Borris-Ileigh GAA Club Match Report
Borris-Ileigh vs Mullinahone (FBD County Championship Quarter Final)
15th October 2021
By Denis Ryan
The FBD Senior County Championship quarter finals began under the lights in Semple Stadium with the contest between Borris-Ileigh and Mullinahone on the 15th of October. Borris having finished second in a tough group going against reigning Seamus O’Riain champions and table toppers in the group stages Mullinahone, a tough contest was anticipated. Borris kept an unchanged team from their win over Nenagh, they were looking to lay down a marker from throw in. Borris’ work rate in the forward line has been a staple all year and brought just rewards early when a turnover led to Eddie Ryan’s first of the game, JD nearly manufacturing a goal for the team when good vision barely avoided a Borris goal but looking threatening. Mullinahone then began to get to pace of the game and had more possession without really generating scoring chances whilst Borris created more turnovers which led to a JD point, Borris appearing content with Mullinahone full back line possession and pouncing thereafter. Borris appeared buoyed by their ability to shut down Mullinahone’s forwards which created a launch pad for further scores from first Kevin Maher who showed good strength to withstand a tackle for his first of the game, this was followed by Dan McCormack in the sweeper role making a good interception to lay off to Jerry who finished a well worked score to give the Borris men a 2 point lead. Borris were now gathering frequent possession and showing a clinical element to their game with Kieran Maher stepping up for his first of what would be a 3 point haul for the wing forward soon after before Dan swept up well to launch a long ball into Conor Kenny who showed quick reactions to gain a yard and finish well. Niall Kenny showed savage work rate to disrupt long enough for JD to pick up the pieces and make it a brace for the corner forward, Borris then putting together a lovely chain of play starting with James McCormack calmly finding Brendan down the old stand side who in turn found Kieran Maher who showed confidence from his first strike and replicated the result with a fantastic point just as the water break arrived with Borris in the ascendency and in control on a scoreline of 8 points to 4. The theme of the first quarter was the work rate leading to scores from multiple avenues and Mullinahones short game feeding right into Borris’ high quality half back line which allowed Borris to set up scores. Mullinahone came out with a rejigged setup by flooding their half back line to negate some of the attacking threat and provide extra support to avoid turnovers, this coupled with Eoin Kelly opening the quarter with a brace which was part of a 4 point run for the South team. Borris were struggling to generate space in the forward line but were definitely denied a penalty when Niall Kenny turned and got shouldered into the chest. Kieran Maher then stopped the scoring drought with another point but Mullinahone went into the half time break with the slenderest of leads but having overcome a 4 point deficit on a scoreline of Mullinahone 10 points to Borris 9. It was clear to see that Mullinahone learned lessons from the first quarter and succeeded in negating the long ball threat of Borris which also allowed them to put together some short passing with extra men in the area.
Tomas Ryan Foot replaced Sean McCormack as the second half began, Eddie starting the half with a run which resulted in his first free of the evening. Seamus Burke deserves mention for a fantastic start to the second half where he was involved in the action frequently yet provided stable defence and allowed the ball to return into the Mullinahone danger zone. Niall Kenny slotted a well taken point after a good run but these developments received a setback when a long aimless ball into the Borris box wasn’t dealt with and Mullinahone reacted quickest for the first goal of the game. Mullinahone lent on the goal to establish control of the game with Borris struggling to find space, Ray McCormack alleviating this by pushing up the pitch with a good interception to set up Eddie for his 2nd free of the game. This score was only 1 of 4 points scored by Borris in approximately 30 minutes of game time, Thomas Fahy replacing JD before Ray again stepped up to finish a point after a Conor Kenny shot was blocked by the oppositions GK. Borris went into the second water break behind on a scoreline of Mullinahone 1-13 to Borris’ 13 points. Mullinahone extended their lead to 5 points in the 4th quarter before Jerry Kelly stood up with a sublime sideline cut to give the Borris players and crowd a lift before the games biggest period of play. Dan retrieved ball near the midfield area before making a solo run into the danger area of the Mullinahone backline and in turn being dragged to the ground gaining a team free. There was then a melee of multiple players before the referee sent off Kevin Maher and further punishment of a throw in ball as opposed to a free, Borris doing really well post throw in to get Niall Kenny on possession who then shot to the roof of the net for a game changing goal and life into the Borris comeback. Borris were now on top and contributed two further points, firstly from Conor courtesy of a Jerry pass before Brendan won and scored a free to put Borris ahead with only minutes remaining. Borris looked to be re energised and added further scores through two more Eddie frees to extend the lead to 3 before Mullinahone gave themselves a lifeline with another goal after a goalmouth scramble. Borris re took the lead through an Eddie score after great offensive team play but Mullinahone were able to secure possession past the allocated time for an Eoin Kelly free to leave the teams all square at the final whistle with extra time needed to decide a winner.
Colm Boyle replaced Kevin Maher at the beginning of extra time with Borris doing really well to extend the Mullinahone rear guard through effective ball winning by Conor and deep running by Dan to force frees which were dealt with through Eddie composure but Mullinahone like the entire game stayed in the faces of opposition to leave it a nail biting affair throughout the first period. As things were in the melting pot, Brendan pulled up with an apparent knee injury which resulted in his substitution minutes later for the deputising Shane Kenny as the break arrived with Borris one point ahead on a scoreline of 1-21 to 2-17. Neither team wilted in the second half of E/T and were still able to put on a great contest with Borris matching Mullinahone efforts with Niall Kenny and Dan really standing out in both half lines and using the ball to force illegal tackles to allow Eddie keep the scoreboard ticking over and Borris finished the affair with Thomas Fahy finding space and scoring from a tight angle to give some breathing room as the final whistle blew on a pulsating contest and a cracking game to really hammer home the added appeal of the Friday night game and Borris winners just on a scoreline of Borris-Ileigh 1-24 to Mullinahone’s 2-19.
Borris-Ileigh will no doubt look at this game as one to take a lot of lessons from. On the positives, the team showed incredible heart to come back from 5 points down and a man down to really have the game won in normal time only for extended added time and an unlucky goal chance not falling. The work rate of the forward line was fantastic in the first quarter but Mullinahone adapted and flooded the half back line which shut down the long ball game of Borris and allowed them extra players to launch attacks from. Borris will look to the period from water break to water break where they just mustered 4 points, 2 from play as a key area to improve upon when presented with tougher opposition. Seamus Burke, Ray Mc and Kieran Maher deserve mention in normal time for Burke’s ball winning in frequent battles, Ray’s hooking and blocking in advanced areas to set up frees and Kieran’s 3 points from play to help stop scoring droughts. Dan and Niall really stood up in extra time with their ball winning ability to negate Mullinahone and also set up frees which proved vital with Eddie Ryan showing incredible courage in the pressurised situation. Borris will go into the semi final as underdogs which they will be very comfortable with and face the challenge of perennial county contenders Loughmore Castleiney in two weeks’ time, best of luck to players and management in preparation for what promises to be a high quality contest.
Team and Scorers:
Seamus Burke, Ciaran Cowan, Liam Ryan (C)
Sean McCormack, Dan McCormack, Ray McCormack (0-01)
Kevin Maher (0-01), Brendan Maher (0-01(0-01f))
Niall Kenny (1-01), Jerry Kelly (0-02), Kieran Maher (0-03)
Eddie Ryan (0-10(8fs)), Conor Kenny (0-02), James “JD” Devaney (0-02)
Thomas Fahy (0-01) for JD Devaney
Paddy Stapleton for Kieran Maher
Shane Kenny for Brendan Maher
Colm Boyle for Kevin Maher (ET)