ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
BALLINTEER ST JOHN’S 1-11
BALLYMUN KICKHAMS 0-12
By Daire Walsh
Ballinteer St John’s moved to fourth spot in the Adult Football League Division One table with a hard-fought win over Ballymun Kickhams at Marlay Park on Wednesday night.
Following a run of three consecutive defeats in the top-flight, Ballinteer were desperate for a return to their early season form. They faced a Ballymun side that recently edged out the challenge of defending champions, St Vincent’s, and despite being reduced to 13 men in the latter stages of the contest, they threatened to snatch victory in the dying seconds.
Nevertheless, the Ballinteer rearguard - led superbly throughout by David Devereux - held firm under intense pressure to eventually claim the spoils. The southsiders had been the surprise package during the early rounds of the league, with five consecutive triumphs propelling them to the summit of AFL1.
They subsequently suffered a comprehensive reversal to St Jude’s on May 22, before also falling short to St Brigid’s and current pace-setters Ballyboden St Enda’s. Ballymun’s success at the expense of Vincent’s was their third in the space of four games - the odd one out being a draw with Lucan Sarsfields at 12th Lock.
While they were minus a host of inter-county stars, the Ballymun management were able to call upon the experience of Sean Currie, Alan Hubbard, Davey Byrne, Ted Furman and Jason Whelan. Inside the opening 60 seconds of the action, Byrne found the target after linking up to good effect with wing-forward Fiach Andrews.
Yet, in spite of this positive start, it was Ballinteer who edged in front on four minutes. The hard running of David Devereux provided the hosts with a strong attacking platform and he broke into the Ballymun ’45’ to create an opening.
Rather than opt for a simple tap over point, he instead off-loaded to centre-forward Aodhan Clabby. He expertly fired beyond the reach of Currie to give Ballinteer a perfectly-timed goal. This helped to build serious momentum and Clabby converted a free to create additional daylight between the teams.
The impressive Devereux embarked on another lung-bursting run from deep and was unfortunate to see his goal-bound effort drifting marginally over the crossbar. Eoghan Fitzpatrick added another point on the first-quarter mark as Ballinteer looked to establish a firm foothold on the proceedings.
It was anticipated that Ballymun would produce a response to this scoring blitz and they moved back into contention courtesy of Byrne and Furman (free) points. Nevertheless, Ballinteer maintained their potent threat in the remaining minutes of the half.
The loss of midfielder Robbie Gaughan through injury was a significant blow but thanks to the versatility of full-forward Glenn Whelan, they continued to prosper in the middle-third. Supplementing Sam Tully’s excellent point on the turn, Clabby, Luke Naughton and Aaron Bradshaw also split the posts in quick succession.
This scoring sequence was briefly interrupted by an Anton Swan single and with Hubbard rounding off an incisive team move, Ballymun reduced their deficit to five points (1-7 to 0-5) in time for the interval.
Given the elements were going to be working against them after the break, Ballinteer had reason to be wary of a Ballymun backlash. They initially bolstered their cushion through Naughton’s second point of the day, but this was followed by a long barren spell in front of goal.
Without necessarily cutting loose, the visitors slowly ate into their lead. Fiach Andrews clipped a fine score on the right-wing and Furman later contributed another free for Brendan Hackett’s outfit.
Furman turned provider for a Jason Whelan point on 39 minutes, before his third point of the day left just two between the sides (1-8 to 0-9) in the final-quarter. Even though they were leaking scores to their opponents, Ballinteer dug deep in defence on a number of occasions.
Ballymun substitute Andrew McCaul got inside the cover in the 48th-minute, only to shoot narrowly wide of JB Carthy’s goal. Ballinteer finally got up and running again with a Clabby free - their first score in all of 19 minutes.
Ballymun were preparing themselves for a big finish as Byrne and Furman points cut the gap to the bare minimum (1-9 to 0-11). They received a series of set-backs in the closing stages, however, as red cards for Aaron Elliot and Furman arrived either side of a Swan black card.
This gave Ballinteer a considerable numerical advantage late on and they were on course to prevail when Fearghal Duffy and Fitzpatrick raised white flags at the end of enterprising attacks. Another Byrne point offered hope to Ballymun, though, and a number of direct deliveries into the square kept Ballinteer on their toes.
Try as they might, Ballymun couldn’t muster a game-changing goal and they will now look to bounce back whenthey entertain Skerries Harps next Wednesday. On the same night, Ballinteer travel to Silver Park for a meeting with Kilmacud Crokes.
Scorers - Ballinteer St John’s: Aodhan Clabby 1-3 (0-3f), Eoghan Fitzpatrick, Luke Naughton 0-2 each, David Devereux, Sam Tully, Aaron Bradshaw, Fearghal Duffy 0-1 each. Ballymun Kickhams: Ted Furman (2f), Davey Byrne 0-4 each, Alan Hubbard, Fiach Andrews, Jason Whelan, Anton Swan 0-1 each.
BALLINTEER ST JOHN’S: JB Carthy; Jamie O’Connor, Diarmuid Kennedy, Nicky Devereux; Colm Fitzpatrick, David Devereux, Michael Mitchell; Robbie Gaughan, Eoghan Fitzpatrick; Sam Tully, Aodhan Clabby, Micheal O Croinin; Luke Naughton, Glenn Whelan, Aaron Bradshaw. Subs: Donnacha Carey for Gaughan (16), Fearghal Duffy for O Croinin (39), Sean Smith for C Fitzpatrick (43), Matthew O’Sullivan for Tully (59).
BALLYMUN KICKHAMS: Sean Currie; Daragh Conlon, Alan George, David Bolger; Alan Hubbard, Eoin Dolan, Leon Young; Davey Byrne, Aaron Elliot; Fiach Andrews, Ted Furman, Brian Ashton; Cian Gerrard, Jason Whelan, Anton Swan. Subs: Andrew McCaul for Gerrard (27), Cathal O’Tighe for Swan (65).
Referee: David Sweeney (St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh).