Local derby matches are always special occasions, Celtic v Rangers, Liverpool v Everton, Cork v Tipperary, Derry v Tyrone, Dunloy v Loughgiel, but none more so than Ballymena against Glenravel. Apart from the special rivalry due to school and family connections, both sides are well aware of the opposing team’s strength and weaknesses, and certain individuals will have identified for special attention. However as a contest, this game was over after 20 minutes.
Ballymena, who were missing a few regulars, will be disappointed by their own performance and lacked any real intensity or purpose to their play. Glenravel on the other hand put in their best performance this year dominating in every position. Neil McCann hit the opening score after only 30 seconds with a point on the run and further points from Padge O’Neill, Niall Donnelly, Micky McDonnell and 2 from Shane Woulahan had Glenravel well in control.
The opening goal came after 12 minutes when Vic McCann scored hockey style. Ballymena pulled a few points back from frees before Con Magees got our second goal on 26 minutes. Martin Scullion won the ball on the half back line and found Shane who moved it onto Brian O’Neill, he sent a clever diagonal ball into Micky McDonnell who unselfishly passed to James Duffin who rounded off the move with a good goal. Niall Donnelly had to go off injured at this stage and was replaced by Odhran McAleenan but Glenravel finished the half off with 2 further points, the first one as a result of Martin Scullion fielding a high ball from a puck out before passing to Kieran McIntyre who pointed from 40 yards, to leave the half time score line 2.12 to 0.05.
Glenravel started the second half much like the previous one with a quick point from Odhran McAleenan after a good pass from Connor McKeown. Minutes later Connor was the provider again, finding James Duffin with a long pass out of defence, who soloed through and laid it off to Kieran McIntyre who made no mistake hitting the back of the net. Johnathon Fyfe, Owen McVeigh and Sean McIlroy were brought on at this stage.
The entire Glenravel defence looked very comfortable throughout this match, and were seldom troubled, which is reflected by the fact that with 40 minutes played All Saints hit their first point of the second half and there first from play in the match.
Glenravel continued to chip away at the points with one each from Owen McVeigh, Neil McCann and Shane Woulahan. Micky McDonnell finished the game off with 2 goals in the last 5 minutes, the last one as a result of along accurate pass out of defence by Dean Kerr to Odhran McAleenan, who beat his man and laid it off to Mickey who fired home from 10 yards! When the final whistle sounded Glenravel had ran out easy winners by a 27 point margin. Glenravel proved too strong throughout the field, and have left themselves in a nice position ahead of their next match against Na Magha from Derry City on Wednesday night.
Team: C Scullion, C McKeown, S Kerr, S Burns, B O’Neill, M Scullion, D O’Hagan, P O’Neill, D Traynor, N Donnelly, S Woulahan, J Duffin, K McIntyre, N McCann, M McDonnell