The Mighty Ducks of Lisnagry remain unbeaten but only after an almighty fright at a heaving Hassett’s Cross in this mornings early kick off.
Match report from (future award winning graphic novelist) Declan Gill
With playing conditions almost perfect, a relatively unfancied Balla certainly put it up to the Ducks. With pace to burn on both wings the northsiders played with their familiar grit & passion on their home pitch-one of the great fortresses of the LSDL. It was a real contrast in playing styles also - the big city boys employing a pressure high line defense with the villagers playing their usual languid,silky passing game - reminiscent of that famous Brazil side of 1982. Balla showed no respect for the table toppers and assumed an early lead before a fine Hickey strike restored parity. Then a tactical bull fight developed - the Ducks resembling a matador inviting the Balla bulls to attack before hitting them on the counter. With further goals from Oslakovic, Hickey and an inform Quinlivan - the Ducks seemed in full control at halftime.
But with a stiffening breeze developing in the 2nd half and the Balla men enjoying that advantage into the Thomondgate end of the ground - the game turned on its head. Two quick goals from Ryan and Keane equalised affairs and a helter skelter of a last quarter began to unfold. Farrell & Fogarty had to be immense in defense along with their ultra consistent skipper Casey and when Coolbawn stopper Knight retired with a thigh injury, another Coolbawn man - Gill was handed the goalies gloves once more.He would be a busy man as Balla piled on the pressure with tsunami’s of attacking play. Yet another Coolbawn man Hogan (in total 5 Meadow lads were involved ) was having a memorable outing on the left and his tussle with the Balla no 9, McCarthy was like a middle weight title fight in its intensity.
With the referee doing a fine job keeping a lid on proceedings, the match was on a knifes edge but Claret and Blue supporters were entitled to start thinking about their Saturday night celebratory vino of choice when a beautiful swerve of the hips from Cullen-Cinneide bamboozled his man down the left wing. Cullen went one way, Cinneide went the other and a beleaguered Balla Defender was left holding the hyphen as the razor sharp Kiely finished to the net before the pacey Lynch added a sixth after an assist from the live wire O’Connell.
All character building stuff but after what seemed like a late consolation goal from Balla went in, the fat lady had yet to sing her final verse and the ref handed the townies one last chance - this time from a 25 yard free kick. All 6ft 2 of the freshly introduced Dundon stood over the dead ball before curling an immaculate strike into the top right hand corner with the last action of the game - leaving all present wondering what if he had been present at the start (this reporter was informed at the post match press conference he had just flown in from a lads holiday in Magaluf).
So with their feathers ever so slightly ruffled after a tense affair - the Mighty Ducks still remain unbeaten after 3 games.
Manager Ken Casey spoke briefly with reporters after the game: “Listen - a point from Balla is always a point hard earned. We will park this performance and go again next week but our defensive coordinator will have to work hard during the week and iron out a few creases as we are conceding a few too many goals“.
So all in all after a real humdinger of a game - promotion to Division 1 is still very much on the cards for the Mighty Ducks from Scanlon Park.
Squad: Gill, Knight, Cullen-Cinneide, Casey(capt), Fogarty, Oslakovich, Hickey, Hogan, Farrell, Kiely, Lynch, Quinlivan, O’Connell.
Management: Casey, Gill.
Scorers: Hickey 2, Oslakovich, Lynch, Quinlivan, Kiely.