Ballyhegan vs Keady Preview

Ballyhegan pulled off the shock of the Intermediate Championship when they defeated Whitecross in the opening round.

Heading into the game as massive outsiders, Peter Turley’s men were fit to spring a surprise and capture a spot in the quarter finals.

Two quick-fire goals in as many minutes from the impressive James McCormack set the Davitts on their way and it was the nippy corner-forward who stole the show.

The two goals were accompanied by five points kicked throughout the game and it’s sure Keady will give him some close attention this afternoon.

When these sides clashed in the league, it was Shea Harvey who was nominated the role of curtailing McCormack’s influence.

A youngster himself, Harvey excelled in his wing half back position in last weekend’s clash with Middletown, even getting forward to kick a score.

No matter what plans Paul Doyle and his men have for McCormack, he’s sure to have a tough time and will need assistance from his forward partners.

Conor Williamson offers a different sort of attacking threat on the edge of the square while Patrick Marley pulls the strings from number eleven.

Midfield is where the game could be won and lost and we could have a huge battle on our hands around the centre of the park.

The Courtney brothers Paul and Mel will look to gain a foothold for Ballyhegan, just as they did seven days ago.

Mark Hughes missed out last weekend through injury and his availability will be key around that central area.

Keady will look to the experience and strength of Eugene McDonnell and his partner Dylan McKenna in midfield.

Upfront, Keady have plenty of talent themselves and speed is the name of the game at the attacking end of the field.

Odhran Fullerton is a real live wire and caused Ballyhegan serious problems during the recent league game between these two, hitting 1-3 on the night.

Sean McCabe is his partner in crime with the two of them working off each other to try and defeat defences with their pace.

Peter McGrane looks to be the go-to man-marker in the Ballyhegan ranks and he’s likely to pick up one of Keady’s inside duo, with James McAtarsney taking on the other.

Conor Hughes is a classy player while captain Conor Corvan is a serious threat from his attacking half back role.

Paul Doyle’s men saw off Middletown in the opening round and will be heading into this one as favourites, having already defeated Ballyhegan once this year.

That game was a close encounter until the 50-minute mark, when Keady started to turn on the style and ran out six-point winners.

Jack Molloy broke forward that night to grab 1-1 and he will be another player for Ballyhegan to worry about.

Keady should come out the right end of this tie, but confidence will not be an issue for Peter Turley’s men.

Ballyhegan got their tails up early against Whitecross and if they can do so again, they’re in with a chance, but with the surprise element gone, Keady should see this one out.

Prediction: Keady