A dramatic quarter-final face-off at Pairc Esler, saw Burren overcome a spirited Ballyholland surge and booked their spot in the semi-finals with a six-point advantage, even as the field was drenched by rain.
Last season Jim McCorry’s squad were knocked out, at this very stage. But despite a dying minute goal by Ballyholland’s captain Paddy McAteer, a similar exit was not in the cards for Burren this time around.
The game started with Burren dominating the game. Liam Kerr, performing exceptionally under a very bad condition, and registered the first goal for his team, skillfully sending a free over the bar. He quickly followed it up with another.
While Ballyholland, boasting of skilled forwards, struggled from the beginning. Errant passes and two shots easily collected by Kevin McKernan held them back, until Seamus Loughran’s superb score gave them their first points after eight minutes.
As the match progressed, Odhran Murdock added a point for Burren. Chris Brady, who committed a foul on Kerr, received a caution with a yellow card. Converting the resultant free, 17 minutes in, Burren was ahead 4-1.
While the game saw several free-kick attempts, no goal came out of any of the free kick attempts. McAteer’s unsporting push led to a missed free by Ronan McGrath. Ballyholland’s Jack Murtagh could not capitalize on a 45, leaving them with just one point from eight tries. Though Burren too had missed chances; notably, Aidan Furlong denied Kerr’s goal attempt.
Ballyholland saw a very limited success with Seamus O Deoradhain and Murtagh making attempts. However, as the half came to a close, Burren led 0-5 to 0-2.
Resuming after the break, Ballyholland was quick to the field. But once Burren started, they took control of the game. They expanded their lead, with series of plays. Even as Ballyholland tried to catch up and level up, Burren’s patient play culminated in a brilliant point by Murdock.
Down by six in the final quarter, Ballyholland amped up their offense. McAteer managed to net a ball, giving them hopes of a turnaround. However, the climax saw Burren’s subs, Shay McArdle and Paudie Poland, collaborating to seal the victory with a decisive goal at the end.