By Cathal Ryan
Seamus O Riain Cup
Boherlahan Dualla 3-9
Holycross Ballycahill 1-11
A resolute second half stand from Boherlahan Dualla captured victory over Holycross Ballycahill on Saturday evening last in the first round of the Seamus O Riain Cup held in Drombane.
In a contest that was dull at best in the opening period these two age old rivals tore into the second half with the kind of vigour expected from this match up. Five minutes after the restart Darragh Hickey collected the ball 35 yards out and soloed in the direction of the goal. With a cast of defenders chasing him his attempted shot fell into the path of Seamie Leahy who gratefully applied the finishing touch, whipping on the ball to the net after being left unmarked in the square.
The weather deteriorated with a shower of rain but none of the on field participants seemed affected and Holycross replied seven minutes later. Jamie Woods produced a majestic touch to control a long delivery out of the sky. One handed he jumped with his marker in close attendance but the touch took the defender out of the game and as a second opponent arrived to assist, Woods popped a hand pass to Liam Dwan who applied the required finish past the keeper.
With the match in the balance it was Boherlahan who seized the initiative in the closing stages. In the 54th minute it was Seamie Leahy who popped up in the right place at the right time to apply the finishing touches with another ground stroke to the net amid a storm of bodies on the edge of the square. Brian Maher drove home the advantage two minutes later when he gathered possession and powered towards goal. As he cracked through a challenge Maher dropped the sliotar and booted it righted footed to the net creating a lead that Boherlahan would hold onto.
Post match the contrast in reactions from both camps was visible for all to see as not only for Boherlahan does this provide a victory over a local rival but also clears them from any threat of relegation for the year. As for Holycross they will be extremely disappointed as they appeared to lose shape in the second half. They played with the breeze in the opening half and perhaps did not capitalise on the greater percentage of play they enjoyed in this period.
In the opening stages the action was frantic but fractured as neither side got into any sort of rhythm early on. As the action settled Holycross were the team that imposed themselves on the game with an unanswered four point haul between the 12th and 22nd minute. Dara Duggan began this run with a long distance strike off his right hand side. Jamie Woods followed this with a free before John Dwyer powered over a great score off his right after receiving a pinpoint pass from Gary Byrne.
This momentum was finally halted by the impressive and industrious midfielder Derek Patterson who received a hand pass from Brian Maher and slotted over from 60 yards against a stiff breeze. Both teams traded a further free each before the break to leave the half time score 0-6 to 0-3.
The second half began with much more of a cutting edge especially from Boherlahan as they were level within three minutes of the restart, through two frees from Darragh Hickey and another long range effort from Patterson. Jamie Woods and Sean Nally then produced a couple of delightful scores from angled shots on the right wing in response for Holycross. In the next attack Leahy found the net, pushing Boherlahan in front for the first time as this rollercoaster second half really kicked into action. Woods picked off another for Holycross and looked very dangerous when provided with the right kind of service as he displayed in setting up the goal for Liam Dwan.
Boherlahan regrouped once more and showed tremendous dogged determination in capturing two goals in the final ten minutes. Holycross tried in vain to breach Joe Ryan’s resistance between the sticks but were reduced to 14 men in stoppage time as somehow the referee found eight minutes to add on, however it was not enough to affect the outcome as the blue and gold defence stood firm.
Boherlahan Dualla: Joe Ryan; AJ Maher, John Dwyer, Johnny Maher; Aidan Maher, Willie Hickey, Andrew Downey; Darragh Kennedy, Derek Patterson (0-2); Brian Maher (1-0), Paul Ryan, Darragh Devane (0-2); Darragh Hickey (0-5,4F), Laurence Hickey, Seamie Leahy (2-0). Subs: Michael Murphy for A. Downey (9), Gary Crowe for M Murphy (59).
Holycross Ballycahill: Tossy Lowry; Pierce Stakelum, Jacko Doyle, Pa Dwyer; Patrick Stakelum, Stephen Ryan, Gary Byrne; Tomas Comerford, Liam McCullagh; Donnacha Duggan, John Dwyer (0-1), Dara Duggan (0-1); Liam Dwan (1-2,1F), Cathal Carroll, Jamie Woods (0-6,4F). Subs: Cathal Barrett for G. Byrne (24), Sean Nally (0-1) for Liam McCullagh (29), Tony Leahy for J Dwyer (39). Aidan Stakelum for L Dwan (48).
Referee: Kieran Delaney.