Ballyvarley romp to win after stunning comeback

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A second half scoring spree that yielded eleven unanswered scores saw Ballyvarley come from behind to shake off the shackles of a gritty Castlewellan side and romp to a sixteen point away victory.

A scrambled goal from James McGrath in the 42nd minute proved to be the key to unlocking the flood gates as the Reds hit their highest score of the season in a great team performance.

It proved to be a free-flowing, entertaining, contest right from the beginning as both sides responded to the perfect summer conditions to produce a game of forty two scores with only six of those coming from frees.

Paul O’Neill was in top form on the night and his two opening points from play got the scoring extravaganza underway and in a tit for tat opening period,

Castlewellan were quick to draw the sides level with similar scores.

It was three points each before the Reds went on the first of their scoring spurts.

In a dominant fifteen minute period points from Paul O’Neill(4) and James McGrath(2) saw Ballyvarley ease into a comfortable six point lead.

It was all looking so straightforward for the in form Reds and, even though that elusive goal was slow in coming, they seemed to be in total control of the game.

A goal out of nowhere from Castlewellan quickly shattered that illusion and suddenly it was the home side that were inspired to greater efforts and with three further points from play they managed to draw level and it was a case of game on once again.

A chastened Ballyvarley side scrambled their way back into the contention once again.

Three excellent points from Tony Hegarty, Niall Savage and James McGrath managed to keep the Reds just ahead of the posse.

At the interval they were grateful to be going in with a narrow one point advantage.

Half time: Castlewellan 1-8 Ballyvarley 0-12r late first half revival and it was they who made the brighter start to the second half with three quick points that edged them into

Castlewellan re-emerged buoyant after their late first half revival and it was they who made the brighter start to the second half with three quick points that edged them into a two point lead.

A point from Paul O’Neill was cancelled out by a similar effort from the home side but by now it was the Reds who had midfield control and pressure was mounting on the home goal.

A great turn and score from Tony Hegarty reduced the deficit to the minimum but with the Castlewellan defence holding firm, it was looking ever more likely that the Red’s goal drought was destined to continue.

Then right on cue came another desperate goalmouth melee but this time powerful full forward James McGrath forced the ball over the line for the breakthrough goal and give Ballyvarley the boost they were badly needing.

Suddenly players were zipping around the field with a new lease of life and it was all Ballyvarley as they rushed to get their name on the score sheet.

Colm O’Neill ran across goal before firing over from close-range and then Paul O’Neill(3) and Patrick Mackin soloed through for further points as the Reds raced into a seven point lead.

Most of the action was at the town end and two more goals from Jonathan Lennon and James McGrath and another O’Neill point saw an unassailable fourteen lead established.

A brief Castlewellan revival that produced a goal and a point was quickly scotched by great long-range points from O’Neill, Mackin and Lennon before O’Neill put the icing on the cake as he soloed through from distance to fire into the corner of the net. In the final analysis it had been a confident performance from the Reds, with everyone contributing to their biggest victory of the season.

Team: David Lavery; James McConville, Niall Higgins, Ciaran Connolly; Stephen Daly, Sean Kennedy, Kieran Maguire; Thomas Lennon(0-2), Michael McKay, Tony Hegarty(0-2), Paul O’Neill(1-12), Niall Savage (0-1); Colm O’Neill (0-1), James McGrath(2-3), Chris Lennon. Subs: Gavin McGreevey, Jonathan Lennon(1-0), Patrick Mackin(0-2), Ciaron Davies