Dunderry ease past poor Ballivor

April 11, 2003
An eight point winning margin and a tally of 22-wides says a lot about Dunderry's dominance over a Ballivor team that is a pale shadow of the side that won the intermediate championship last year. Dunderry 1-14 Ballivor 2-3 Ballivor were under strength for this game as they were forced to line out without Mairtin Doran, Noel Davis, Ciaran Feeney and Tony Fox while a couple of their key men looked to be carrying injuries. Their league form so far this year has been abysmal and it was easy to see why, as they lacked any penetration up front and appeared to throw in the towel long before the final whistle. All that should not take away from Dunderry's performance, for the men in black also had their own absentees in the form of Barry Callaghan and Seamus Harte. This is a new, young Dunderry side. The likes of Tommy Dowd, Sean Kelly, John Brady or the older Newman's are no longer around, and their places are filled by talented young footballers. Against a naive Ballivor side they could afford to make mistakes and get away with them, but stiffer tests lie in wait. The senior newcomers were completely outplayed in the first quarter but through good fortune and Dunderry prolificacy led by three-points early on. Ivan McCormack opened the scoring for Michael McQuillan's side but within 90 seconds they were rocked back on their heals. Fergus McMahon won possession and played a neat ball through which was worked to the onrushing Keith Martin, and the big number 8 made no mistake by blasting to the Dunderry net. Calvin Ryan then sent over a free to leave Ballivor 1-1 to 0-1 ahead. Dunderry then hit six consecutive wides from an assortment of angles, some of which had to be seen to be believed. In fact over the course of the first half hour they were off target on 13 occasions in comparison to just two wides for Ballivor. Dunderry's dominance stemmed from centre field where Stephen O'Rourke made some mighty catches while Ted Dowd's work rate was immense. Keith Callaghan was having a fine game at centre back and his physical tussle with Ballivor centre forward Trevor Smith saw sparks fly, much to the amusement of the large Athboy crowd. The Dunderry supporters were becoming anxious as more good chances were going to waste but they breathed a sigh of relief when Evan Stephens fisted a goal for their side after 15 minutes. Full forward Damien Clarke won possession and as his lofted effort for a point hung in the air, Ballivor 'keeper Ray McKeown unwisely decided to come out near the 14m line to contest the dropping ball. Young Stephens beat him to it and fisted the ball to the net to level the match. The play at this stage was littered with errors and started to get niggly. It seemed as if tempers might overflow but two sending offs by Dunshaughlin referee Jim Smith - who had an excellent game - settled down the match. Play had bypassed Ballivor full forward Damien Mitchell and his marker Kevin Slattery but a dispute broke out between the two. Slattery appeared to be the more sinned against than sinner but he along with Mitchell was issued with a straight red card with only 20-minutes played. Both men shook hands walking off the pitch as they wondered what they had done to deserve such a fate. Ryan pointed Ballivor back ahead on 23-minutes but that was cancelled out by an excellent point from Eamon Howley after he ran 40-yards with the ball. The centre forward got busted for his efforts and had to be replaced by Tomas Doherty before the break. It appeared as though the sides would go in level but three point in first half injury time set down a marker for the second half which Ballivor could not reply to. Anthony Kane finally got a score after four wides with a 13m free while the impressive Clarke scored on the run. A long delivery was then knocked down to Ivan McCormack and the wing forward lofted over a left footed effort. It was a real killer blow for Pat Carey's side who thought they would go in level, but in fairness Dunderry's half time lead should have been double the 1-5 to 1-2 it was. Two quick points from Kane and the impressive Doherty put Dunderry five clear and it seemed they would run away with the tie, but Ballivor hit back with one of the strangest goals ever witnessed in Athboy. A long ball was knocked down in front of Terry Connor who rounded Martin Kelly in the Dunderry goal and appeared to stumble/be tripped (take your pick) and fall over the line with the ball. We all waited for the referee to award a penalty but common sense prevailed and he let the goal stand much to the delight of the large Ballivor support. That left it 2-2 to 1-7 and a comeback looked on the cards. Any such thoughts were quickly snuffed out as six points between the 39th and 48th minutes by the Dunderry forwards signalled the end of Ballivor's challenge. A poor kick out by McKeown was punished by Kane who fired over before Clarke scored his second point of the evening. Trevor Conaty then posted a score before Ivan McCormack knocked over another 30-seconds later. The hard working Doherty scored his second since his introduction on 46-minutes before McCormack hit another simple score. Dunderry were breathtaking during this purple patch and only for their ever-increasing tally of wides, would have blown Ballivor completely out of the water. The game lost all shape in the last ten minutes as Ballivor introduced substitutes and Dunderry tried to play out time. Keith Martin scored Ballivor's first point in 34 minutes when he pointed a free with three minutes remaining, but the last score of the day fell to Ted Dowd who fired between the post from 40 metres out for a much deserved score. The match as a contest never really existed due to the weakness of Ballivor's challenge, and even at this early stage the newly promoted side will have an eye on avoiding relegation. Dunderry for their part looked impressive but drastically need to improve their shooting. In Damien Clarke they had one of the games outstanding performers at no. 14, but they will look forward to Barry Callaghan's return from injury as he will give their attacking unit a balance that should make them a serious force in this year's Navan Shopping Centre SFC. Dunderry - M Kelly; N Howley, K Slattery, P Darcy; C Harte, K Callaghan, G Newman; S O'Rourke, K Dowd 0-1; I McCormack 0-4, E Howley 0-1, T Conaty 0-1; A Kane 0-3, D Clarke 0-2, E Stephens 1-0. Subs - T Doherty 0-2 for E Howley. Ballivor - R McKeown; C Connor, D Davis, D Cunningham; C Dunne, F McMahon, B Perry; K Martin 1-1, D Fagan; P Ryan, T Smith, David Mitchell; C Ryan 0-2, Damien Mitchell, T Connor 1-0. Subs: J Keogh for Davis, P Feeney for Ryan, J Mitchell for T. Connor.

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