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First half blitz sets up Ballycumber win

A FIRST half scoring blitz that netted an impressive 1-10 set Ballycumber on course for an opening victory in the 2008 Senior Football Championship.

Ballycumber 1-15
St Rynagh's 0-9

Ballycumber: Rory Guinan 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-1sl); Sean Hackett 0-3; Ciaran Grennan 0-3; Conrad Casey 0-2; Colm Quinn 0-1; Bosco Guinan 0-1; Nigel Grennan 0-1
St Rynagh's: Odhran McIntyre 0-3 (0-2f); Ciaran Flannery 0-2; Ger Rafferty 0-2; Enda Corcoran 0-1 '45'; Paudie Mulhare 0-1

Ballycumber: 6 (4 1st half)
St Rynagh's: 5 (3 1st half)

Yellow Cards
Ballycumber: 2 (Bosco Guinan, Conor Connelly)
St Rynagh's: 4 (James Rafferty, Tomas Flaherty, Ger Rafferty, Ciaran Flannery)

Damian Moran reports

St Rynagh's had no answer to their opponent's fast, direct and incisive football in the first half and they went to the break nine points in arrears. Had it not been for two fine saves from goalkeeper Stephen Finneran, the margin between the teams would have been even more embarrassing. In the second half, the sides were more evenly matched but the damage for St Rynagh's was done despite the efforts of Ger Rafferty to drag them back into the game. During the opening half hour, Ballycumber were unstoppable and they dominated in every area of the field. Their passing was sharp, their movement was excellent and they cut through the St Rynagh's defence time and time again. Up front Colm Quinn, who was given a free role, along with Rory Guinan and Ciaran Grennan were in flying form while the partnership of Diarmuid Daly and Conor Connelly were bossing the middle of the field.
Defensively Ballycumber were very secure as Rynagh's looked bereft of attacking ideas and they were content to loft in high balls which were easily dealt with the Ballycumber back line led by the impressive Karl Daly and Ger Egan.

In the second half, Rynagh's made a fight of it with Pat McIntyre and Ciaran Flannery coming more into the game. The sides added five points apiece in the second thirty minutes but in truth Rynagh's never looked like mounting anything resembling a serious comeback. The sides were evenly matched in the opening exchanges with an early point for Ballycumber from Sean Hackett quickly cancelled out by a point from Ciaran Flannery after some sloppy defending from Ballycumber. Rynagh's took the lead for the one and only time in the game on seven minutes with a fine left footed effort from Ger Rafferty but the advantage was short lived as a minute later Ballycumber blasted into the lead when Rory Guinan hit the back of the net from a penalty spot. Colm Quinn was denied a goal just before the penalty was awarded thanks to a fine save from Stephen Finneran but the 'keeper was let down by his defenders as they failed to clear the danger. Colm Quinn regained possession but was fouled and referee Martin Walsh had no hesitation in pointing to the spot with Guinan making no mistake with the finish.

Three further points from Ciaran Grennan, Conrad Casey and Sean Hackett followed as Ballycumber took complete control of proceedings. Colm Quinn was heavily involved in each of the moves and he was the lynchpin in almost every Ballycumber move despite the attentions of his marker Ger Rafferty. The procession continued in the final ten minutes of the half with Ballycumber continuing their scoring spree with five more points with Bosco Guinan, Colm Quinn, Sean Hackett, Nigel Grennan and Rory Guinan all getting on the scoresheet. 

Finally after 25 scoreless minutes, Rynagh's got back to scoring ways with a point from Odhran McIntyre who intercepted a lose pass from Ballycumber goalkeeper Paul Kelly. Two further fine points were added before half time, one for each side. Conrad Casey shot over from a narrow angle for Ballycumber while Ger Rafferty, from right on the sideline 14 metres out, found the target for Rynagh's to leave the half time score at 1-10 to 0-4 in Ballycumber's favour. Rory Guinan hit the first score of the second half after two minutes but Rynagh's responded with three in a row of their own as they upped their game while Ballycumber's pace visibly dropped. 
Rynagh's moved their players around with captain Paudie Mulhare going to full forward, Pat McIntyre moving to midfield and Ger Rafferty anchoring the defence from centre back. The changes further stifled Ballycumber's attacking threat although they did remove any lingering doubt over the result with three points six minutes midway though the half.

