BALLYMARTLE showed too much class yesterday for Tracton in the Evening Echo Cork Premier IHC final, edging out their local rivals by seven points in an entertaining derby game.
The men in green and gold had dished out a ten-point defeat to yesterday’s opponents in the opening round of the championship, and they reaffirmed their superiority yesterday to progress to the senior ranks, even though Tracton made them work for their victory.
Two first-half goals gave Ballymartle some breathing space, but when Tracton stormed back within a point of them in the second-half, three fine points from Jamie Dwyer and Darren McCarthy (two) put them ahead decisively.
Ballymartle made a good start to the game – early on Barry Dwyer had already pointed twice for them when the game yielded its first goal.
On seven minutes Ballymartle’s Dan Dwyer gathered the ball in the left corner and showed a neat change of speed to leave his marker for dead, coming in the end line and finishing from an angle past Damien Walsh in the Tracton goal: 1-2 to 0-1.
It could have been even better for Ballymartle four minutes later, when Darren McCarthy raced through, placing Brian Corry, who rattled the Tracton crossbar from close range.
With captain and centre-back Patrick Dwyer dominating proceedings around the middle of the field, it was all Ballymartle, and at the midway point of the half came their second goal.
Brian Corry, relatively quiet, played a superb crossfield ball to Dan Dwyer, who collected neatly and rounded his marker before finishing to the corner for his second.
At that stage it was 2-3 to 0-2, and an honourable defeat looked the limit of Tracton’s ambitions, but credit them for fighting back. The accurate Ronan Walsh chipped in with three points from placed balls and Michael O’Sullivan popped over a point from play, and there was just a goal between them.
Barry Dwyer’s pointed free stopped the rot, but Tracton had two more points before half-time through Sean O’Sullivan and Frank Lynch; what had been a lost cause was suddenly a two-point game, 2-4 to 0-8.
Jamie Dwyer came into the game in a major way following the break, rattling off three excellent points from play, putting Ballymartle four points ahead, but Tracton dug in again and refused to yield.
Ronan Walsh – who carried the scoring threat for Tracton all day – pointed a free, while Kieran Corrigan and Joe Kingston also chipped in to raise the white flag.
However, Tracton could never draw level with their opponents, and as the effort of reeling in Ballymartle began to tell, they conceded frees.
Barry Dwyer pointed two dead balls as the three-quarter stage approached, and then came Jamie Dwyer’s superb point on the run from the sideline, the best score of the game. When Darren McCarthy tacked on a long-range free and then slalomed through to pop the ball over the bar, there was a six-point gap.
With the clock winding down Ballymartle worked an overlap, but Tracton ‘keeper McCarthy turned Brian Coleman’s shot aside. Darren McCarthy pointed the 65, and though Ronan Walsh pointed yet another free, with the game almost over Barry Dwyer had the final word, pushing the difference between the two teams out to seven points.
Scorers for Ballymartle: B. Dwyer 0-6 (0-4 fs), D. Dwyer 2-0; J. Dwyer 0-4; D. McCarthy 0-3 (0-1 f, 0-1 65); R. Dwyer 0-1.
Scorers for Tracton: R. Walsh 0-7 (0-6 fs, 0-1 65); S. O’Sullivan 0-2; K. Corrigan, J. Kingston, F. Lynch, M. O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
(Ballymartle) Subs: B. Coleman for Coughlan, 45; S. O’Mahony for D. McCarthy, 58 .
(Tracton) Subs: M. Desmond for Cronin, 40; P. Kingston for D. O’Callaghan, C. Lordan for Corrigan 50
Referee: D. Kirwan (Eire Og).