Ballymore’s goal scorer Brian Finerty looks to keep ahead of Ballynacargy’s Willie Murtagh. Photo: John McCauley

Finerty goal crucial as Ballymore take the points

Ballymore 1-14 Ballynacargy 0-9

Gerry Buckley

Ballymore always looked the more likely winners in the first of two Westmeath intermediate championship games played in ideal conditions at TEG Cusack Park last Saturday evening, the green and gold-clad outfit ultimately not flattered by their eight-point winning margin against a disappointing Ballnacargy outfit.

The outstanding Sam Maxwell opened the scoring with a neat point in the third minute, either side of which Frank Lynam’s troops spurned decent scoring opportunities. Conor Keena came to Bal’s rescue some two minutes later when he cleared Derek Molloy’s underhit shot off the goal line. From the resultant quickly-taken ‘45’, Brian Finerty doubled his side’s lead.

Sam Maxwell took centre stage for the remainder of the opening quarter, scoring three unanswered points – the first from play and the other two from tricky frees. Danny Scally was wide via the upright in the 21st minute, but his colleague Philip Price soon opened the losers’ account by converting a difficult free.

Ciaran Finerty then slapped the ball over the Ballynacargy crossbar when a goal looked certain – Sam Maxwell was the provider – before the men in primrose and blue came right back into contention with points from Ryan Maher and Jack Doran (when teed up by Maher). However, Karl Dermody’s charges regained their five-point advantage by the interval (0-8 to 0-3) courtesy of a Molloy brace.

Doran pointed for the Bal’ men exactly a minute into the second moiety. Their opponents could have found the net twice during the ensuing minutes, but Ciaran Finerty and Owen McCabe were both denied. Sam Maxwell put the winners 0-9 to 0-4 in front by slotting over a routine free in the 37th minute.

Ballynacargy kept in touch courtesy of a point apiece from Price and Maher. The impressive Brian Finerty and Price (a routine free) traded points either side of which McCabe had a ‘goal’ disallowed for a ‘square ball’ offence after a teasing delivery from sub Ronan McLoughlin. A fisted point from the roving Eoin Ryan left Ballymore ahead by 0-11 to 0-7 at the end of the third quarter.

The outcome was more or less decided in the 46th minute when Brian Finerty took Ben Maxwell’s pass and soloed goalward before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Tommy Nally. A fine run from Sam Maxwell teed up Brian Finerty for a goal chance, but he opted to take a point to put his side eight points clear (1-12 to 0-7).

Conor McNeill pulled off a great save from an Eoin Nally piledriver in the 53rd minute. The sides equally shared four points in the closing stages – Ben Maxwell and Ryan (his second) dissecting the posts for Ballymore, with Ballynacargy closing the scoring with scores from Eoin Nally (after receiving the ball from a Doran free) and Darragh Keena (a low-trajectory shot from the sub in the second minute of added-time).

Scorers –

Ballymore: B Finerty 1-3, S Maxwell 0-5 (2f), D Molloy and E Ryan 0-2 each, B Maxwell and C Finerty 0-1 each.

Ballynacargy: P Price 0-3 (2f), R Maher and J Doran 0-2 each, E Nally and D Keena 0-1 each.

Ballymore: Conor McNeill; Eoin Ryan, Jack Kearney, Sean Kincaid; Darragh Monaghan, John Gilligan, Colm O’Roarke; Ben Maxwell, Owen McCabe; Barry McDermott, Brian Finerty, Ben Scally; Ciaran Finerty, Sam Maxwell, Derek Molloy. Subs used: Sean Keena for Scally (h-t), PJ Maxwell for Kincaid (h-t), Ronan McLoughlin for C Finerty (37), Seamus Keena for O’Roarke (53), David Slevin for Molloy (58).

Ballynacargy: Tommy Nally; Conor Byrne, Eoin Nally, Conor Keena; Niall Peyton, Willie Murtagh, Dylan Keena; Senan Lynam, Tony Doran; Philip Price, Danny Scally, Jason McKeon; Ryan Maher, Jack Doran, Luke Price. Subs used: Jack Penrose for McKeon (42), Sean McKeon for L Price (46), Jude McGuinness for Scally (54), Darragh Keena for Peyton (60).

Ref: Barry Kelly (Mullingar Shamrocks).