‘The Bracks’ played with the aid of a strong wind in the first half but despite an early monopoly on possession they struggled to make any significant progress against a strong Ballinlough defence that tackled tirelessly and forced their opponents into several wides in the first quarter. Ballinabracky finally got the scoreboard ticking and had two points on the board before Ballinlough sprung to life, Oliver Brady and Joe Farrelly provided much of the graft but it was Ricky Mc Dermott who supplied the scores with an exhibition of long range free taking; the pick of these scores came from a sweetly struck ’45. Despite playing against a stiff breeze ‘The Reds’ went ahead and a good score from Matthew Mc Enerney late in the half left them ahead, 0-6 to 0-3, at the switch of ends.
Ballinlough probably felt they had one hand on the trophy when they extended their lead early in the second half but Ballinabracky were handed a lifeline when they got a goal from a quick free, this brought them back into contention, 1-4 to 0-8, ten minutes into the second half. Despite this setback ‘The Reds’ showed no signs of panic; Johnny Reilly was solid at the centre of their defence and Brian Brady was lively in attack, he pointed brilliantly from a difficult angle after his earlier effort was cleared off the line.
Ferdia Mc Cormack was influential as Ballinlough finished strongly and Ricky Mc Dermott sealed victory with a couple of late points.
Ballinlough captain Matthew Farrell received the trophy from minor board PRO Ultan Fitzpatrick after the match.
Ballinlough: L. Gibney, M. Farrell, K. Beirne, K. Mc Caffrey, J. Reilly, D. Mc Cullen, O. Brady, F. Mc Cormack, R. Mc Dermott (0-9, 6f, ’45), J. Farrelly, B. Mallen, M. Mc Enerney (0-1), B. Brady (0-2).
Semi-final: Ballinlough fight back to win
Ballinlough trailed by five points midway during the second-half of normal time before a late surge brought the game into extra-time, superior fitness and the introduction of a couple of substitutes made the difference as the home side finished stronger during extra-time.
Despite the driving wind and rain this was a memorable match which was finely balanced throughout. Ballinlough took the lead early on when Brian Brady scored a goal but it quickly became apparent that Clonard were going to provide stiff opposition and they went on to take the lead after they scored a goal. Ferdia Mc Cormack scored a brilliant individual goal before half-time to bring the teams level; 2-4 to 1-7, at the change of ends.
Clonard had the benefit of the wind in the second-half and were two points ahead when they were awarded a penalty midway during the half, Lorcan Gibney saved the initial effort but the referee insisted that the penalty be retaken and Clonard made no mistake second time around. It looked like the end of the road for Ballinlough’s U-15 campaign as they trailed by five points but they showed remarkable resilience to dig deep and a couple of points either side of a Ricky Mc Dermott goal drew the game with time almost up. Both teams had opportunities to win it but the referee sounded the whistle with the sides level; 3-9 to 2-12.
The Mongomery Francis twins were introduced to the Ballinlough team during extra-time and made a significant contribution but Clonard were proving a real handful and the sides were level once again at half-time in extra-time; 2-15 to 3-12.
But in the second-half of extra-time Ballinlough eventually broke clear to seal a memorable victory with goals from Matthew Mc Enerney and Ricky Mc Dermott.