Only three scores were added in the last eight minutes with Paudie Mulhare and Ciaran Flannery finding the target for Rynagh's while Ciaran Grennan rounded off the scoring with his third point of the game.

Ballycumber: Paul Kelly; Brian Halligan, Karl Daly, Alan Flanagan; Bosco Guinan, Ger Egan, Stephen Quinn; Diarmuid Daly, Conor Connelly; Colm Quinn, Rory Guinan, Sean Hackett; Conrad Casey, Nigel Grennan, Ciaran Grennan.

St Rynagh's: Stephen Finneran; Joe Carroll, James Rafferty, Tomas Flaherty; Liam Coughlan, Paudie Mulhare, Diarmuid Horan; Fergus Shortt, Ger Rafferty; Enda Corcoran, Ciaran Flannery, Stephen Wynne; Odhran McIntyre, Pat McIntyre, Donie Flaherty. Subs: Niall Flaherty for Liam Coughlan (22mins), Dessie O'Connor for Joe Carroll (25mins), Martin Grogan for Stephen Wynne (49mins), Gerry Scales for Donie Flaherty (50mins), Ciaran Butler for Enda Corcoran (56mins)

Referee: Martin Walsh

Match Report Published Date: 06 May 2008 on http://www.offalyexpress.ie

Edenderry survive as St Rynagh's drop to Intermediate
A late goal from substitute John Mason proved absolutely crucial as Edenderry pulled off their own version of the great escape to narrowly avoid relegation from the Senior Football Championship.
Tullamore Court Hotel SFC Relegation Play Off

Edenderry 1-9 St Rynagh's 0-9

Edenderry: Cillian Farrell 0-4 (0-1f); Basil Malone 0-4 (0-3f); John Mason 1-0; Keith McGuinness 0-1
St Rynagh's: Gary O'Connor 0-6 (0-4f); Gary Mahon 0-2; Donie Flaherty 0-1

Edenderry: 12 (9 1st half)
St Rynagh's: 7 (1 1st half)

Yellow Cards:
Edenderry: Johnny Hurst (26mins), Stephen Murphy (44mins), Cillian Farrell (48mins)
St Rynagh's: None

Red Cards: None

Damian Moran reports

As it was in Cappincur, it was Rynagh's who were left with the sinking feeling with score difference ultimately sealing their fate.

Last year's Intermediate Champions needed to win by two points to avoid an immediate return to the second tier but with time running out the odds were stacked against them.

Rynagh's had fought back from two points down to level matters with four minutes to go and it looked as if Edenderry were destined for their second relegation in three years.

However a high effort from Sean Kelly caused consternation in the St Rynagh's defence and the ball broke to substitute Mason who stayed calm to blast the ball past Paddy Wynne.

There was plenty of injury-time to be played and Rynagh's threw the kitchen sink at Edenderry in an attempt to snatch a priceless equalising goal but the Reds rearguard held firm.

As you might expect with so much on line the standard of football was not the highest but in terms of commitment neither side was found wanting.

The better football was played by the defenders on both teams with the respective number fours Sean Pender and James Rafferty performing best for their teams.

Diarmuid Horan was another Rynagh's defender who caught the eye while Edenderry full-back Adrian Murphy got in some excellent last ditch interceptions, blocks and tackles when the game was on the line.

The midfield battle was certainly hard fought throughout with neither side managing to wrest full control.

In terms of attacking players, for Edenderry Robbie Glennon was a danger in the first-half while Cillian Farrell played a captain's part in terms of workload and leadership. In fact the decision to move him out to play as basically a third midfielder midway through the second-half certainly worked for Edenderry.

For St Rynagh's, Gary Mahon was accurate in his shooting while captain Paudie Mulhare worked consistently hard through the game.

