Ballyhaunis 0-12 Davitts 1-9
A trademark 45 metre free kick from Ronan McNamara with the last kick of the game earned Davitts a draw in this Senior Championship match played in Ballyhaunis on Sunday. The draw ensures Davitts Senior status for next year while the gallant Ballyhaunis lads will have to survive the dreaded relegation play-offs because of an inferior score difference.
Davitts got off to a perfect start when Colm Boyle’s long delivery was fielded by Ronan McNamara who passed on to Cathal Hennelly who gave Adrian Philips no chance with an emphatic finish in the opening minute of the game. Josh Ronayne extended the lead with a point two minutes later and Davitts, playing with the strong wind, were looking good. Ballyhaunis replied with two Niall Prenty pointed frees in the fifth and seventh minutes but Sean Waldron extended Davitts lead to three with a neat score in the 12th minute. Ballyhaunis began to show admirable grit and driven on by Declan Doyle, Keith Higgins, Brian Hunt, the rugged Ryan Worden and Niall Prenty, they proceeded to dominate the remainder of the first half. Five unanswered points via Niall Prenty (an absolute beauty from the right wing), Adrian Philips, John Prenty, Stephen Hoban and Brian Hunt had them two points ahead after 28 minutes. A fine Cathal Hennelly point for the visitors four minutes into injury time left Ballyhaunis ahead by 0-7 to 1-3 at the interval.
Colm Roche opened the second half scoring for Davitts but Ballyhaunis replied with points from Niall Prenty, Brian O Neill, a huge effort from Keith Higgins, and John Prenty to put them four points up as the game entered the final quarter. Davitts looked dead and buried at this stage but inspirational play from man of the match James Cummins, Colm Roche, Ronan McNamara, Josh Ronayne, Liam Kearns and Cathal Hennelly hauled them back into the game. Josh Ronayne pointed in the 17th minute and Liam Kearns popped over three points in a row to have the sides level with the game entering stoppage time. Keith Higgins scored what looked like the winner, another fantastic score from way out the field. It was left to Ronan McNamara to rescue Davitts as he pointed a long range free after great work by Declan Healy, Liam Kearns and James Cummins.
This was a tense and niggly game but what it might have lacked in quality was more than compensated by the excitement it gave the large attendance.
Ballyhaunis: Adrian Philips (0-1), Declan Doyle, Patrick Kiely, Conor Freeley, Eoghan Collins, Ryan Worden, John Cunnane, Keith Higgins (0-2), Kevin Gallagher, Brian Hunt (0-1), Morgan Lyons, Stephen Hoban (0-1), Jarlath Carney, John Prenty (0-2), Niall Prenty (0-4). Subs used: Brian O Neill (0-1), Isaac Carroll.
Davitts: Adrian McNamara, Donal Ronayne, Tommy Nolan, Colm Roche (0-1), James Cummins, Jonathan Clarke, Cathal Higgins, Ronan McNamara (0-1), Colm Boyle, Josh Ronayne (0-2), Liam Kearns (0-3), Thomas Waldron, Andrew Peters, Sean Waldron (0-1), Cathal Hennelly (1-1). Subs used: Matthew Trench, Declan Healy, Mark Ronayne.