Ballyvarley earn their first victory in debut season in Hurling League

Niall Daly gathers the ball under pressure.
Niall Daly gathers the ball under pressure.

Ballyvarley 5-17 Larne 0-14

Ballyvarley recorded their first victory in their debut season in the Antrim Senior Hurling League with an emphatic eighteen point victory over Latharna Og of Larne in Ballyvarley.

Colm O'Neill prepares to fire over his first point.

Colm O'Neill prepares to fire over his first point.

The Reds were in sparkling scoring form and in a dazzling first half performance they swept aside the visitors with a devastating five goal salvo.

The Reds got off to a lively start with Rory McShane and Colm O’Neill firing over two well-taken points before a high side-line cut from Paul O’Neill could only be helped into the net by the despairing Larne defence. O’Neill fired over another long-range point from all of eighty yards before James McGrath placed Stephen Daly who drove home Ballyvarley’s second goal. It was a devastating start from the home side and it continued to get better as youngsters Rory McShane and Niall Daly showed some deft wristwork in firing over two further points to leave the Reds eleven points in front. A hamstring injury to Colm O’Neill and a niggling injury to Paul O’Neill promised some respite for Larne and as the Reds tried to re-adjust Larne took advantage and struck over their three opening points. Paul O’Neill was pushed up into the full forward line to recuperate but that move did little to ease the pressure on the visitors. Three times he received the ball in an advanced position and three times he broke through to hammer the ball low into the back of the net to end this game as a viable contest. Sean Kennedy was having a fine game in midfield and he surged forward to slot over two stylish points before Stephen Daly tapped over another to leave Ballyvarley leading by 5-8 to 0-7 at the interval.

A Paul O’Neill point got the scoring underway in the second period and this was followed by a slick first time volley from Rory McShane that screamed over the cross-bar. Two converted frees from O’Neill and a scorching shot from an acute angle on the right that skimmed the crossbar left the Reds twenty one points in front. Larne continued to battle and they did manage to fire over seven points from distance. At the other end Ballyvarley continued to threaten. Three further pointed frees from O’Neill and a neat Stephen Daly point rounded off the scoring as Ballyvarley’s experimental entry into the Antrim Leagues continues to gather pace.