On Friday evening, the O’Hanlon had five players, including a Bodley B sub, and were facing into a heavy defeat away to a Ballinasloe side with a 2078 on board 1 and whose worst result this season has been a 4½-1½ win. 24 hours later, the side return to Dublin with a 3½-2½ win, which possibly even marks then out as genuine promotion candidates.
It seems to have been one of those days when everything went right for us. Stephen Cunningham was a late addition to the team, bringing us up to full strength, and when we arrived in Ballinasloe, it was to find them not only without the 2078, but also either of their 1700s. So although they had a new 1600 on board 1 and still outrated us on most of the boards, they were still a far less forbidding opposition than we’d expected.
2 hours or so in, and we’d already hit the “point or two” target captain Eddie had been aiming for – Eddie had drawn on board 1, Alex saw his 100% winning record (possibly the a club record for longest winning stretch starting with your debut) ended but had still drawn on 6 while Nicky Benson also drew. Stephen, meanwhile, was on the verge of victory – only Ballinasloe’s second defeat of the season.
That just left Odhrán and Dylan, both in level enough positions with more than an hour to go. In the end, Odhrán won but Dylan lost, so we emerged with a 3½-2½ win. That Ballinasloe are still averaging 4½ per game after that defeat puts the result in context! The league table now is –
While we’ve played all the current top three, none of them have played each other. Blanchardstown are obviously lurking with a match in hand; they’ve also played Ballinasloe already and also have a 2000 on board 1, though they don’t have the same strength in depth as us. We’re certainly set for a tense second half of the season!
In other divisions, Rathmines today beat Curragh A 3-2 to essentially turn the Bodley B group into a three-horse race – ourselves, Wicklow and Dún Laoghaire. Although Curragh are right up at the top –
– they haven’t played any of the big 3, have lost to Enniscorthy and Rathmines and got a walkover win against Naomh Barróg B; it’s probable they’ll drop off a bit after their next two games, against Wicklow and Dún Laoghaire. In the Heidenfeld, meanwhile, we’ve dropped back into the relegation zone after Naomh Barróg – near-certainties for the drop by their own admission – took 3½ points off Drogheda. More worrying, though, were the other results this week, which have seen a 5-point gap open up between us and ninth place. Bray play Kilkenny next weekend, while we play Rathmines A on Monday, so we could well be adrift in the bottom two over Christmas.