Ballinlough put in a strong second-half performance to defeat Clann na NGael in the Intermediate Championship at Sean Newman Park, Bohermeen on Thursday night. The win means Ballinlough can still reach the knock-out stages but they must wait and hope that Dunderry drop at least a point in their two remaining matches.
Ballinlough……………………..…..1-9 Clann na NGael……………………0-8
Trailing by 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time and heading towards championship elimination ‘The Lough’ showed plenty of resilience and determination as they outscored Clann Na NGael by 1-6 to 0-3 in the second-half. Their second-half recovery was all the more impressive considering they were reduced to 14 men in the 50th minute after Derek Muldoon received a rather harsh second yellow card and they also lost one of their best players; Tommy Mc Cullen to injury.
Ballinlough were quick out of the blocks with the lively Colm Mallen earning and then pointing a free within the first minute, the same player was involved in setting up Tommy Mc Cullen who made it 0-2 to 0-1 after ten minutes. Graham Geraghty was operating at centre half back for Clann na NGael and he provided a platform for many of their attacks as his team recovered well to lead by 0-4 to 0-2 after 21 minutes. Both teams added another point before the break; Tommy Mc Cullen latched onto a breaking ball and struck over a point despite the close attention of a couple of defenders, Garry Woods responded with his third point for Clann na NGael to put his team ahead; 0-5 to 0-3, at half-time.
Having only registered three points in the first-half and struggling to play with any real confidence the large crowd must have wondered if Ballinlough were heading for a tame championship exit. However the half-time words of manager Vincent Ryan seemed to dispel any anxiety in the Ballinlough camp and they played with a new found self belief for most of the second-half and they always looked the more likely winner once they took the lead through a Ken Rothwell goal in the 34th minute.
The Ballinlough corner backs; Robbie Farrell and Benji Smith were exceptional throughout and it was Farrell who instigated the move which lead to their goal; he made a brave interception deep in his own half and started an attack which ended up with Peadar Byrne setting-up Rothwell who finished to the net from close range. Michael Priest got Clann na NGael back on terms, 0-6 to 1-3, with a point in the 41st minute but by this stage ‘The Reds’ were winning most of the individual battles and Kevin Devine, who had moved to center forward, was minimizing the influence of Geraghty. Colm Mallen (free), Lorcan Maguire (free), Seamus Byrne and Peadar Byrne hit the next four scores as Ballinlough went ahead; 1-7 to 0-6 after 54 minutes. Michael Priest got Clann na NGaels second point of the half but Colm Mallen responded with a difficult free to once again put four points between the team; 1-8 to 0-7, with time almost up. The Ballinlough defence was resolute as Clann na NGael went in search of a late goal and all they could muster was a Garry Wood’s point as Peadar Byrne, who was central to their revival, had the final say with when he split the posts with a fine point in injury time.
Ballinlough: K. Mallen, B. Smith, P. Muldoon, R. Farrell, J. Byrne, L. Maguire (0-1f), R. Mc Guinness, S. Fagan, Cian Mallen , P. Byrne (0-2), D. Muldoon, T. Mc Cullen (0-2), K. Devine, K. Rothwell (1-0), Colm Mallen (0-3f). Subs: S. Byrne (0-1) for Mc Cullen and E. O’ Reilly for Guinness.