Breen goal puts Ballydesmond in driving seat

Ballydesmond 1-17 Canovee 0-13

Trailing by 0-4 to 0-2 after 14 minutes, four unanswered points from the Duhallow side, three by Donncha O’Connor and one from Paudie Breen, put them into a lead that would not be relinquished.

The advantage had stretched to four points, 0-9 to 0-5, when Breen profited from a superb run by midfielder Donal Kelly to finish to the net, and from there Canovee were always playing catch-up.

Though they battled well, with Mark Verling converting three frees and Seán O’Connor also showing up well, Canovee didn’t look like creating a goal chance until late on. But good Ballydesmond defending ensured they would not be denied.

Early on, however, Canovee suggested they might be the ones to advance as they moved into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead, Denis O’Sullivan with two, while Verling was unlucky to hit the side-netting with a goal effort.

O’Connor, named at corner-forward had been working well in a deep role for Canovee, but Bertie O’Callaghan gained supremacy at midfield for Ballydesmond, and that helped them to seize the lead.

Just before Breen’s goal, Niall Fleming could have had one but opted to fist over, but Breen nevertheless opened up a seven-point lead and that was also the situation at half-time, 1-10 to 0-6 for Ballydesmond.

A super O’Connor point stretched that margin early in the second half, and then he was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when he looked to have been hauled down in the large rectangle, while on 40 minutes he drew a fine save from Canovee keeper Tom Murphy.

Despite taking bad options at times, Canovee threatened a resurgence around the midway point in the half, the calm presence of Pat Dunlea key to their attacks as the gap was cut the six after Verling’s 49th-minute free.

Ballydesmond would not be denied, though. Breen, after a great move, Fleming and sub Nicky O’Leary pointed to leave it 1-15 to 0-9 with 10 minutes left.

Sub Colum Kearney almost put the issue beyond doubt on 55 as he hit the crossbar with a powerful shot, but it mattered little as Ballydesmond advanced to a quarter-final meeting with Éire Óg.

Scorers for Ballydesmond: D O’Connor 0-7 (0-5f, 0-1 45), P Breen 1-3, N Fleming 0-4, N O’Sullivan, J O’Keeffe, N O’Leary 0-1 each.

Scorers for Canovee: S O’Connor 0-4, D O’Sullivan, M Verling (0-3f) 0-3 each, P Dunlea 0-2 (0-1f), D Ring 0-1f.

BALLYDESMOND: F O’Sullivan; T Howard, D Kelly, S Murphy; J O’Keeffe, J Healy, J Dunlea; B O’Callaghan, D Kelly; N O’Sullivan, S Kelly, P Breen; Donal O’Connor, Donncha O’Connor, N Fleming.

Subs: N O’Leary for S Kelly, C O’Keeffe for Donal O’Connor (both 43), C Kearney for O’Sullivan (52), R Flynn for Breen (53).

CANOVEE: T Murphy; D O’Sullivan, J McCarthy, T Lyons; J O’Brien, A Cronin, B Ahern; G Ahern, E Lyons; P Dunlea, Darra Ring, D O’Sullivan; C Dunne, M Verling, S O’Connor.

Subs: G Lucey for O’Sullivan (blood, 25-28), Lucey for Cronin (42), T McCarthy for G Ahern (49).

Referee: J Bermingham (Bride Rovers).

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