The Drom & Inch lads are in line to land an eye-catching double - last week the Mid champions progressed to the final of the Tipperary Water County Minor B Hurling Championship and then on Saturday Drom enjoyed a six-point win over Ballina to book their place in the Tipperary Water County Minor B Football Championship decider.
Tipperary Water County Minor B
Football Championship Semi-Final
Drom & Inch 2-11 Ballina 1-8
Drom & Inch were very good value for this victory over the North champions at St Michael’s Park in Toomevara.
The Ballina team certainly featured a number of notable footballers and real athletes, but Drom & Inch ground them down by dint of an outstanding work rate. Indeed, the determination of the Drom lads to work for one another both on and off the ball was the most noteworthy aspect of his win.
Rory O’Dwyer, Lorcan Campion, Fintan Purcell, Jimmy Mullins, John Campion and man of the match John Ryan were in outstanding form, but the manner in which Drom worked back the field out of possession and to support the ball carrier when in possession was outstanding.
John Ryan booted over two early points for Drom & Inch and the prevailing pattern of the game was already clear. Many of the Ballina players did not appear prepared to track the Drom runners and the Mid champions created the world of overlaps inside their opponents’ half as a result.
Ballina survived a number of notable attacks during the opening quarter as five Drom shots dropped short, but Drom’s enterprising play yielded a significant dividend in the 16th minute when the Ballina defence found themselves isolated (nine attackers versus six defenders) and John Ryan cracked a blistering shot into the top left-hand corner (1-2 to 0-0).
A George Kealy point got Ballina off the mark in the 17th minute, but Drom were dominating this contest and following efforts from Jimmy Mullins (two - one brilliant effort) and Tony Cahill the Mid men led 1-5 to 0-1 with twenty-six minutes played.
Robbie Breen doubled the Ballina tally in the 28th minute and although John Campion fired over a Drom & Inch point in the fourth minute of first half injury time there was still enough time for Cian O’Donnell to land a point before the break (1-6 to 0-3).
Eoghan Power and Tony Cahill traded efforts during the opening three minutes of the second half before Drom & Inch ‘keeper Brian Moore made a critical intervention in the 34th - George Kealy was outstanding for Ballina on Saturday and when Kealy connected with a Diarmuid Kelly delivery the effort looked destined for the bottom right hand corner, but Moore, somehow, managed to get down smartly to his left and push the effort onto a post and away to safety.
Ballina then enjoyed their most productive period of the game and following three converted frees the Drom & Inch lead was down to three (0-7 to 1-7) with nineteen minutes to play.
Drom dug in, however, and hit back with four successive points and duly scooted into a seven-point lead (1-11 to 0-7) by the 51st minute - Paudie Kinane (two frees), Fintan Purcell and John Ryan were responsible for these rousing efforts.
Ballina full-back James Hanley, who appears a terrific prospect, booted over an excellent point in the 55th minute, but Drom really put this contest to bed two minutes later when John Ryan set up Jimmy Mullins for a composed finish.
Sam Loughran punched home a consolation goal for Ballina in second half injury time.
Drom & Inch: Brian Moore, Andy Mullins, Rory O’Dwyer, James Kennedy, Jamie Ryan, Lorcan Campion, Darragh Kennedy, John Ryan (1-3), Aaron Ryan, John Campion (0-1), Fintan Purcell (0-1), Jimmy Mullins (1-2), Paudie Kinane (0-2, 0-2 frees), Tony Cahill (0-2), Jack Lillis. Subs: (57th) Hugh Scott for John Campion, (57th) Jack Ryan for Jamie Ryan, (59th) Paul Glasheen for Jack Lillis, (59th) Donnacha Barry for Tony Cahill, (61st) Jack Shanahan for John Ryan.
Ballina: James Power, Daniel Tighe, James Hanley (0-1), Cian Neil, Joshua Egan, Conor Bourke, Sam Loughran (1-0), Eoghan Power (0-2, 0-1 frees), George Kealy (0-3, 0-2 frees), David Grace, Cian O’Donnell (0-1), Diarmuid Kelly, Robbie Breen (0-1), Mathew Power, Kian Donnelly. Subs: (57th) Cathal O’Donnell for Robbie Breen, (57th) Luke Kennedy for Diarmuid Kelly.
Referee: David Grogan (Aherlow).
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