Eoghan Keniry hits key scores as Killeagh condemn Ballymartle to the drop

East Cork side maintained their Senior A status with Keniry nailing 14 points and Ryan McCarthy grabbing a goal
Eoghan Keniry hits key scores as Killeagh condemn Ballymartle to the drop

Dylan Hogan, Killeagh, defends against Ballymartle in the Co-Op Superstores Senior A Hurling Championship game on Church Road. Picture: Larry Cummins

Killeagh 1-16 Ballymartle 0-13 

IT may not have been pretty, but Killeagh won’t care as a 0-14 haul from Eoghan Keniry helped them secure their Senior A status for 2023 with a deserved victory over Ballymartle in this Co-op Superstores relegation playoff in Church Road on Saturday.

Keniry has long been the North Star for this Killeagh team and here he stood up when the need was greatest. He had a 100% record across the hour as both teams suffered under the burden of what was at stake as they amassed 25 wides between them.

While Keniry was the scorer in chief, the most important score of the game was Ryan McCarthy’s goal in the 17th minute that put daylight between the sides for the first time. The sides were level at 0-4 apiece when a long-range effort from Sean Walsh came back off the crossbar with McCarthy there to finish it to the net to give his side a lead they would never surrender.

Ballymartle were never out of the game, with their half-back line of Ciarán Allen, Seamus and Liam Corry particularly solid, and though they had the greater spread of scorers, they just didn’t have enough cutting edge to get the scores that they needed.

Indeed, the Carrigdhoun side would have been reasonably happy with their start as scores from Darren McCarthy, Brian Corry, Jack Dwyer and Keith Fitzpatrick cancelled out three efforts from Keniry and a Davy Kelleher point for Killeagh to make things all square. The Imokilly side were just beginning to worry about their wide count, which had already reached six, before McCarthy’s opportunism put them in control of the game.

They further drove home their advantage from there to the break as four points from Keniry, including two beauties from play, outdid two McCarthy frees for Ballymartle to make it 1-8 to 0-6 at the break.

 Jack Dwyer, Ballymartle, races through midfield against Killeagh. Picture: Larry Cummins
Jack Dwyer, Ballymartle, races through midfield against Killeagh. Picture: Larry Cummins

Ballymartle turned to face the breeze on the resumption and Paudie Dorney gave them early momentum when he had the first score of the second half but three in a row from that man Keniry soon had Killeagh back in control as they led by 1-11 to 0-7.

That was the pattern for the rest of the game, as every time Ballymartle came close, with McCarthy leading the charge, Keniry was able to keep them at bay. McCarthy’s sixth left four between them again with seven to play, but consecutive scores from Keniry and Andy Walsh soon had Killeagh back in control before Keniry and McCarthy traded scores again to confirm Killeagh’s status and send Ballymartle down to Premier Intermediate for 2023.

Scorers for Killeagh: E Keniry 0-14 (0-8 f, 0-2 65), R McCarthy 1-0, A Walsh, D Kelleher 0-1 each.

Ballymartle: D McCarthy 0-7 f, P Dorney, K Fitzpatrick, S Dorney, B Corry, J Dwyer, D Desmond 0-1 each.

KILLEAGH: P O’Neill (c); D Hogan, S Long, J Fogarty; B Barry, P O’Brien, D Walsh; C Fitzgibbon, K Budds; D Kelleher, E Keniry, A Walsh; A Leahy, R McCarthy, S Walsh. 

Subs: G Leahy for A Leahy (24), R Sinclair for Kelleher (50).

BALLYMARTLE: P Allen; TJ Murphy, C Coleman (c), E O’Leary; L Corry, K Allen, S Corry; S Dorney, P Dorney; J Dwyer, B Corry, S Cummins; K O’Callaghan, D McCarthy, K Fitzpatrick. 

Subs: L O’Callaghan for K O’Callaghan and D Desmond for Cummins (both h-t), J McCarthy for Fitzpatrick (56).

Referee: David Copps (Ballyhea).

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