TOOREEN created history, and a shock, in Athleague on Sunday when they became the first non Galway club to win the Connacht Intermediate hurling title since the inception of the competition in 2005.
The turning point of this game arrived three minutes into first half injury time when Ballinderreen full forward David O’Connor received a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident and his loss, given his influential impact on the game up to that point, was to prove significant.
To the Galway champion’s credit, their 14 men battled bravely into the second half breeze with Colm Meehan at full back and midfielder Kevin Lane leading the way with fine displays. Indeed, Ballinderreen were level at 1-11 apiece on 57 minutes, before the Mayo champions pulled away to hit the winning scores from Kenny Feeney (free), Fergal and Shane Boland, with Feeney also hitting the insurance score to wrap up a famous win.
Ballinderreen, without the injured Sean Coen, started the game well and led by 0-5 to 0-1 on six minutes with Kevin Lane, a 65, David O’Connor, Roy Lane and Oisin Burke, with two good efforts, all on target – it could have been better had Tooreen keeper Stephen Lenehan not denied Cathal Gill, who was set up by Roy Lane, with a first minute save.
Six minutes later though Tooreen were a point ahead. The influential Shane Boland pointed a free, before Cathal Freeman converted a 10th minute penalty after Boland was fouled, and when Boland subsequently pointed a free, Tooreen were 1-3 to 0-5 up. Ballinderreen got a break on 15 minutes when Freeman got caught in possession on his own 20 metre line and was blocked down with Shane Larkin running on to goal and leave them 1-5 to 1-3 ahead.
Full report in this week’s Connacht Tribune.