AS COMPREHENSIVE as opening day wins come, this was about as good as it could get for Ballybofey United.
Ballybofey United 7 Curragh Athletic 1
Seven times – three of them from Damien Glackin – they breached the Curragh rearguard and, in truth, the afternoon could have been an even greater ordeal for the New Camp men.
Ballybofey were full value for this win, which sees them advance to a Lifford Area semi-final of the Brian McCormick Cup, and for both it was perhaps an outline of what might be ahead this season.
Barney Lafferty was without the likes of Gary Dunnion, Gary Wilson, Chris Patton, Brian Lafferty and John Lynch, but the Twin Towns team were still at their ease here.[adrotate group=”46″]
Their seventh goal arrived with 26 minutes still to play and that glorious effort by Mark Griffin was the pick of the bunch before Ballybofey lifted the feet from the accelerator.
They were three in front by the 25th minute, although Tim Callaghan did strike a fine goal back for Curragh, but Ballybofey stamped real authority in the second half, with Curragh playing the last 38 minutes with 10 men after the sending off of Niall Fitzsimons.
Having been booked earlier in the game, Fitzsimons was shown a second yellow and a red by referee Martin McAnenny.[adrotate group=”37″]
The day had begun with a goal for the home side. Dan O’Brien drilled across the box for Glackin, who returned the ball in the direction of O’Brien, who managed to just about get enough on the final touch.
Glackin doubled the lead in the 15th minute when he converted at the back post from a cross by Griffin.
O’Brien, a former Curragh player, who was with Convoy last season, is now in the blue of Ballybofey and he tucked home a penalty on 25 minutes after being taken down by veteran full-back Noel Dooley.
In between times, Ballybofey threatened to run riot. Martin Patton headed over from O’Brien’s cross and former Finn Harps and Curragh man Neil Lloyd shot at goalkeeper Jason Woods.
James Sweeney rolled narrowly wide at the other end before Curragh did pull one back as Callaghan wonderfully fired past Ciarán Foy from the edge of the box.
When he took receipt of Gary Heaney’s cross, Callaghan still had work to do, but a neat first touch and a clever finish was the highlight of a long 90 minutes for Curragh.
Eighty seconds into the second half, Ballybofey added another as Glackin punished an error in the Curragh defence.[adrotate group=”70″]
After Fitzsimons was dismissed, it got worse for Curragh when, after Woods failed to hold Glackin’s flicked header, the ball came off the post and Glackin had the simple task of rolling home for his hat-trick.
On the hour, after Woods parried Gavin Doherty’s powerful drive, Shaun McGowan slammed into the roof of the net.
Soon after, Griffin majestically soared an effort from wide on the left over the head of Woods and into the far corner to complete the rout.
Behind Foy’s net in the second half, a young Finn Valley high jumper was going through her routine as the game was unfolding.[adrotate group=”53″]
On the pitch, Ballybofey were setting a high bar for themselves with promotion from Division Two the target for the Finnsiders.
Ballybofey United: Ciarán Foy; Gavin Doherty, Shaun McGowan, Paul Kelly, Darren Kelly; Martin Patton, Neil Lloyd, Niall McCloskey, Mark Griffin; Damien Glackin, Dan O’Brien.
Curragh Athletic: Jason Woods; Damien Reilly, Ryan McColgan, Matthew McConnell, Noel Dooley; Tim Callaghan, Niall Fitzsimons, James Sweeney, Gary Heaney (Jason McKinney 73); Michael Kearney, Renato Evangelicia.
Referee: Martin McAnenny.Tags: