Sport

Strong final quarter sees Loughinisland shake off Ballyholland

Despite making a strong start, Ballyholland came up short against Division 1 side Loughinisland. Picture by Louis McNally
Despite making a strong start, Ballyholland came up short against Division 1 side Loughinisland. Picture by Louis McNally Despite making a strong start, Ballyholland came up short against Division 1 side Loughinisland. Picture by Louis McNally

Down SFC Round 1

Ballyholland 0-13

Loughinisland 2-15

Loughinisland rattled home a goal in the final ten minutes to finish comfortable eight-point winners in an otherwise intense clash with Ballyholland Harps.

The Division One side and newly crowned Division Two League champions went toe-to-toe and were level on five different occasions but the Blues bagged the crucial scores in the final stretch.

Loughinisland opted to rest county man Rory Mason but he made an impact when introduced after half-time, but it was Peter Mullan and Aaron McClements that hit the net that made the difference.

Ballyholland were in the lead and looking reasonably assured when Mullan finished a slick move to edge the Blues two points ahead with 52 minutes played. From that point, the Harps only registered one more score as Loughinisland finished with a flurry of 1-3 unanswered.

The Harps also finished the game with 14 players, as Joe Murphy was given a red after a bit of ill-tempered exchanges.

The game in Castlewellan was moved forward 15 minutes to accommodate the drop in daylight, but it was Jack Murtagh and Seamus Loughran’s dazzling free kicks that brightened the game up.

It was open and end-to-end with the Harps relying on the duo to kick over from 50-metres and more, whereas Oisin Savage and Stefan Mason were Loughinsland’s primary scorers in the opening half.

Big Dan Gordon was among the points too to edge the Blues 0-07 to 0-05 ahead before Seamus Loughran was denied a goal after Chris Turley’s low save but the ball ended up over the bar and Murtagh pointed to leave the sides level at 0-07 each at the break.

Joe Murphy, Murtagh and Loughran edged the Harps ahead but Rory, his brother Stefan and Gary Stranney hit back to level the scores at 0-11 each with 15 minutes to play.

Loughran steered the Harps ahead for one last time before Loughinisland’s late flurry.

Both sides will be in action next week but it is Loughinisland that goes into the winners' pot.

Scorers

Ballyholland Harps: J Murtagh (0-07, 0-4 frees), S Loughran (0-04, 0-2 frees), P Loughran and J Murphy (0-01 each).

Loughinisland: O Savage (0-05, 0-2 frees), D McClements (1-02), S Mason (0-03), P Mullan (1-00), R Mason (0-03, 0-2 frees), D Stranney and D Gordan (0-01 each).