No joy for our 2nd team as we came up just short in our efforts against Ballinacurra to make this years JB final. Playing against the wind for the 1st half, Aghada started well when the two Brians – Wall and Morrissey linked well to set up midfielder Tim O’Regan for the opening point. This was quickly followed by another point, this time from Stevie Keeffe who finished well after collecting a breaking ball at midfield. Now however Ballinacurra settled and started to dominate procedings. They hit 4 without reply and Aghada were also grateful to Richie Bull for an excellent last ditch block down as our opponents went for goal. A fisted Morrissey point steadied the Aghada ship and it was 4 v 3 as a fiesty 1st quarter drew to a close. For the next 8 minutes it was tit for tat. Mike Russell, Wall, Niall Hill, and Alan Hogan all pointed from play and in reply Ballinacurra hit 3 frees and one from play to maintain their one point advantage. Then on 23 minutes came the 1st green flag as Ballinacurra carved open the Aghada defense and finished well to the back of Ciaran O’Shea’s net. That was also the last score of the half and left “the village” 4 clear at the break. Aghada had lost 2 defenders – Cal Bawden and Aaron Butler early in the half , and knew they were up against it for the second half even now playing with the wind. Our opponents owned the 1st 10 minutes of the second period, hitting 2 points from play, 1 from a free, and also scoring the second goal of the game. In response Alan Hogan had a point, which could have easily been a goal, and the same player also narrowly dragged a goal effort just wide in the same period. Aghada were now 9 points down and it looked to be all over. Credit to the lads however they stormed back into the game. Mark Healy and David Rice impressed at the back and Aghada started scoring again first through Russell when he pointed a free after Luke O’Connell was hauled down. Hogan had another point which again could have been a goal, but for an excellent tip over from the Ballinacurra ‘keeper. By now Tim O’Regan was operating at full forward and continued to play well. He pointed on 44 minutes and now Aghada seemed to have the momentum. A pointed free from Ballinacurra was cancelled out by a like score from Andy O’Donoghue after Ronan McConville was fouled and 3 minutes later Russell did likewise. This time it was Conor Maloney earning the free. Next up Hogan again saw a gilt edged goal chance go a begging, before the goal the young corner forward had been threatening all night finally arrived. Tim O’Regan tapped down a high Russell delivery to Hogan and he finished well. That was the 55th minute and the nine point deficit was now just 2 points. There was plenty time left and while there was two more points kicked in the contest, they were both kicked from play by an impressive Ballinacurra outfit, who rallied again when the need was greatest. In the end there was the usual what if’s from an Aghada point of view, but Ballinacurra were worthy winners on the night. Well done to all involved this year at this level, both players and management.
Aghada Team and scorers – Ciaran O’Shea, Richie Condon, David Rice, Aaron Butler, Ronan McConville, Mark Healy, Cal Bawden, Mike Russell(0-3, 2f), Tim O’Regan (0-2), Niall Hill (0-1), Stephen O’Keeffe (0-1), John Connolly, Alan Hogan (1-3), Brian Morrissey (0-1), Brian Wall (0-1). Subs Used – Rob Whelan, Andy O’Donoghue(0-1), Luke O’Connell, Ben Stafford, Conor Maloney.