Ballymore got their Intermediate Championship campaign off to a winning start following a three point victory over Young Grattans at Leo Casey Park, Ballymahon on Sunday evening last.
But Martin Reilly’s charges were hard pressed to come out on top in this evenly contested affair. Ballymore, to their credit, deserved their victory. Excellent free taking from the boot of Damien Monaghan helped their cause greatly as too did their midfield general Bernard McElvaney along with Donal McElvaney in the heart of defence.
Ballymore raced into a two point advantage in the early exchanges thanks to fine scores from Bernard McElvaney and Kiel Dempsey and this lead should have been greater when the busy Dempsey broke free but he failed to make the most of his goal scoring opportunity in the 10th minute.
Grattans refused to be pushed aside nonetheless and three points from their in-form forward Emmet Clarke and a close range effort from Gerard Victory put them back into contention midway through the first half. Indeed, Young Grattans held the lead at half-time (0-6 to 0-5) when Clarke struck over his fifth point from a free.
After the restart, Ballymore quickly got things back on track when Damien Monaghan converted two close range frees inside the opening five minutes. Monaghan proved to be a serious threat to the Grattans full-back line and finished with a personal tally of five points.
Ballymore gradually started to stamp their authority on proceedings but Jack Lynn’s outfit were handed somewhat of a life line in the 48th minute. Grattans were awarded a clear cut penalty but Kevin Jones blistering shot rebounded off the upright, much to the relief of the Ballymore supporters. A Padraig Dennigan point cut the deficit back to two with four minutes remaining but Ballymore responded in the best possible fashion and a brace of scores from the midfield pairing of Bernard McElvaney and Pauric McNerney closed out any chance of a late Grattans comeback.
BALLYMORE: Mark Tighe; Ciaran Fahy, Donal McElvaney, Michael Flynn; Vinnie Walker, Mattie Gorman (0-1), John Kavanagh; Bernard McElvaney (0-2), Pauric McNerney (0-1); Eoin Donohoe, Philip Dawson, Stephen Gorman; Damien Monaghan (0-6), Conor Monaghan, Kiel Dempsey (0-2).
Subs:- Mel Creggan for E Donohoe (half-time); Sean Corr for V Walker (black card, 38 mins); Bernard Dempsey for C Monaghan (50 mins); Padraig Reilly for C Fahy (56 mins).
YOUNG GRATTANS: Stephen Hussey; Timmy Hegarty, Damien McHugh, Michael Stokes; Gary Hewitt, Michael Madden, Karl Murray; Shane Cassidy, John Balfe; David Trappe, Wille John McDermott, Emmet Clarke (0-5); Gerard Victory (0-3), Kevin Jones, John Hand.
Subs:- Robert Kilemade for D Trappe (half-time); Padraig Dennigan (0-1) for J Hand (50 mins).
Referee: Michael Farrell