Only four points separated the teams at the final whistle but in reality the result was never in doubt as Ballinlough lead from start to finish and only a collage of missed opportunities kept their opponents in touch.
Ballinlough started impressively, attacking at pace and scoring freely; with 4 minutes on the clock Junior O’ Reilly palmed the ball to the net after good work from the Mc Cullen brothers; Tommy and Mark. Three points followed in quick succession from Michael Geraghty and Peadar Byrne (2); with just 11 minutes on the clock they lead 1-3 to 0-0.
However complacency became an issue and despite dominating possession for long periods, the winners somehow managed to score 2 points less than their opponents for the remaining 49 minutes of action.
Colm Carry kicked Drumbaragh’s first score in the 12th minute and Kyle Dardis forced an excellent save from Lorcan Gibney a couple of minutes later, but Ballinlough’s Gary Reilly was the dominant figure around midfield and the lead was once again six points at the break with Reilly, Byrne (free) and Ronan Mc Guinness trading points with Kyle Dardis and Colm Carry. Ballinlough led 1-6 to 0-3 at the switch of ends.
Thomas Carry and Colm Carry (free) narrowed the gap to four points but Ballinlough managed to keep Drumbaragh at a safe distance with a fisted point from the roving Benji Smith and a good score from Sean Geraghty.
Ballinlough then lost Sean Geraghty to a harsh black card as some good spells of play by both teams were blighted by bad shooting. Ciaran Lynch split the posts for Drumbaragh in the 46th minute but Ballinlough were still well in control; 1-8 to 0-6. William Carry was influential as Drumbaragh continued to push forward but any hopes of a grand stand finish were dashed when Seanie Bennett’s late goal was disallowed after the ball appeared to be thrown into the net.
Despite not scoring as freely as they would have liked Ballinlough will be delighted with their second victory of the campaign. Amazingly they have now won five games in a row (in all competitions) after losing ten games in a row prior to their first round victory over St. Michael’s!!
Gary Reilly was Ballinlough best performer and he was well supported by Benji Smith, Lorcan Maguire and Peadar Byrne. Ballinlough: L. Gibney, B. Smith (0-1), E. Smith, R. Farrell, J. Baugh, L. Maguire, P. Muldoon, G. Reilly (0-1), M. Geraghty (0-1), J. O’ Reilly (1-0), S. Geraghty (0-1), T. Mc Cullen, P. Byrne (0-4, 2f), M. Mc Cullen, R. Mc Guinness (0-1). Subs: D. Muldoon (0-1) for Geraghty, J. Tunney for Mc Guinness and C. Briody for Muldoon.