Ballinlough finished the year on a winning note with a merited victory against Walterstown in the A FL Div. 1 decider at Carlanstown on Sunday. The standard of play was a credit to both sides, but a final tally of 16 wides contributed enormously to Walterstown’s demise and they are unlikely to have too many complaints about the outcome. They also managed a paltry brace of points in the second-half during which they registered 11 of those wides while Ballinlough made much better use of possession and registered four points.
Francis Tunney was their only marksman after the break and with his three first-half points he emerged as the games top scorer and played a vital role in Ballinlough second A FL Div. 1 title success.
This was a tough contest and Walterstown looked the more likely winners in a lively first-half. Paddy Reynolds and Charles Mc Carthy shaded the midfield exchanges at the expense of Declan Lynch and Garry Mc Donnell, but Ballinloughs half-back line of Kevin Devine, Philip O’ Brien and Barry Smyth were solid throughout. That unit was well supported by Charlie and John Mc Cartan and Joe Byrne. Charlie Mc Cartan made a crucial blocking tackle on Paul Browne in the closing stages which extinguished a goal opportunity. However, Browne struck a superb goal in the 10th minute which gave his side a 1-2 to 0-2 lead. Charles Mc Carthy’s ‘45’ was partially cleared and Browne first-timed the ball to the net from 20 meters.
Prior to that Christy Reynolds and Paul Mc Carthy traded scores with Tunney and Declan Lynch. Paddy Woods increased Walterstown’s margin from a free before Ballinlough enjoyed a good spell which brought points from Tunney (two) and Jody Devine which reduced the deficit to a point, 0-5 to 1-3. Paul Mc Carthy’s point settled Walterstown and then Christy Reynolds had a glorious goal chance, but his fisted effort was saved by Tommy Smith and Ballinlough responded with a fine point from Thomas Blake. Blake drew the side’s level again a minute later, but it was a fortunate score as I felt Walterstown’s Ian Kearney warranted a free. Then Devine gave Ballinlough a lead which they never relinquished.
Walterstown made a number of changes at the interval and resumed with Conor Mc Grane at midfield with Charles Mc Carthy while Brian Mc Cormack replaced Karl Reynods. Mc Cormack opened Walterstown’s account at the end of the third-quarter which left them 1-5 to 0-11 in arrears as Tunney inspired the north Meath outfit. Browne created a goal chance, but Charlie Mc Cartan made that good block and in the closing stages Walterstown’s inaccuracy helped sustain Ballinlough and all they could muster was another point from at least half-a-dozen chances.
Co. Board representative Michael O’ Brien presented the Mooney Cup to Declan Lynch.
Ballinlough: T Smith, C Mc Cartan, J Byrne, J Mc Cartan, K Devine, P O’ Brien, B Smith, D Lynch (0-1), G Mc Donnell, P Byrne, J Devine (0-2), F Tunney (0-7), T Blake (0-2), M Tuite, D Mc Cartan. Subs: P Dermody for Blake, M Mc Donnell for Tuite.