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Ballina dumped out

Ballina Town are pictured prior to their FAI Junior Cup game
A FEW GOOD MEN Ballina Town are pictured prior to their FAI Junior Cup game against St John Bosco (Dublin) last weekend. Pics: PaddyCummins/PCPhoto.ie

Ballina dumped out


St John Bosco 2
Leonard 15, O’Connor 100+3
Ballina Town 1
Devers 35


BALLINA Town became the second Mayo side to crash out of the FAI Junior Cup at the hands of Dublin side St John Bosco on Sunday, with an extra-time goal dashing their hopes.
Erris United were beaten on penalties in the previous round by the Athletic Union League side a week earlier and despite a change of venue, Ballina could not avoid the same fate.
Bosco winger Robbie O’Connor was the man of the moment, striking late on with a deflected effort. However, one of his teammates could have easily given the visitors the perfect start over 100 minutes earlier.
Goalkeeper Robert Costello had been the hero in the penalty shoot-out victory in the previous round. But he almost handed Ballina an easy second minute lead, when he punched a cross straight to an opposition player. Luckily for the keeper and his team, Declan O’Connor was not able to put his effort on target and take the early chance.
Within 13 minutes of being let off the hook, Bosco took the lead through a deflected effort from Richard Leonard. The defender picked up the ball from a corner and his first-time shot was deflected past the helpless goalkeeper and into the net.
Ballina could and should have equalized within a matter of minutes, when winger Mick Duffy found himself free and bearing down on goal. However, goalkeeper Costello slid in with his feet to clear.
The quality of the football on show was not helped by the strong winds on the day and periods of pressure for both sides came and went. Ballina again nearly scored when Mick Duffy burst free down the left hand side, but he failed to beat Costello with his shot.
The home side were unable to clear the ball properly, however, and the equalizing goal did result from that period of pressure. Within a minute, striker Phillip Devers curled a great free kick into the top corner of the Bosco goal to level the score.
Yet Bosco should have gone in on level terms before the break. Striker Fintan Wynne latched on to a long ball but could only direct his header over the bar. The Dublin side continued to miss chances at the beginning of the second half and were given confidence by a spilled ball from Ballina keeper Graham Nash. The goalkeeper was fortunate to reclaim the ball immediately on that occasion, but should have been punished ten minutes later.
Defender Richard Leonard was the player guilty of missing two great chances which would have given the home side a decisive lead. Finding himself inside the box and unmarked, Leonard headed wide from six yards out and could only shoot wide from even closer moments later, when Nash again spilled the resulting cross back into the box.
Striker and goalscorer Philip Devers was proving to be a nuisance up front for Ballina, but the visitors struggled to carve their opponents open.
With neither side determined to push forward and take a risk in search of the win, the game disintegrated into scrappy play for the remainder of the second period and into extra time.
With the contest crying out for a goal, Ballina thought they had got it at the beginning of the first half of extra time.
Striker Mick Duffy went around goalkeeper Robert Costello after finding himself free down the left. However, he could only flash his effort across the goal harmlessly wide. In a tight contest, the goal would have almost certainly put a different complexion on the result. However, it was not meant to be and Bosco struck a massive blow before the break.
Winger Robbie O’Connor’s shot seemed to be bobbling harmlessly wide off the post, but it trickled into the bottom corner of the net. Goalkeeper Graham Nash was not helped by the deflection the shot took, and he could do nothing to stop Bosco grabbing the victory.
In the end Ballina had nothing more to give against a Bosco side that were not about to give away the lead a second time, and the Dublin side progressed into the next round.
R Costello, R Leonard, M Burke, D Dunne, D Purdy, G Boyne, G Connolly, G Byrne, G Parkes, F Wynne, R O’Connor. Sub: D Grey for Parkes (71 mins).
G Nash, D Tansey, C Giblin, T O’Connor, Peter Duffy, F Quinn, D O’Connor, D Helly, P Devers, M Duffy, E Gorman. Sub: I O’Boyle for Giblin (18 mins). Pat Duffy for Quinn (inj).

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