SFC GROUP 2
IT’S only round one of the campaign after all so, in the interest of positivity, it would probably be best to begin by focusing on some of the few highlights from this disappointing rain-soaked affair.
They all came from Breaffy during a fifteen-minute period of eye-catching football right at the start at a saturated Flanagan Park.
That opening spell included a Colum Lyons goal and a few sweetly-taken points that allowed the visitors build up a massive 1-5 to no score lead before the locals could muster a response.
By that stage, Ronan Macken had retired through injury, Donal Vaughan was back in midfield, and the game was seemingly dead as a contest.
Those who braved the rain and cold at least had that cameo to savour from an otherwise forgettable hour.
Breaffy manager Jim O’Shea will point to the following 45 minutes as an example of the work that has to be done by his players, but he’ll be content overall having negotiated a potentially tricky tie with relative ease.
Centre-forward Colum Lyons was the scorer-in-chief on the day scoring 1-5, including 1-3 from play.
His first point was a well-taken score on three minutes, and three more followed before the seventh minute with Alan Durcan tapping over two frees. Matthew Conroy also latched on to a well-directed long pass to open his account.
By the tenth minute, it was Conroy doing the providing as his long pass into Lyons caused consternation in the home defence. The fired-up centre-forward turned his man and rifled a shot across Kenneth O’Malley into the far corner. It was looking like a rout at this point.
The scoring rate dropped from there but Lyons had another point on 15 minutes and Ballinrobe were all at sea.
Aidan and Seamus O’Shea were in complete control at midfield and a combination of tenacious defending from the likes of Gerry and Micheál Jennings, and David Gavin saw Breaffy force numerous turnovers as the ball just wouldn’t stick for the home side.
The lead remained at eight points at half-time. David McDonnell had scored an excellent long range point for the home side and Seán Burke had followed it up with a ‘45 but Conor and Seamus O’Shea scored in first half injury time, ending a fifteen minute scoring drought for the visitors.
The second half took some of the gloss off the performance from a Breaffy viewpoint but also underlined Ballinrobe’s shortcomings.
They were far too laboured in attack and failed to even create a good goalscoring chance; Breaffy on the other hand kicked too many wides and failed to rediscover their first half spark .
Last year’s quarter-finalists did just enough, answering two quick second half scores from the hard working Micheál Keane and Seán Burke with a typically well-taken effort from Lyons.
The rangy attacker also popped over another two in response to scores from James O’Malley and Peter Staunton as the second half meandered on and the game ran out of steam.
High-flying Kiltane come to Breaffy for the second round next month while Ballinrobe face a daunting trip to Knockmore. But, after this display, the only way is up.
R Hennelly; D Cusack, D Gavin, C Jordan; G Jennings, M Jennings, B Howley; S O’Shea (0-1), A O’Shea; R Martyn, C Lyons (1-5, 2fs), M Conroy (0-1); D Jennings, C O’Shea (0-1), A Durcan (0-2, 2fs).
Subs used: P Dravins for D Jennings (inj); E Conroy for Cusack; T Canavan for Dravins.
K O’Malley; E O’Malley, D Killeen, P Finnerty; R Keane, A Flannery, D McDonnell (0-1); R Macken, S Grimes; P Staunton (0-1,f), S Burke (0-2, ’45), D Vaughan; K Murphy, C Keane, M Keane (0-1).
Subs used: J O’Malley (0-1) for Macken (inj); C Killeen for Flannery; M Burke for O’Malley; D O’Connor for Finnerty (inj).
Referee: L Higgins (Ballina)