herald

Monday 28 July 2014

Ballinteer men blast off!

BALLINTEER ST JOHN'S 0-14

THOMAS DAVIS 0-8

An inspired opening quarter set Ballinteer St John's up for a comfortable 0-14 to 0-8 victory over Thomas Davis in their Dublin Under 21 'B' Football Championship final at a sun-kissed O'Toole Park last Sunday morning.

The Marley Park men controlled affairs from the opening whistle and but for a sloppy ten-minute period either side of the interval, there was little doubting Ballinteer's dominance as they dethroned the 2011 winners.

For Thomas Davis, the frustration of defeat will be exacerbated by the knowledge they failed to perform to their true potential on a consistent basis with all bar one of their scores arriving between the 25th and 37th minute, when they reduced their arrears to a solitary point.

However, St John's reaffirmed their ascendancy from that point on and the goal required to bring Thomas Davis back into contention never seemed likely with captain Stephen Fitzsimons, Colm Egan and Conor McDaid all excelling in the Ballinteer rearguard. There was a confidence to the winners' play that was evident from the outset and Dublin minor Robbie Gaughan kicked an outrageous point inside 40 seconds for the game's opening score.

The industrious Sam Tully matched that effort with another sumptuous point off the outside of the boot in the fourth minute and Glenn Whelan was soon stamping his class on proceedings when converting a sideline ball a minute later.

Whelan and Peter O'Curry were dominating the early aerial exchanges and on the rare moments that Thomas Davis secured possession, some poor passing ensured St John's were allowed to return the ball with interest.



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Three Gaughan frees reflected the unease of the Thomas Davis defence at this early stage and dual player Aodhán Clabby offered a physical presence at full-forward in addition to kicking a fine score from play as his side opened up a seven-point lead by the 13th minute.

A scrappy and scoreless period of 12 minutes ensued with a frustrating number of turnovers and misplaced passes before Dean Nolan converted a 25th-minute free to finally open Thomas Davis's account.

An excellent Paul Hudson point within a minute showed the Tallaght men in their best light and Thomas Davis opened up the St John's defence in the 27th minute only for Dean Brennan to casually side-foot Shane Kelly's inviting pass over the crossbar from close range.

Trailing by 0-8 to 0-4 at the break, Davis resumed in determined fashion with the lively Craig McClelland kicking a glorious point while a free apiece from Hudson and Nolan left the large Ballinteer following living on their nerves.

They needn't have fretted as their side regained their momentum at centrefield through the efforts of Gaughan, O'Curry and Whelan while Fearghal Duffy's introduction from the bench ensured Adam Fallon's contribution was reduced to more defensive duties.

Whelan began punching holes through the Thomas Davis defence and some ill-disciplined tackling allowed St John's to restore their lead through a succession of frees from Gaughan and Whelan.

Gaughan's sixth point in the 56th minute extended Ballinteer's lead to six points and although Hudson replied immediately for Davis, it was fitting the game's finest attacker in Gaughan should have the final word with his injury-time free completing an excellent morning's work for Frank Ward's charges.

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