Kenny inspires Ballyleague men

Ruby Oil Roscommon SFC semi-finals St. Faithleachs          0-15 Padraig Pearses       0-8 The Play: St. Faithleachs showed their determination to get back into another County Senior Final when they totally overpowered a very disappointing Padraig Pearses side in this  one-sided first semi-final played in perfect weather conditions at Dr. Hyde Park last Sunday.   This was a very impressive display from Wally Burke’s men and if they can maintain this level of performance they will give champions St. Brigids plenty to think about in the final when it’s played on Sunday, 30th of September.   Faithleachs broke from the blocks quicker than an olympic sprinter. They got a hold of midfield where Senan O’Grady and Martin Reynolds were dominant all through, and Enda Kenny led them up front as they eased past a Pearses team that never really got going.   Most observers (including this one) expected a close game but the exchanges were very one-sided as the contest took shape. Faithleachs were first to almost every ball and played some very attractive football.   Aidan Dooney kicked a point from play in the 5th minute to set them on their way but three minutes later the sides were level when Sean Fahy was on target with a 35-metre free. However this was to be Pearses’ last score for almost 25 minutes as Faithleachs took over completely.   Padraig Wallace nudged the Ballyleague men into the lead in the 14th minute and with Enda Kenny dominant at full-forward, they opened up the game in great style.    Points from Brendan Reynolds, Senan O’Grady (2), Dooney (2) and Kenny (3) saw Faithleachs streak away into a 0-10 to 0-1 lead by the 29th minute. Shell-shocked Pearses simply had no answer and their previously prolific attack was blunted by the tenacious Faithleachs defence.   Pearses were struggling badly and their plight was underlined when Sean Fahy kicked their only point from play in the entire first half in injury-time. It was a very impressive show from Faithleachs who left the field at half-time leading by 0-10 to 0-2.   Faithleachs were not as impressive in the second half and Pearses improved somewhat, but Faithleachs had done the damage in that devastating first period.     Brendan Reynolds extended Faithleachs’ lead on the re-start but Pearses did improve. However they were far too dependent on Sean Fahy for their scores as their other forwards never really got going against the water-tight  Faithleachs defence.   Substitute Enna Ryan and Fahy (3) pointed  to leave it 0-11 to 0-6 after 16 minutes. Then in the 20th minute former county star goalkeeper  Derek Thompson made a brilliant save from a Fahy flick and with that Pearses’ chances of getting back into the game were over.   Kenny scored a very clever point on the run with his fist before impressive Pearses sub Ryan narrowed the gap again, but points from Dooney, Kenny (another fisted effort) and O’Grady re-established Faithleachs’ hold on the game and in truth they were never in any real trouble. Sub Ollie Brooks fisted a point in the 5th minute of injury-time to complete the scoring but it was of scant consolation to a well-beaten Pearses team.    Faithleachs were very impressive last Sunday in reaching their second final in a row. Their defence tied up the Pearses dangermen Fahy, Egan and Duignan and their midfield partnership of Senan O’Grady and Martin Reynolds were in control all through. Up front  Enda Kenny had an excellent game and he caused the Pearses’ defence no end of problems and was well supported by Aidan Dooney and Brendan Reynolds (who used his strength to great effect) and the returning Gary Cox.   St. Brigids might start the final as the hot favourites to repeat last year’s win over Faithleachs but on the evidence of this display, the Ballyleague boys are well capable of putting it up to the County and Connacht champions and maybe even causing a shock. In the meantine they can be well pleased with this comprehensive win. St. Faithleachs: Derek Thompson; Gerard Connor, Alan McCormack, Diarmuid Thompson; Stephen Ormsby, Adrian Murtagh, Derek Murray; Senan O’Grady (0-3), Martin Reynolds; Aidan Dooney (0-3), Gary Cox, Padraig Wallace (0-1); Darragh Hussey, Enda Kenny (0-6), Brendan Reynolds (0-2). Subs: Henry Kenny for Hussey, Tom Ryan for Wallace, Alan Brehan for O’Grady (injured).  Padraig Pearses: Thomas Dolan; Damien Donnellan, Aidan Fallon, Denis Whyte; Enda Barrett, Paul Kelly, Declan Duffy; Niall Finneran, Pat Connell; Niall Carty, Michael Duignan, Paul Duke; Sean Fahy (0-5), John Whyte, Ja Egan. Subs: Ollie Brooks (0-1) for Finneran, John Connell for Fallon, Eanna Ryan (0-2) for Duignan, Vincent Costello for Duke, Padraig Kelly for Barrett. Referee: Haulie Beirne.  Players who did well: They were mostly on the Faithleachs side – Gerard Connor, Alan McCormack and Adrian Murtagh were excellent in defence while Senan O’Grady and Martin Reynolds dominated midfield. Enda Kenny, Aidan Dooney and Brendan Reynolds were in great form up front. For Pearses, John Whyte battled away as did Sean Fahy and sub Eanna Ryan. Man of the match: Plenty of candidates on the Faithleachs side but Enda Kenny gets the nod after a top class display. His two fisted pointed in the second half showed great maturity as he led his side into a second final in a row.