At times the game threatened to boil over with some nasty off the ball incidents but thankfully it did not completely descend to that level with both teams for the most part getting on with playing football.

Referee Pat Conlon had a good consistent game despite the intermittent roars of disapproval from both sets of supporters and it certainly was not his fault that he missed the off the ball incidents in question.

Rynagh's supporters were rightly irate over two incidents in particular, one which led to a very shaken Martin Grogan being substituted just three minutes after his introduction but the referee had no hope of seeing what happened as the ball was heading towards the other end of the field.

Pat Conlon was very much isolated as there were no official linesmen for the game which is just asking for trouble at this level. 

It is something those responsible for appointing officials will have to take a careful look at in years to come as both teams deserve to have linesmen just like every other Senior Football Championship game. 

It's unlikely that we'll see club members from Tullamore and Rhode running the line at the county final.

The game itself swung one way and then the other with both teams wasting chances to take control of proceedings.

Edenderry were the better side in the first-half but they went to the break a point behind after kicking nine wides in the opening half hour while Rynagh's just hit one.

Ironically Rynagh's had the better of things after the break but they were outscored 1-4 to 0-3 by Edenderry. Rynagh's shot six wides in the second-half while Edenderry hit just two and Rynagh's were also guilty of overplaying when they got close to their opponents goal.

It was a different story in the opening 30 minutes as Rynagh's were clinical in their finishing. 

A point from a free from Gary O'Connor gave them the lead before Edenderry captain Cillian Farrell levelled matters after five minutes.
Farrell was on the mark again soon after but straight from the kick-out Rynagh's marched down the field with a flowing move to which Gary Mahon applied the finishing touch with a well taken point.

In the opening 11 minutes Edenderry hit five wides and they went behind against the run of play 14 minutes in when Donie Flaherty found the target. 

Another three wides followed for Edenderry and Rynagh's took full advantage going two points clear thanks to a well taken score from Gary O'Connor.

Eventually Edenderry found their shooting boots and points in quick succession from Keith McGuinness and Cillian Farrell had them back on level terms 22 minutes into the half. 

Rynagh's again went two points clear with a brace of frees from Gary O'Connor but Basil Malone reduced his team's deficit to the minimum with a free just before half-time.
Within two minutes of the restart the same player repeated the trick to level the scores but soon after Rynagh's edged in front again when Gary O'Connor hit over his fifth point of the game.

Despite having the better of things in terms of territory and possession, Rynagh's would not score for the next 22 minutes in which time they hit a wasteful five wides.
Edenderry took advantage and two points from Basil Malone and one from Cillian Farrell had them the necessary two points ahead with four minutes remaining.

In the closing stages Rynagh's did briefly find their shooting boots and points from Gary Mahon and Gary O'Connor got them back on level terms and seemed to be edging them towards senior championship survival but the late goal from John mason flipped the game on its head.

Rynagh's laid siege to the Edenderry goal in the time added on by referee Pat Conlon but the goal they needed to level matters did not come their way meaning Edenderry were the side who eventually dodged the relegation bullet.

Edenderry: Brian Quinlan; Wayne Mooney, Adrian Murphy, Sean Pender; Stephen Murphy, Johnny Hurst, Colm Byrne; Adrian Mahon, Richie Dalton; Mark Young, Basil Malone, Sean Og Farrell; Keith McGuinness, Cillian Farrell, Robbie Glennon. Subs: Sean Kelly for Robbie Glennon (42mins), John Mason for Sean Og Farrell (54mins)

St Rynagh's: Paddy Wynne; Dessie O'Connor, Tomas Flaherty, James Rafferty; Joe Carroll, Diarmuid Horan, Stephen Wynne; Ger Rafferty, Fergus Shortt; Enda Corcoran, Pat McIntyre, Gary O'Connor; Gary Mahon, Paudie Mulhare, Donie Flaherty. Subs: Martin Grogan for Dessie O'Connor (36mins), Alan Corcoran for Martin Grogan (39mins), Ger Scales for Enda Corcoran (42mins)

Referee: Pat Conlon

Published Date: 20 September 2008 on http://www.offalyexpress.ie