Ballymac produced an incredible second half recovery to defeat St. Michael’s Foilmore on Saturday evening in their opening game of the County Junior Football League in Foilmore. Trailing by 2-09 to 0-03 at half-time Ballymac looked dead and buried however the visitors produced a stirring second half recovery to take the points on a final scoreline of 5-09 to 2-15.
Foilmore dominated the opening period and led by a seemingly unassailable 12 points at half time with Ballymac’s only scores in the opening period coming from forgotten man Robert Fitzgerald with two points and a Darragh Regan free. While it was a most disjointed performance from the visitors in the opening half they did pass up several decent goal scoring opportunities with Regan, Paul Culloty (twice) and Padraig Laide all coming close while Mike Hoare also saw his looping effort come back off the crossbar.
Whatever was said at half time by the management team of Mike Sweeney and Tom O’Shea certainly had the desired effect as Ballymac proceeding to dominate the second half to turn the game on its head. Immediately after the restart Paul Culloty fielded a high ball into the square and was brought down for a penalty which Darragh Regan converted to set the comeback in motion. Foilmore responded with two points of their own before a Michael Hoare point left ten between the sides after 37 minutes. Ballymac were then awarded their second penalty after the marauding Michael Herlihy was upended with Regan again clinically dispatching the spot kick.
Foilmore steadied the ship with a point of their own at the other end however Ballymac were playing some great football at this stage and points from wing back Kevin Sweeney and Regan from a free, either side of an opportunist Padraig McCarthy goal when he intercepted a short kickout and lobbed the goalkeeper, reduced the deficit to five with ten minutes remaining.
The next few minutes turned into the Paul Culloty show as the full forward rolled back the years to grab two goals in as many minutes the turn the game completely on its head. He firstly finished to the net after fine approach play from Con Reynolds and then pounced after a Mike Herlihy effort dropped short and suddenly Ballymac led for the first time with five minutes to go. Foilmore wasted a few chances to level the tie and Ballymac made them pay with late points from Christy Leen and McCarthy securing a famous win.
This was the ultimate game of two halves with Ballymac completing an amazing 15 point second half turnaround. While Culloty will inevitably grab the headlines after his 2 goal salvo, Ballymac had heroes all over the place with the likes of Keelan Brosnan, Kevin Sweeney and Robert Fitzgerald outstanding particularly in the second period while the moving of Padraig McCarthy to the forward line also proved to be a big turning point.
Team: Alan Bonn, Keelan Brosnan, Con Reynolds, Kevin Sweeney (0-1), James Carmody, Padraig McCarthy (1-1), Michael Herlihy, Darragh Regan (2-3), Christy Leen (0-1), Michael Hoare (0-1), Robert Fitzgerald (0-2), David Keane (C), Paul Culloty (2-0), Padraig Laide (14 a side)
Man of the Match: Paul Culloty