Ballinacourty 2-13; St Saviours 0-2
So Abbeyside/Ballinacourty are more concerned with winning the senior hurling championship than they are with regaining their senior football crown! Well, so the story goes, but they sent out a clear message to their rivals that they may well still be the team to beat in the senior football championship with a resounding victory over an understrength St Saviour’s side at Kill last Saturday evening.
This was a professional performance from a slick, well oiled outfit who took to the field with the aim of getting the job done with the minimum of fuss.
In the early stages there was nothing to choose between the teams as Ballinacourty wasted possession while St Saviours spurned several good point scoring opportunities from frees.
It took 8 minutes before we had a score on the board as Mark Fives opened the scoring with a point from play.
County Star, Patrick Hurney doubled the Ballinacourty lead in the 12th minute when he was the first to react after his brother Laurence’s shot came back off the crossbar.
Not to be outdone by his siblings, Gary got himself on the scoresheet after 15 minutes to increase the margin to 3 points.
St Saviour’s midfielder John-Paul Jacob scored a point after 16 minutes which proved to be their only point of the half.
In the 21st minute, St Saviours were denied an obvious free in front of the Ballinacourty goal and when the ball went down to the other end of the field, Mark Ferncombe finished past Paul Houlihan for the opening goal of the game.
A James O’Mahoney free and another point from play by Patrick Hurney then left Ballinacourty leading by 1-5 to 0-1 at the half time interval.
The second half began in a similar fashion to the first, as St Saviours rallied briefly, but were once again guilty of some wayward shooting.
A James O’Mahoney free was the first score of the second half and was followed up by a point from veteran centre forward, Laurence Hurney.
James O’Mahoney converted another free before a Patrick Hurney cross was finished to the net by Mark Ferncombe for his and his team’s second goal of the game.
Gary Hurney added to this goal with a fine point from play before Brian Power scored St Saviours first and last point of the half.
Ballinacourty added four more points before the final whistle sounded. Man of the match, Patrick Hurney added two of these from play, substitute Jason O’Brien scored one and James O’Mahoney scored another free.
This was as convincing a victory as we are likely to see in this year’s championship as may people’s favourites to lift the Conway cup came up against many people’s favourites for relegation.
Ballinacourty were never under pressure in this game but at times were guilty of over-elaboration which could prove fatal in later rounds. But they are a big strong physical side who will take a lot of stopping if they are not to regain their crown as the best football side in the county. On the day, Patrick Hurney with 4 points from play was the pick of their forward line but was ably assisted by Mark Ferncombe who took his goals well.
For St Saviours this was a disappointing outcome. They are largely a young team as most of the players from their championship winning team of 1998 have now retired. A lot of work has been done at underage level and this work is beginning to bear fruit. However, they will have a lot of work to do in order to hang on to their senior status. It was in the forwards where they were let down in this occasion. If they had converted the many good scoring chances that came their way, there would have been a different complexion to the scoreboard.
Ballinacourty: D Enright, J Phelan, S Briggs, G Breen, M Gorman, J Hurney, P Lynch, S O’Hare, R Foley, M Ferncombe, L Hurney, J O’Mahoney, G Hurney, M Fives, P Hurney. Subs: J O’Brien for R Foley.
Scorers: M Ferncombe 2-0, P Hurney 0-4, J O’Mahoney 0-4f, G Hurney 0-2, M Fives 0-1, L Hurney 0-1, J O’Brien 0-1.
St Saviours: P Houlihan, K Boland, W Webster, P Crowley, D Crowley, A Jacob, D Tuohy, T Whelan, JP Jacob, A Brophy, B Power, M English, I Stenson, B Jacob, M Brophy. Subs: K Dolan for W Webster.
Scorers: JP Jacob 0-1, B Power 0-1.