Saints struggle with Ballivor's pace and power
They won't want to be labelled as such but Ballivor have to be considered strong favourites for the JFC after a powerhouse display against St Ultan's today that saw them run out winners, 4-17 to 0-10, in a lob-sided semi-final encounter.
There was nothing fortunate or over-stated about the final scoreline. If anything Ballivor could have added another goal or two as they cut open the St Ultan's defence at will in the second-half.
Granted St Ultan's couldn't raise their game, apart from brief flourishes, and were already in deep trouble at the interval when they trailed 0-4 to 1-9.
The movement, the skill, the combination play of Ballivor was at times breathtaking with nine of their players getting on the scoresheet.
Kevin McKeon fired home the opening goal and the impressive Brendan McKeon added the second from the penalty spot early in the second-half after David Conneely was hauled down in the square.
As Ballivor turned the screw in the second-half they added two more goals scored by Nickey Potterton and Killian Canavan.
The team managed by John Rafferty and James McNally were up for this game racing into an early lead they never relinquished - or never remotely looked like relinquishing.
The pace of players like Kevin McKeon, Adam Gannon and Potterton caused all sorts of problems for the St Ultan's defence. Between them those three players alone registered 3-9 as their side proceeded to dominate affairs.
St Ultan's kept battling against the odds with Paul Murray hitting four points the same amount Mark Allen registerd, all from play. The strong-running Adam Rogers and Gearoid Rennicks were others to register points but from very early on there was never any doubt what team would be advancing.
Ballivor - Brendan McKeon 1-6 penalty; Kevin McKeon 1-3 free; Adam Gannon 0-4; Nickey Potterton 1-0; Killian Canavan 1-0; Chris Dunne 0-1; David Conneely 0-1; Joseph McLoughlin 0-1; Paudger Geoghegan 0-1.
St Ultan's - Paul Murray 0-4; Mark Allen 0-4; Gearoid Rennicks 0-1 free; Adam Rogers 0-1.
Ballivor - Edward Kirby; Kevin Kelly, David Raleigh, Harry Smyth; Jacob Ryan, Patrick Conneely, Eoin Potterton; Joseph McLoughlin, Keith Keoghan; Chris Dunne, Adam Gannon, David Conneely; Nicky Potterton, Kevin McKeon, Brendan McKeon. Subs - Thomas Raleigh for Potterton, Paudger Geoghegan for McLoughlin both 51 mins, Evan Fitzgerald for Ryan 52m, Gary Sherrock for Kelly 54m.
St Ultan's - Keith Hennessy; Eoghan Monaghan, Sean O Hoireabharid, Luke O'Reilly; Martin Doran, Darren Mallon, Declan Ball; Paul Murray, Gearoid Rennicks; Emmet Costello, Ronan Breslin, Mark Allen; Adam Rogers, Jan Bennett, Lee Hennessy. Subs - Eoin McLoughlin for Monaghan 28 mins, Johnny Foster for Mallon 43m, Ruairi Buchanan for Bennett, Conor Smith for Costello both 51m.