Ballina’s Donie Whelan goes on a solo run while Sean Hickey gives chase.

Ballina flip Treacys over the trapdoor

Ballina 4-22

Seán Treacy's 1-12

Report: Thomas Conway in Newport

With a slight hope of stealing second-place in Group 3 of the O Riain Cup, Seán Treacy's entered this game with the knowledge that securing a quarter-final spot was still possible.

By the 34th minute however, that possibility had faded, as Ballina channelled the disappointment of previous defeats to produce their best performance of year, comfortably overcoming the West club thanks to brilliant first-half sharp-shooting.

The 2-18 to 1-6 half-time scoreline made a the prospect of a Treacy's come-back seem highly unlikely, but as soon as Michael Breen found the net for the second time four minutes after the interval, the dye was well and truly cast. Breen was the stand-out performer in a Ballina side which flourished from start to finish, with some excellent individual displays contributing to the all-round collective effort.

Aided by a persistently strong wind, which swept across the Newport pitch towards the village end, Ballina's first-half haul of 2-18 was striking for two reasons: the quality of their shooting, and the scoring distribution. Not only were the North club accurate from distance, their spread of scorers ensured that Treacy's were left unable to nullify the attacking threat. Midfielders Jody Ryan and Pat Deegan worked hard trying to cut off the supply-lines in the centre of the field, but as soon as they closed down one route, Ballina switched the play to another.

Quick-fire points from Matthew Power and David Kelly propelled Ballina into an early lead, but Treacy's weren't long catching up, as full-forward seized his first opportunity and flicked the ball home in the eighth minute. Not long after, Ballina had netted their first, corner-back Jerry O'Brien showing his attacking flair to wallop the ball diagonally past keeper Shane Stapleton - a superb effort, to complement an earlier point.

At the other end, Patrick Carey looked dangerous from play and rarely faltered from placed-balls, making him the main target of any delivery up the field. Centre-back Mike Feehan was the man behind most of those deliveries, but at this stage Ballina were assuming command, Power launching over the frees, while Donie Whelan jigged and reeled his way in before slotting another just before the water-break.

Breen and O'Brien were prolific in possession, and in the 23rd minute, the former managed to wrestle hold of the ball inside the large square, before unleashing a wristy strike straight past Stapleton. A series of further scores in the run-up to half-time, including two tidy efforts from wing-back Tom Collins, gave Brendan McKeogh's side a serious advantage at the interval.

The wind threatened to complicate matters in the second-half, but Ballina seemed to shift the dynamic, switch to short-passing and clever support-play in order to move the ball up the field. This proved crucial in preventing Treacy's from controlling possession, but even more crucial was Breen's goal four minutes after the restart, which all but ended the contest.

Nothing seemed to work for Seán Treacy's, and although they struggled the put scores on the board, their work-ethic and passion didn't relent. It wasn't enough, nor did it arrest the Ballina momentum, which continued right up to Brian Hurley's crowning goal just before the final-whistle.

Hard as it was to stomach, the nature of the defeat which almost certainly motivate the West club, now tasked with retaining the senior status they earned following their 2019 County Intermediate Championship triumph.

Player of the Match: Michael Breen (Ballina)

Ballina: Martin McKeogh (7), Jerry O'Brien (1-1, 8), Aidan Hanly (7), David Kelly (0-3, 8); Michael Grace (7), Conor Maguire (7), Thomas Collins (0-2, 8); Steven O'Brien (0-2, 8), Sam Loughran (0-1, 7); Eoghan Power (0-1, 8), Michael Breen (2-3, 9), Paddy O'Donovan (7); Kian Donnelly (7), Matthew Power (0-7, 4f) 8), Donie Whelan (0-2, 8).

Subs: David Grace (7) for O'Donovan (39); Dan Finnerty (7) for Collins (43); Brian Hurley (1-0, 7) for Donnelly (53).

Seán Treacy's: Shane Stapleton (7), Andrew O'Brien (6), Seán Hickey (7), William Mackey (6), Chris Egan (6), Mike Feehan (8), Darragh Kennedy (7), Jody Ryan (0-1, 0-1, 7), Pat Deegan (7), Tom Hickey (6), Brian Carey (0-2, 7), Donnacha O'Brien (7), Patrick Carey (0-7, 4f) 8), Matt Feehan (1-1, 7), Seánie Ryan (7).

Subs: Emmet Ryan (7) for Mackey (HT); Shane Fahy (7) for Egan (39); Stephen Carr (6) for Kennedy (50).

Referee: John Butler (Upperchurch-Drombane)