Carrick Swans resurrected their championships hopes in the Glanbia Senior hurling championship with a four point victory over Ballingarry in Fethard on Saturday evening last.
The first half was spoiled by torrential rain that made life difficult for players match officials and the large attendance present. However, in the true spirit of the games the show went on and with the skies clearing to some extent for the second half the game opened up and provided excellent entertainment and an exciting finish.
They say that goals win games and that was borne out in this game where Swan notched two and Ballingarry failed to raise a green flag over the hour. Swan whose backs were to the wall, and where another defeat would virtually leave them little chance of figuring in the concluding stages, notched their goals at vital stages, the first in the twenty eight minute of the first half when Ballingarry were leading by a one point margin and the second with three minutes left in normal time when Ballingarry were again holding onto a one point lead. These scores had a huge impact on the game and left Ballingarry behind at half time against the run of play and at the end little time to recover. A feature of the game was the brilliance of both goalies James Logue for Ballingarry and Colm O Sullivan for Swan who denied their opponents with point blank saves on several occasions.
Both sides had bad wides in the early stages. Donal Shelley showed his accuracy with two fine points from play in the tenth and twelfth minutes.Anthony O Donnell followed with a Swan point from a free to narrow the gap and Ballingarry then suffered a blow when defender JP O’Brien was sent-off. Swan exerted strong pressure in the concluding stages of the half and after an excellent sideline ball by Paul Diffley the Ballingarry defence done well to clear their lines when their goal was threatened. Swan were not to be denied however and in a following attack Paul Diffley was on hand to finish to the net after James Logue had made an outstanding save. This score put Swan two points up but Ballingarry brought it back to the minimum with a fine point from a difficult angle by Donal Shelley on the stroke of half time to leave the score Carrick Swan 1-2 Ballingarry 0-4.
Ballingarry started the second half with a change to a white jersey and they attacked strongly in the early minutes, it was Swan however who notched the first score when Anthony O Donnell pointed a free. Donal Shelley was rampant for Ballingarry and he brought a fine save from Colm O Sullivan who diverted out for a sixty five which Shelley pointed. Shelley who had taken over the freetaking duties for his side brought his side level in the eight minute of the half and then put his side ahead in the tenth minute both from placed balls. Both sides exchanged wides and Swan got a great boost midway through the half when centre back Kevin Lanigan pointed a free from deep into his own back line. Again Donal Shelley came to his sides aid with two points one from a free and another from a play.Kieran Reide added a Swan point as excitement mounted in the closing stages. Donal Shelley again attacked the Swan goal but Colm O Sullivan again saved the day. Swan went upfield from the puckout and Danny O Hanlon fired a point blank shot at James Logue but he was equal to the test and saved in brilliant fashion. Swan were not to be denied however and Danny O Hanlon again threatened the Ballingarry goal, his way was blocked however and he passed to substitute Alan P Ryan who shook the Ballingarry net with a cracking shot. Swans now sensed victory and Bobby Ryan sent over a point to increase his sides lead. Ballingarry made one last desperate attack and were foiled by a great save by Colm O Sullivan who got his stick to a ball heading for the corner of the net. Paul Diffley had the last say for the Swan with a fine point to secure an important victory for the club, in fact their first in quite a few years in the South senior hurling championship.
For Swan then the victory keeps their championship hopes alive, they had fine displays from Colm O Sullivan in goal, Kevin Lanigan and Martin Rusell stood out in defence, Stephen Hahessy played his part at midfield while Paul Diffley,Danny O Hanlon and Bobby Ryan were the biggest threat to the Ballingarry defence.
Ballingarry remain pointless from their two games played and must record a win from their next game to remain in contention, they are well capable of that with some fine hurlers on their panel and even though in the process of team building you can never write them off, they had fine displays from James Logue in goal Morgan Ivors,Gerry Fizgerald,Nigel Cleere and Trevor Ivors were strong in defence while Dickie Norton worked hard with Kieran Shelley at centrefield. Donal Shelley was outstanding in the forwards and and Philip Ivors also got his name on the score sheet.
Carrick Swan- C O’Sullivan; D Fahey, J Sweetman, G Walsh; M Russell, K Lanigan (0-1), M O’Halloran; S Hahessy, A Walsh; P Diffley (1-1), K Reide (0-1), D O’Hanlon; A O’Donnell (0-2), A O’Sullivan, B Ryan (0-2). Sub- Alan P Ryan (1-0).
Ballingarry- J Logue; Morgan Ivors; Garry Fitzgerald, JP O’Brien; T Donovan, N Cleere, T Ivors; D Norton, K Shelly; D Shelly (0-7), L Croke, P Ivors (0-2); T McGrath; D Lyons, Gerry Fitzgerald. Subs- A Cleere, R Butler.
Referee Seamus Roche