Ballinagh 0-15 Denn 1-7
Ballinagh got their senior championship campaign off to a winning start this afternoon with a comfortable win over Denn at Kingspan Breffni Park.
Niall McDermott weighed in with no less than 0-8 for the winners, while Gumley had half that tally from open play, as they hit form 10 minutes in to stack up a lead which their opponents, whom looked a shadow of the side which dismantled Drumgoon, couldn't overturn.
The game's only goal after 20 minutes was, truthfully, about all that kept Denn in with an outside chance, as McDermott's sound free-taking, along with Ballinagh's ability to dictate big minutes in the game, saw Ballinagh over the line with minimal fuss.
It took 35 seconds for Thomas Edward Donohoe to get Denn up and running, but their neighbours had their first lead within three minutes via a McDermott free and Colin Gumley clipping over off his left boot.
Donohoe levelled from a free before the 2013 champions took off with McDermott putting them on the right path. The Cavan senior star landed two frees and another brace from play before his fourth dead ball had the men in saffron five to the good after 20 minutes.
It was a costly spell for Denn, whom did their best to recover when Colin Kiernan steamed towards the posts from centre-forward and sent the ball low under Declan Beard to the Ballinagh net.
Bernard Morris's men soon wiped out the major however, as Gumley, Eamon McEvoy and McDermott (free) kept the umpire's arm busy at the town end.
Ben Conaty pulled back a sorely needed score for Denn just before half-time but it could well have been curtains for the Crosskeys side had seasoned campaigner Brian Boylan not guessed right to stop McDermott's penalty from hitting the net.
That sent the sides in at 0-11 to 1-3 and Denn with plenty to mull over.
A Conaty free early on in the restart was the right response for the maroons, but they continued to allow their opponents to keep them at bay as great work from Thomas Moore and McEvoy sent Sean Keating through for his single and Gumley's third left them worse off.
Brave work from Conaty around the 40 eventually earned a free for Dean Hyland to point. The signs that it had already slipped away for Denn were so very evident though, as Gumley upped his personal tally to four and David Finnegan sailed over from the left to take away two Conaty frees, leaving Ballinagh with five to spare and a deserved win.
Ballinagh: Declan Beard; Fergus Bogue, Patrick Carroll, Killian McBride; Damien McInerney, Niall O'Reilly, Philip Bogue; Padraic O'Reilly, Thomas Moore; Kevin Smith, David Finnegan (0-1), Eamon McEvoy (0-1); Colin Gumley (0-4), Niall McDermott (0-8, 5f), Sean Keating (0-1). Subs: Gavin Smith for P O'Reilly (46mins), Cathal Bogue for N O'Reilly (55).
Denn: Brian Boylan; Bernard Galligan, Adrian Cahill, Andrew Cusack-Smith; Martin Cahill, Damien Callaghan, Michael Gaffney; Tomas Corr, Stephen McPartland; Bernard Gaffney, Colin Kiernan (1-0), Dean Hyland (0-1, 1f); Thomas Edward Donohoe (0-2, 1f), Ben Conaty (0-4, 3f), Brandon Keogan. Subs: Aidan McKiernan for B Keogan (19mins), Cavell Keogan for A McKiernan (25, BC), Cormac Cusack-Smith for B Gaffney (45).
Ref: James Clarke (Killinkere)Tweet