Champions off to winning start

St Saviour\'s Brian Jacob beats Ballinacourty\'s John Kindregan to the ball during their Waterford Senior Football Championship First round clash at Leamybrien. Pictures: Michael Kiely

St Saviour's Brian Jacob beats Ballinacourty's John Kindregan to the ball during their Waterford Senior Football Championship First round clash at Leamybrien. Pictures: Michael Kiely

Ballinacourty . . . 0-14; St. Saviours . . . 2-05

Defending champions Ballinacourty got a run for their money from St Saviours when the teams met at Lemybrien on Saturday evening. The Westerners eventually emerged with three points to spare over a youthful city combination.

Goals it has long been contended make games button this occasion both majors belonged to the vanquished. There was unquestionably a fortuitous look to their first goal before the interval. Six points clear coming up to the break, the champions were rocked to the foundations, when a speculative Shaun Corcoran free ended up in the back of the net courtesy of a bad defensive mistake.

While ‘Courty eased concerns by extending their lead early in the second half, they were shattered in the 37th minute, when the city men struck to the net for the second time. Whatever bout the first this goal will stand out as one of the best of the championship.

Staying in touch was more than an option for the Ballybeg side as they continued to carry the game to the champions but the undoubted class of the champions proved to be the determining factor. St Saviours scored three late points to keep Ballinacourty on their toes right up to the final whistle.

Scoring trend

The champions, who had been heavily concentrating on hurling in recent weeks, were quick off the mark, before St Saviours succeeded in opening the scoring through John Paul Jacob against the run of play point from play. Ballinacourty shot a total of five wides during the initial 12 minutes of the game and it was something of a relief when Patrick Hurney came up with the levelling point after 14 minutes.

Central defender Shane Briggs and John Paul Jacob swapped points but Ballinacourty were clearly coming more into the game. This resulted in point for Patrick and Garry Hurney (two each) and Fives to help the west side for a six point advantage. At the time it looked like the beginning of the end for the challengers.

In the concluding minute of the half, St Saviours’ Shaun Corcoran’s free landed on Gavin Breen, but the defender dropped the ball into the empty net behind him. That left two pints between the sides as they switched sides.

Declan Fives extended the lead from a free two minutes after the restart, but St Saviours never gave up and got their reward in the 37th minute. A well directed Jacob ball was finished home in style by Stephen Whelan, and the difference between the sides was back to the minimum.

The champions’ response this time was equally impressive. Points from Fives, Gary Hurney and John Gorman put Ballinacourty back into more comfortable waters. The city men got their second score of the second half in the 53rd minute, to keep the pressure on the titleholders, but Fives came up with his fifth point of the day.

Vital assets

As well as being exceptionally good footballers, Ballinacourty superior physical strength had a huge influence on the outcome of this first round affair. In Shane Briggs, John Kindregan, Richie Foley, Patrick and Gary Hurney, Declan Fives, and Sean O’Hare, they had outstanding performers in every line on the team. St Saviours on the other hand can be reasonably happy with their showing.

Running the Munster club finalists to three points is no mean feat and gives great encouragement for the future. In particular, they were best served by Joe Phelan, Dean Crowley, John Paul Jacob, Darren Touhy, Sean Corcoran and goalkeeper Paul Houlihan.

Teams & Scorers

Ballinacourty: Stephen Enright, Martin Lavan, John Kindergan, Gavin Breen, Richie Foley, Shane Briggs, Patrick Lynch, Mark Fives, Sean O’Hare, John Gorman, Laurence Hurney, Declan Fives, Mark Ferncombe, Gary Hurney, Patrick Hurney. Subs: Mark Gorman for Ferncombe.

Scorers: Declan Fives 0-5, Gary and Patrick Hurney 0-3 each, John Gorman 0-2, Shane Briggs 0-1.

St Saviours: Paul Houlihan, Joe Phelan, Kieran Murphy, Kevin Boland, Dean Crowley, Trevor Whelan, Adam Brophy, Michael O’Brien, Michael English, John Paul Jacob, Stephen Whelan, Brian Power, Shaun Corcoran, Brian Jacob, Darren Tuohy. Subs: Conor O’Neill for English, Michael Brophy for Power.

Scorers: Shaun Corcoran 1-2, Stephen Whelan 1-0, John Paul Jacob 0-2 and Adam Brophy 0-1.

Referee: Tadgh O Broin (Rogha Eireann).

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