Ballinlough travelled the short distance to Drumbaragh on Thursday evening to collect the points and confirm their position towards the summit of Division 3 of the A-league. A gallant home side had their opponents in trouble for long stages but in the end it was Ballinlough's superior scoring power that proved decisive.
A feature of the match was the scoring taking of the Ballinlough forwards; Ronan Mc Guinness, Ken Rothwell and Colm Mallen were at their very best as the winners registered all of their scores from open play.
Both sides struggled early-on with the new hand pass rule but it was Ballinlough who settled better and led; 0-4 to 0-3, after 15 minutes; by this stage Com Mallen, Ronan Mc Guinness (2) and Rothwell had all been on target. Ronan Mc Guinness was causing major problems for the Drumbaragh rearguard and he cut in from the right-hand side and kicked an excellent point after 23 minutes before John Smith replied with his third pointed free for Drumbaragh. There was a busy finale to the first-half; Ballinlough goalkeeper Keith Mc Guinness did well to keep his clean sheet intact with a smart save before Conor Briody glided over an excellent score to leave his side, 0-6 to 0-4, ahead at the switch of ends.
Drumbaragh's John Madden kicked the first score of the second half but Ken Rothwell was proving unmarkable and he kicked over the next two points as 'The Reds' established an 0-8 to 0-5 lead after 35 minutes. The home side was playing with plenty of spirit and they appeared to be gaining the upper hand during the next ten minutes, however their good work was undone when Colm Mallen picked-up a misdirected kick-out and finished off his solo run with a powerful drive to the top of the net. At this stage Ballinlough led; 1-9 to 0-6 and looked set for an easy victory. But Drumbaragh failed to accept defeat and set about clawing back the margin, they outscored Ballinlough 0-6 to 0-2 in the next 15 minutes, leaving it; 1-11 to 0-12, with normal time almost up. The referee allowed enough injury time for three more points, crucially they were all scored by Ballinlough. Rothwell twice kicked over under pressure and then Ronan Mc Guinness took the sensible option and pointed with a goal at his mercy; giving his side a slightly flattering five point victory.
Ballinlough: K Mc Guinness, B. Smith, P. Muldoon, R. Farrell, J. Byrne, L. Maguire, C. Briody (0-1), S. Fagan, Cian. Mallen, Colm Mallen (1-3), S. Byrne, R. Mc Guinness (0-5), K. Devine, K. Rothwell (0-5), D. Muldoon. Subs: T. Mc Cullen for D Muldoon, Junior O' Reilly for S. Byrne and Jonathon O' Reilly for Briody.