The visitors opened the scoring with a well finished point by Johnny Reilly, following superb work by Ken Rothwell. Their lead was soon increased thanks to a finely converted free by James O’Higgins. Cortown were beginning to look dangerous though, and answered with two points of their own. Tommy Smith, in particular, in the full forward line was causing problems for the Ballinlough defence.
The game saw its first goal after ten minutes, when another well struck free kick from O’Higgins dropped under the cross bar and past the despairing Cortown keeper.
The home side quickly answered in kind, when only minutes later, a speculative high ball into the Ballinlough area was punched into the back of the net.
Nicolas Finlay and O’Higgins tagged on further points for the ‘Lough before the change of ends, but Cortown remained within touching distance throughout. The sides were level at halftime, 1-06 to 1-06.
Ballinlough started the second period in emphatic manner, wasting no time in opening up a five point advantage, thanks to scores from O’Higgins, Finlay, Reilly and Jack Tunney.
Another fortunate goal from Cortown, saw the tie regain its competitive edge, and was the catalyst for a shift in momentum in the home sides favour. Their superior fitness levels began to show, and they slowly pulled into the lead, before netting their third goal of the evening.
A late point from Tommy Shine gave the Reds some hope, but Cortown held out for the win.
Best for Ballinlough on the day were James Baugh, Johnny Reilly, James O’Higgins and Nicolas Finlay.
Cortown will proceed with high hopes to a final against Donaghmore/Ashbourne.
Ballinlough: M. Brady, M. Farrell, J. Baugh, S. Smith, Johnathon O’Reilly, Junior O’Reilly, J. O’Keefe, K. Beirne, D. Muldoon, O. Brady, J. Reilly, J. O’Higgins, J. Tunney, K. Rothwell, D. Lynch. Subs: N. Finlay for O’ Keefe, T. Shine for Brady, J. Farrelly for Tunney.