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Ballinderreen’s lively start is not enough to repel champs

Tooreen 0-21

Ballinderreen 0-19

DARREN KELLY IN ATHLEAGUE

SIX years on from the disappointment of becoming the first Galway team to suffer defeat in the Connacht intermediate hurling final, Ballinderreen finished up the wrong side of Tooreen again in the decider as the Mayo outfit won their fifth title in six campaigns.

Despite a great start for the Galway champions with four unanswered points, and a second half burst led by Niall Coen that nearly turned the tie, Tooreen’s experience at this time of the year proved priceless in getting over the line.

That being said, Ballinderreen went down fighting and had a 20-metre free at the finish to force extra-time after a foul just when Evan Morgan was looking to pull the trigger. Roy Lane stepped up but keeper Bobby Douglas made the block with a rebound effort flashing over the bar.

While Ballinderreen will reflect on a positive year that saw them return to senior hurling, they’ll note that chances not taken in the first half ultimately cost them an All-Ireland semi-final spot.  They had five wides while two goal chances were spurned.

The exchanges were intense from the opening whistle but unfortunately for Ballinderreen, full back Robbie Lane was injured and had to depart within two minutes. Keith Connolly’s team didn’t let that setback faze them as they opened their account on four minutes when Robbie Meehan picked out Roy Lane.

It commenced a purple patch as Ballinderreen took the fight to their opponents just like they did in the county final against Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry.  Meehan popped over one from the right in their next attack; and then the introduced Collins sent play down to Kieran Ryan for the third.

When David Mannion’s delivery on eight minutes found Lane who was fouled, the latter split the posts again and Ballinderreen were 0-4 to 0-0 ahead. Tooreen hadn’t gotten to the pitch of the game but led by centre back Stephen Coyne, they started to unlock the Galway side.

Pictured: Pádraig Lafferty and Robbie Meehan of Ballinderreen tussling for possession with Tooreen’s Seán Regan during Sunday’s Connacht Club Intermediate Hurling Final in Athleague. Photos: David Cunniffe.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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