Ballynanty Rovers advanced in the Tuohy Cup on Thursday night following a comprehensive 6-1 victory over Janesboro at Jackman Park. Connor Ellis accounted for five of Ballynanty’s goals with Kevin Nolan grabbing a solitary goal. Arron Nunan had given Janesboro an early lead against his former club.
Janesboro manager Shane O’Hanlon’s squad was stretched to the limits for this encounter as he was unable to name any substitutes and had to field Tommy Holland as a number 10 behind veteran striker Conor Lynch.
Lynch had retired at the end of last season but due to Janesboro’s struggles this season, he aided his boyhood club.
Ballynanty began with a 4-4-2 formation with Kevin Nolan partnering Ellis up-front which has certainly been a more effective partnership than the recent formula of Kieran Hanlon as the lone striker with Ellis playing off him, which has not paid dividends.
Despite dominating possession in the early stages, Ballynaty found themselves behind as early as the sixth minute when former player Arron Nunan was played through and he took the ball around the advancing Stephen McNamara before slotting into an empty net.
Ballynanty responded with a dangerous cross from Connor Ellis which was just missed at the back post by Kevin Nolan.
Moments later, a corner from the right caused panic in the ‘Boro defence but the young side put their bodies on the line to block two goal bound efforts as a free-kick was eventually awarded.
A quick corner from Dylan Kelly-Higgins to namesake Ger allowed the left-back time and space to send a looping cross into the box which almost caught Vincent Browne flat footed but the goalkeeper recovered in time to tip the effort onto the crossbar.
The Pearse Stadium outfit were dealt a massive blow as midfielder Ger Barry had to leave the action and with the lack of substitutes, it meant that Janesboro were reduced to ten men.
Janesboro were defiant in defence for long periods of the first half but when Connor Ellis picked up possession on the edge of the box, he was allowed to run across Jason and Jack Cross as well as John Boyle before slotting past Browne. Shane O’Hanon would have been disappointed with the manner of the concession following a solid first half display.
Ellis was beginning to have a real impact upon proceedings at this juncture and he cut inside before forcing a superb save from Browne in the Janesboro goal.
The former Cork City man was at the centre of the action once more as he was fouled by Jack Cross inside the penalty area and the striker dusted himself down to bury the resulting penalty kick to give the Northsiders the lead.
The second half didn’t get any better for Janesboro as Ellis grabbed his hattrick as hard work from Adrian Power allowed the striker to gain possession at the edge of the box and fire past Browne. It got even better for Ellis who was played through by Power before slotting home to make it 5-1.
The best goal of the night arrived on the hour mark as combination play from Mike Guerin and Ellis, resulted in the former crossing for Kevin Nolan who dispatched the ball to the net from six yards.
The misery was compounded for Janesboro when Jason Hughes played Ellis through and his clever finish to the bottom right corner made it 6-1 on the night.
Janesboro’s night continued to worsen when left-back Evan Lynch was unable to continue due to injury and the southsiders had to play the last half an hour with 9 men. A flurry of long shot from Derek Daly, Hughes and Higgins travelled over the crossbar as Magee’s side continued to press for 7th.
Janesboro: Vincent Browne, Jack Cross, Jason Cross, John Boyle, Evan Lynch, Pa Boyle, Ger Barry, Shane Stack, Arron Nunan, Tommy Holland, Conor Lynch
Ballynanty: Stephen McNamara, Michael Guerin, Kenneth Meehan (Dan Lucey), Daragh Hughes, Dylan Kelly-Higgins (Ousman Daboe), Derek Daly, Jason Hughes, Adrian Power, Ger Higgins, Kevin Nolan, Connor Ellis