Kilclief hurlers fall short in Junior final against Ballela

Kilclief hurlers fall short in Junior final against Ballela

24 November 2021

IN a final that included two teams with a great tradition of club hurling, both Kilclief and Ballela were ready for a hard fought contest in this Junior Championship showdown.

It was Ballela who started well with two Malachy Magee points from converted frees, with Kilclief getting off the mark in the fifth minute through Fionn McFall, who got on the end of a cross from team-mate Conall Hynds. 

This was quickly followed by a point from Kilclief’s Fintan Conway.  

Still, Kilclief were not settled into the game but managed to manufacture a goalscoring opportunity in the eighth minute after a long ball strike from Aiden McCann came high into the area.

However, Ballela ‘keeper, Gary McMullan, was up to the challenge by coming under the high ball and clearing past his defence.

The game continued with both teams creating chances as their defences were put under pressure

and just short of the midpoint of the half, the first major of the game was scored by Ballela half forward Ryan McCusker into the right side of corner. 

Kilclief responded immediately following a pass from Callum Shields and at the first water-break Kilclief trailed 0-3 to 1-3.

Ballela were still able to get in front of their markers, but the relief for Kilclief was that their shots were pulling wide, but Conall Hynds was more successful with his run through the centre of the Ballela defence, as he registered a good point. This score was followed by a long free conversion from McFall.  

Ballela’s Malachy Magee followed this with his own converted free on the 28th minute. However, his next strike, from a delivered central stick pass to the right side of the pitch, arrowed into the Kilclief goal.

McFall finished the half with a converted free with the interval score Kilclief Ben Dearg GAC 0-7 Ballela 2-4.

The second half commenced with Ballela’s Malachy Magee and Jonathan McCusker each registering a point each and with Kilclief needing to change things up, they introduced Owen King for Cormac Conway. 

This gave them a stronger midpoint in the their half forwards and much-needed space for the full forwards to find space, ably demonstrated when Nathan McMullan and Aidan McCann combined to find the isolated Declan McClelland to run and release a central shot to score a vital point. 

Space in the Ballela defence was again evident when Sean Cultra fired over a point in the middle of the second half. 

Ballela’s lead was reduced to a single goal, although danger man Magee was still cutting through the centre. And soonafter he found himself in a goalscoring position, collecting a ball from a scramble in the Kilclief defence to add a heartbreaking third goal.

Kilclief were still fighting for every chance, with Conaill Magee converting a point after the lay off pass from Conall Hynds.  

Kilclief’s midfield continued to produce attacking options, with the newly introduced Owen King scoring a brace of points and Nathan Kelly 

adding a final point for his team.

However, Magee compounded Kilclief’s misery when he struck Ballela’s fourth goal from his hurl to secure the final win.

Kilclief: N Conway, L Gordan, N McMullan, C Shields, A McCann, F Conway (0-1), L McMullan, C Shields, C Hynds (0-1), C Magee (0-1), C Conway, F McFall (0-5), D McClements (0-1), S Cultra (0-1), L Deegans.

Subs Used: C Magee, O King (0-2), N Kelly (0-1).