Ballinlough got their second win of the IFC with a six point win over Cortown in Carnaross on Saturday evening. The match certainly won’t go down as a classic but the result could turn out to be defining as both teams now find themselves with contrasting priorities with only one match left to play in Group C of the IFC.
Ballinlough looked solid but have a lot of fine-tuning to do if they are to be a major force come the business end of the championship. Cortown on the other hand have lost numerous players to emigration, injury and retirement over the last couple of years and they look to have a major battle ahead it they are to retain their Intermediate status.
Ballinlough dominated this match throughout and only for some wayward shooting the result would have been quite one sided, they had a monopoly on possession in the first half but could only hit the target four times as Cortown rarely got the ball out of their own half. The first quarter was promising from ‘The Reds’, Ken Rothwell and Colm Mallen (2) gave them a good start and then Cian Mallen stretched the lead to; 0-4 to 0-0, when he finished off a good move that involved Seamus Fagan, Derek Muldoon and Ken Rothwell. But that was as good as it got in the first-half as Ballinlough squandered some guilt edged scoring chances and Cortown made numerous positional switches in attempt to find some parity in the possession stakes.
Midfielder Seamus Fagan continued to impress and Ballinlough stretched their lead to 0-5 to 0-0 after 33 minutes when Kevin Devine pointed a free, but that was their only point in a 37 minute period either side of half-time as Cortown threatened to punish ‘The Reds’ for a lack of efficiency in front of the posts. Colm Kerrigan, who was now operating at midfield, kicked Cortown’s first score and when Brian Casserly made it 0-2 to 0-5 in the 42nd minute a certain amount of panic started to creep into the Ballinlough team, but with their full-back line of Benji Smith, Padraig Muldoon and Robbie Farrell in complete control a comeback never looked likely. Ken Rothwell settled the nerves when he pointed with eight minutes remaining and it was the catalyst for Ballinlough to close out the game with points from Sean Geraghty and a further score from Rothwell.
Both teams have one match left to play in the group stages; Ballinlough will play Ballinabrackey in round 4 and Cortown will play Longwood in round 5.
Ballinlough: K. Mc Guinness, B. Smith, P. Muldoon, R. Farrell, J. Byrne, L. Maguire, K. Devine (0-1f), Cian Mallen (0-1), S. Fagan, C. Briody, D. Muldoon, Tommy Mc Cullen, Colm Mallen (0-2, 1f), K. Rothwell (0-3), S. Geraghty (0-1). Subs: E. O’ Reilly for Briody and R. Mc Guinness for Mc Cullen.