Ballinderreen and Killimor will have to do it all again after the latter produced a much-improved second-half performance to earn a draw in this rather uninspiring and tame County Championship Junior B hurling decider at Kenny Park, Athenry on Saturday.
It was no more than Killimor deserved given it was they who raised the intensity and tempo in the second period while Ballinderreen, for their part, struggled to rediscover the form they had showed in the first-half when taking a 1-6 to 0-6 interval lead.
Within 30 seconds of the restart, corner forward Michael Dervan, who would finish the day with 10 points, eight from placed balls, had fired over a free to get Killimor up and running although it would be the 41st minute before they gained parity for the first time in the game.
In between, Ballinderreen’s Allen Martyn and Aidan Duffy (free) exchanged points with Francis Larkin and Dervan (free) before Killimor hit points through Dervan and lively substitute Colin Madden, after Dervan had struck the post with a free, to level up the contest at 0-11 to 1-8.
The exchanges were tight and tense now and over the ensuing 10 minutes it was tit-for-tat. Kevin Coen, Gavin Duffy (free) and substitute Gary Molloy were all on the mark for Ballinderreen while Dervan (two frees) and Anthony Callaghy replied in kind to keep their opponents honest heading down the home stretch.
By the 57th minute though, this final seemed to have swung in Ballinderreen’s favour. Although a goal chance went abegging on 51 minutes for Ballinderreen – an effort from first half goalscorer Colm Gill was deflected to safety – they did convert the resulting 65 through Duffy before the wing-back landed a massive long-range free moments later.
When the same player posted his fifth placed ball of the day – a 57th minute free – to put his side three points up with as many minutes remaining, it appeared Billy Carr’s charges would be the ones going home with the cup and dancing the night away.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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