DROMIN-ATHLACCA’S dream of adding a Munster intermediate club hurling title to their county final success ended in a heartbreaking 1-12 to 0-14 defeat to Tipperary champions Ballina in an entertaining quarter-final tie played at Bruff this Sunday.
Limerick kingpins Dromin-Athlacca, who trailed by six points at the end of the first quarter, looked to have done enough to force the game to extra-time as the sides remained deadlocked deep in stoppage time,
However, a terrific pointed free from Ballina’s top scorer Michael Breen, from close to the half way line in the 62nd minute, ensured the visitors recorded a dramatic late victory.
It was tough luck on a brave Dromin-Athlacca side which recovered from a slow start to edge in front in the 58th minute, thanks a superb individual point from James Kelleher. However, two late points for Ballina ultimately swung the outcome in their favour.
Dromin-Athlacca were left to rue racking up 11 wides during the hour, an number of them struck from favourable positions.
Ballina deservedly led 1-5 to 0-6 at half-time and would have been further in front had the Tipp side managed to convert a greater number of their scoring chances.
Ballina led 1-4 to 0-1 after 18 minutes of a game played on a very good top surface, despite the recent heavy rainfall. A run of four unanswered points for the South Limerick side, scored by David Reidy (2), Jason Lenihan and James Kelleher, had Dromin-Athlacca trailing by just two points at the break.
The Limerick side upped their display in the third quarter to edge in front in the 40th minute, 0-10 to 1-6, when Peter Ryan pointed after excellent approach play by Tom Breen.
Ballina edged back in front at 1-10 to 0-11 when less than 10 minutes remaining. However, the Limerick champions hit back once more with points from top scorer David Reidy and a smashing effort from Eoin O’Leary.
However, Breen’s injury time score in deteriorating weather conditions guided Ballina through to the semi-final.
SCORERS - Dromin-Athlacca: David Reidy 0-5 (0-4 frees), Michael Reidy, James Kelleher 0-2 each, Peter Ryan, Paul Neenan (free), Tiernan Ryan, Eoin O’Leary, Jason Lenihan 0-1 each. Ballina: Michael Breen 0-5 (0-4 frees), Sean McKeogh 1-0, David Hickey 0-3, Stephen O’Brien 0-2, Brian O’Connor, Brian Stritch 0-1 each.
DROMIN-ATHLACCA - Mark Moynihan; Donal Walsh, Brian Kelleher, Derek Kenny; Gearoid O’Leary, Eoin Benson, Tom Breen; Peter Ryan, Michael Reidy (Capt); Paul Neenan, David Reidy, James Kelleher; Tiernan Ryan, Eoin O’Leary, Jason Lenihan. SUB: Gerry Kelleher for Tiernan Ryan (52 mins).
BALLINA - Martin McKeogh; Donal Kent, Pat Cosgrave, Brian McKeogh; Kevin Cosgrave, Thomas Collins, Donal McKeogh; Gerry O’Brien, Michael Breen; Brian O’Connor, Stephen O’Brien, David Hickey; Sean McKeogh, Brian Stritch, TJ O’Connell. SUBS: Rody Kennedy for Donal McKeogh, Stephen Stritch for O’Connor (both half-time), Eoin Kent for Sean McKeogh (45 mins), Fergal Collins for Donal Kent (48 mins).
REFEREE - Pat Casey (Waterford)