A superb injury time point from Peadar Byrne was the decisive score as Ballinlough withheld a late Castletown rally to secure victory in this Intermediate Championship clash played in Carlanstown on Sunday.
Ballinlough have continued to show signs of steady improvement during the year and their performance throughout the majority of this contest was impressive. However, they were somewhat fortunate that their inability to turn possession into scores wasn’t punished, as Castletown missed an opportunity to draw the match with an injury time free.
Ballinlough struggled to match Castletown’s intensity in the early stages and last years finalists took a deserved lead, 0-3 to 0-0, after 7 minutes. Ballinlough’s defensive unit tightened up considerably for the remainder of the half and also launched numerous attacks. The winners got off the mark with a goal in the 15th minute when Peadar Byrne finished off a move instigated by Padraig Ryan after an excellent interception in his own full-back line. Three pointed frees from Kevin Devine and a Ken Rothwell point gave "The Reds" a 1-4 to 0-5 lead at the interval.
Ballinlough started the second half in impressive fashion and extended their lead by, 1-6 to 0-5, after 35 minutes courtesy of good points from Kevin Devine and Ronan Mc Guinness, following good approach play from Rothwell. The winners then enjoyed a period of complete dominance as Seamus Fagan excelled around midfield, however they failed to increase their lead; after 45 minutes they still only led by four points, 1-7 to 0-6. Ballinlough were left rueing numerous missed scoring opportunities as the inevitable Castletown fight back gathered momentum; they outscored the winners by five points to one between the 45th and 60th minutes. The sides were level 1-8 to 0-11 entering injury time however; Byrne had the final say as his magnificent left-footed point proved to be the final score of the match.
Ballinlough will be delighted that they have now defeated the three previous intermediate finalists on route to booking their place in the knock-out stages of the championship. Lorcan Maguire was their outstanding performer, others to impress were Benji Smyth, Padraig Muldoon, Seamus Fagan, Conor Briody and Kevin Devine.
Ballinlough: B Balfe; B Smith, P Muldoon, P Ryan, E O’ Reilly, L Maguire, R Farrell, Cian Mallon, S Fagan, Colm Mallon, P Byrne (1-1), C Briody (0-1), K Devine(0-4) , K Rothwell (0-2), R Mc Guinness (0-1). Subs: S Byrne for Briody.