A fantastic team performance saw Ballinlough overcome Blackhall Gaels by six points on Thursday evening, in balmy conditions in Batterstown.
Blackhall Gaels: 1-08 Ballinlough: 1-14
Ballinlough's Mark McCullen in possession for the winners
The north meath men came out all guns blazing for this division 2 encounter and led from Kevin Devines point in the opening minute until the final whistle. One of the Lough’s most impressive displays of the year, mixed defensive resolve with attacking finese, exemplified by ten different scorers registering points on the day.
Mark McCullens great form in the wing forward position continued as he picked up two early points to settle the nerves of the visitors. Sean Geraghty extended the advantge with a fine score after a great move on the counter involving McCullen and Lorcan Maguire. The home side were a threat going forward however, and had some real quality in their full forward line, led by Alan Nestor, who picked up some of their early scores.
Ballinlough’s dominance around midfield ensured that the scoreboard kept ticking in their favour. Great work by Ronan McGuinness at centre forward led to Michael Geraghty converting an expertly taken point. The young centre back’s development continues apace as he improves game after game. Peadar Byrne and Johnny Reilly picked up good scores late in the half to see the visitors go in at the break leading by 0-7 to 0-5.
The Reds remained on top in the second half, with the versatile Cian Mallen scoring a superb individual point. Full forward Tommy McCullen opened his account soon after with an audacious overhead kick after a 45 from Byrne had dropped short.
Blackhall Gaels battled hard to get themselves back into the contest, and it looked like they were going to draw level early in the half when Nestor bore down on the Ballinlough goal, but a sprawling save from Keith McGuinness ensured that his team stayed in front. The ‘Lough had time for Byrne and substitute Jack Tunney to tag on additional points before Blackhall did manage to raise the first green flag of the contest, with a powerful finish to the back of the net. This ensured a nervy final ten minutes to the encounter, but the ‘Lough found an extra gear at the very end of the game to once again increase their advantage. Quickfire points from Sean Geraghty (2) and Niall Farrelly, preceded the Reds’ first goal, as Jack Tunney smartly finished off a move instigated by Byrne in the middle of the field, with the final defence splitting pass played in by Kevin Mallen.
Ballinlough were well worth their six point victory, with fantastic displays in all positions, including the impressive subs who made a significant impact when introduced.
Ballinlough: K. McGuinness, B. Smith, P. Muldoon, R. Farrell, L. Maguire, M. Geraghty (0-01), J. Reilly (0-01), P. Byrne (0-02), D. Muldoon, M. McCullen (0-02), R. McGuinness, Cian Mallen (0-01), K. Devine (0-01), T. McCullen (0-01), S. Geraghty (0-03). Subs: J. Tunney (1-01) for K. Devine, N. Farrelly (0-1) for R. McGuinness, K. Mallen for M. McCullen.