Bryansford 1-4 v 1-8 Ballyholland

Reserve Football: 2016 Down GAA Reserve FC - Sponsored by Eamonn Rooney Coach Hire

3rd September 2016 at 4.30pm - Atticall

Published by Anthony McNamee on 5th September 2016.

Hello reserve championship. It's been a while.

For the first time since 2000, Ballyholland’s reserve footballers lifted the County Championship title on Saturday, courtesy of a four point win over Bryansford.

It was a dour sort of day in Atticall, but that didn’t stop a healthy crowd turning up to see a strong, experienced Harps side grind out victory.

Ballyholland started brightly, and from the off it was clear that full-forward Barry McAteer was set to be the go-to player on the day. The story of that half was one in which he scored three points, laid on a goal for Patrick Murphy, and hit the crossbar on the three separate occasions.

As the half progressed, James Patterson, Turlough Brady and Aidy McAteer got a proper grip on midfield, and truth is Harps should have been further than two ahead at the break, with most of their forward line guilty of missing easy chances. But credit where it’s due, the Bryansford goal, scored by Pearse McCarthy – a calm finish after a searing 80 yard run – would have graced any final.

The interval saw the Harps add even greater experience to their ranks, with Eugene Campbell coming into the defence (some 18 years on from winning this trophy as a cub), and Shane Mulholland arriving on the edge of the square. The latter’s appearance was fleeting – a calf strain saw him hobble off just 10 minutes later – but the two classy points he struck in that time helped open up an gap that ‘Ford just could not close.

It could have been a very different game had McCarthy’s penalty on 35 minutes not slammed back off the bar, but from that moment onwards, there was an impassable air surrounding Ballyholland’s defence, which was once again superbly marshalled by skipper Conrad Loughran.

There were men out on their feet everywhere in the final ten minutes, but the rearguard never wilted. There is an old saying that forwards win games, defenders win championships. This again was further proof.

Warmest congratulations to Aidy, John and Shane on guiding the team to success.

Ballyholland:

R Matthews; S McManus, C Loughran, K McAteer; J Barry (0-1), C Havern, C Barry; J Patterson, T Brady; R Walsh, A McAteer (0-1), D McGovern, P Murphy (1-0), B McAteer (0-4), J Keenan. Subs used: C Keenan, S Mulholland (0-2), E Campbell, D Carlisle, A Smith, S White. Squad: J Kearns, C McAteer, K Dunlop, A McNamee, S Fitzpatrick.

Player of the Match: Barry McAteer

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