Rostrevor 1-5 v 0-10 Ballyholland
Senior Football: SFC
14th September 2015 at 8.15pm - Pairc Esler, Newry
Published by Anthony McNamee on 11th December 2015.
Ballyholland reached only the third SFC final in their history with a stubborn win over Rostrevor on Monday night at Pairc Esler.
With both teams exhibiting a preference for possession over territory, it was a game in which momentum never really came to a head.
Harps started sharper, with Patrick Quinn knocking over a fine score from the first attack, which he accompanied with a mid-range free a few minutes later.
Rostrevor’s brightest spell of the match was in the second quarter, and was illuminated by a fine goal, when a series of quick hands culminated in Conor Doyle slipping the ball low under Liam Coulter’s despairing dive.
The strike handed the Reds their first lead of the night, and they clung onto it through to halftime, though Tommy Kane’s late strike left only the smallest of margins on at the interval.
Either side of half time, the Ballyholland management sent in three subs, and it’s fair to say their impact was telling.
Kealan Haughey hit the outstanding score of the night, a huge arcing drive off the instep, with literally is first possession, while big Paddy McAteer gave the kind of response any manager wants from a player who had lost hi position, ramming over two fine points in the middle of a strong running display.
These scores help build up a three-point cushion for Ballyholland, and although Rostrevor had quite a few chances to pull the Harps back – a missed short free and a strange decision to career away from goal when a one-on-one situation had formed, brought genuine annoyance from their followers – on this particular occasion they never looked to have the firepower to reel them all the way back.
It was a task made even more difficult with the late dismissal of star man Shaun Parr with around 8 minutes to play.
Ballyholland jittered their way through the final 5 minutes, playing keep ball in the most dangerous of areas, but in the end, it worked out, and they now play Castlewellan in the next step of their quest for the O’Hare Cup.
L Coulter; K Dunne, A Haughey, N McQuillan; D McCrink, Robbie White, J Grant; J Murphy, N McKevitt; T Kane (0-1), T Rushe, Ruairi White; P Quinn (0-5), R Murtagh (0-2), D Campbell. Subs: P McAteer (0-2), T Havern, K Haughey (0-1), K Murphy, P Murphy.
Player of the Match: Patrick Quinn