Ballaghaderreen too hot for Curry in second-half show
Even so, the Ballagh’ rearguard had a hectic first half hour. Curry’s attacking game was simple and effective, with their towering full-forward David Maye employed as the weapon-in-chief. He didn’t disappoint, clipping the Sligo men’s opening point and then claiming a fine long ball from Cathal Brennan and cooly working a gap through which to slide a fine right-footed shot past Ballagh’s Ollie Flanagan.
Twice more the Curry side threatened Ballagh’s goal and when Seán Davey initiated a brisk counter-attack before half-time Ballagh’s Stephen Maher cleared Jason Marren’s shot off the line. Curry paid for that miss and for the six wides they chalked up during their dominant period.
Adrian Marren’s performance never dipped and Kenny Morley had a terrific game for Curry but as a team, they had no response to Ballaghaderreen’s sudden shift of tempo.
With David Kilcullen the latest addition to Ballaghaderreen’s extensive injury list, their squad gets thinner.
The sight of Andy Moran, their injured playmaker, delightedly congratulating his team-mates was a reminder of how well the side has responded to his absence. They play an attractive brand of football and once they took control of the match, they didn’t let up, with Stephen Drake, the team captain, enjoying a storming second half from corner back.
But if they offer Frankie Dolan and company the kind of chances they gave up to Curry in the first half of this match, they will pay for it dearly in the Connacht final in a fortnight.
BALLAGHADERREEN: O Flanagan; S Drake, K Rogers (0-1), T Regan; P Kelly (0-1), D Drake, P Rogers; B Kelly (0-2), J Kilcullen (1-1); O Jordan, A Hanley, S Finn; M Tyrell (0-1), B Regan (0-8, five frees), J Dillon (0-1). Subs: R Conway for P Rogers (23 mins), C Doohan for M Tyrell (53 mins), B Solan for J Dillon (60 mins).
CURRY: J O’Hora; K Morley, S Marren, A Brennan; S Maher, J Feeney, D McDonagh; B McDonagh, S Davey; C Brennan, A Marren (0-4, two frees), N McDonagh; C Brennan (0-1), D Maye (1-1), J Marren (0-1 free). Subs: E Marren for S Maher (half time) M Gordon for C Brennan (52 mins), G Maye for B McDonagh (57 mins).
Referee: E O’Grady (Leitrim).