half looked like he will get lot of game time this season despite the defence conceding an own goal late on, Shane Duffy was involved in a lot of play on the night winning most of his one on one battles and Mark Duffy up front had a really good busy game that should have been rewarded with a goal or two on the night.
Team-Maloney, Clogher, Woods, Hope, Egan, Canavan, Treacy, Cullen, S.Duffy, Grehan, M.Duffy. Sub Used - Evason Unused - Kenny, Lynch, Keighrey, Fallon.
FAI CLUB OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEE 2018
2016/17 SENIOR MATCH REPORTS