Reidy rips Ballylanders apart as Drom reclaim title

MIKE REIDY provided the inspiration as Dromcollogher/Broadford won their fourth Limerick County SFC title in eight years in emphatic style at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday.

The intercounty man was in magnificent form at centre-forward, from where he contributed eight points, seven from play, as Drom atoned for last year’s defeat at the hands of the same opposition.

Reidy’s display won him the man-of-the-match award and while it was undoubtedly Reidy’s day, Drom were also grateful to Tommy Stack, Jason Stokes, Patrick Donnelly, Sean Buckley and Ray Lynch for this comprehensive victory.

Ballylanders were outplayed in most sectors of the field; failed to match their opponents in the physical stakes and were a well beaten side long before the final whistle.

Yet the early minutes of the game played in front of a crowd of 3,000 spectators, never hinted at the final outcome. Ballylanders played with the strong wind in that opening half, led by 1-1 to 0-0 after just four minutes, and were playing well enough to suggest they were more than capable of retaining their title.

However a one-point half-time lead was never going to be sufficient and they could only add two further points to their tally as Drom dictated the play for most of the second half.

Needing to take a sizeable lead into the second half, Ballylanders couldn’t have asked for a better start. Danny Murphy gave them the lead after four minutes and on the kick out grabbed the most unlikeliest of goals.

Eamon Scollard in the Drom goal opted to take a short kick out to his corner back Dee O’Leary but the kick never made the distance and the alert Kieran O’Callaghan nipped in to stroke the football to the empty net.

However Ballylanders failed to build on that dreadful mistake and it was surprising, given that they had the wind advantage, that they played with just five forwards, withdrawing county senior hurler Mike O’Brien out as a third midfielder.

However that ploy didn’t work as the height and strength of Patrick

Donnelly and Jason Stokes ensured their forward colleagues got a plentiful supply of ball, which they put to excellent use.

With Mike Reidy sparkling on the 40, Drom kicked over a succession of points, three of them by the county man and at the break, the defending champions could only manage a 1-6 to 0-8 lead, which was never going to be enough.

With the elements to their backs, Drom wasted little time in drawing level, 20 seconds in fact, when Ray Lynch fisted the equalising point.

Lynch was another Drom forward to cause endless problems for the Ballylanders defence and he finished the game with three excellent points from play.

Ballylanders struggled all over the field playing the short passing game, a futile exercise against a hard tackling Drom defence in which Tommy Stack, Tommy McLoughlin and Dee O’Leary gave nothing away.

Five minutes into the second half, Drom had turned a one-point half-time deficit into a three-point lead, 0-12 to 1-6, and they never looked back. Reidy and Lynch were superb up front and Ballylanders defence crumbled under the incessant pressure.

Another of their intercounty players Sean Buckley, put Garret Noonan in for Drom’s opening goal in the 40th minute and only a superb save by Declan O’Connor prevented Noonan from scoring again minutes later.

The defending champions continued to try and walk the ball in but it was a futile exercise against a packed Drom defence and their only reward was a Jimmy Barry Murphy point, in the 45th minute, their first score of the second half.

Ballylanders left themselves very exposed at the back as they came looking for scores, and with the scent of victory in their nostrils, Drom went for the kill.

The magnificent Mike Reidy tacked on two points, Garret Noonan had another before Sean Buckley put the issue beyond doubt with his side’s third goal, and the former champions were grateful for the final whistle when it eventually came.

The new champions now await the winners of the Cork/Kerry clash in the Munster club semi-final.

Scorers for Drom: M. Reidy 0-8 (0-1 free); G. Noonan 1-2; S., Buckley 1-1; R. Lynch 0-3; P. Donnelly, 0-1.

Ballylanders: P J. Barry Murphy 0-4 (0-2 frees); R. O’Callaghan 1-0; S. Fox 0-2; D. Murphy, C. McSweeney 0-1 each.

DROM/BROADFORD: E. Scollard; D. O’Leary, T. Stack, M. Clancy; N. Conway, T. McLoughlin, E., Barry; P. Donnelly, J. Stokes; D. McCarthy, M. Reidy, S. Buckley; G. Egan,. R. Lynch, G. Noonan.

Subs: K. Culhane for Clancy (52nd); J. O’Kelly for McCarthy (57th); M. O’Sullivan for Stokes (60th).

BALLYLANDERS: D. O’Connor; C. McSweeney, L. Martin, S. Fox; S. Walsh, P. Fox, T. Fox; J. Murphy, W. Kelly; J. Barry Murphy, S. Fox, K. O’Callaghan; M. Mansell, D. Murphy, M. O’Brien.

Subs: T. fox for Kelly (40th); DJ Sheehy for T. Fox (49th).

Referee: M. Mann (Ballybrown).

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