The first half was a relatively low key affair in which both sides enjoyed periods of dominance. Ballinlough set the early pace with points from Ken Rothwell and Peadar Byrne in the opening ten minutes but Drumconrath gradually settled into the game, opening their account in the 11th minute. They were dominant for the remainder of the half and Drumconrath found their feet with Austin Hickey and Terry Skelly getting on top at midfield and Alan Byrne and Myles causing problems in attack they hit four points in a row from Byrne (2), Myles and Christopher Tighe, before Ballinlough replied through Colm Mallon. Drumconrath enjoyed a well deserved 0-5 to 0-4 advantage at the break.
Ballinlough struggled to turn early second-half possession into scores as Drumconrath opened up a 0-7 to 0-5 lead midway through the half. The game then exploded into life when a ’dust-up’ led to a red card for both sides. Drumconrath endured a further dismissal before Ballinlough full-forward Rothwell blasted to the net from close range in the 53rd minute. Drumconrath’s fortunes then took a turn for the worse as they suffered another dismissal, leaving the player count at 14 to 12 in Ballinlough’s favour, approaching the latter stages of the game. Drumconrath dug deep and leveled in the 57minute after both teams had missed good scoring opportunities. But the winners availed of their numerical advantage during the nine minutes of injury time, hitting three points to Drumconrath’s sole reply.
Best for Ballinlough were Padraig Muldoon, Benji and Gerard Smith, Junior O’ Reilly and Rothwell.
Drumconrath who until the sending offs looked good for a win, had best players in Pete McMahon, Terry Skelly, Austin Hickey, Jamie Myles and Alan Byrne.
Ballinlough: J. O’ Higgins; B Smith, P Muldoon, P Ryan, E O’ Reilly, L Maguire, G Smith, P Byrne (0-2), S Fagan (0-1), Colm Mallon (0-2), J O’ Reilly (0-1), A Lynch, Cian Mallon, K Rothwell (1-2), R Mc Guinness . Subs: R Farrell for Lynch, C Briody for Mc Guinness.
Drumconrath - Sean Kane; Brian Flanagan, Kevin Flanagan, Peter Tighe; Ollie McMahon, Peter McMahon, Paul Carey; Terry Skelly (0-1), Austin Hickey; Stephan Crosby, Jamie Myles (0-3), Christopher Tighe (0-1); Alan Byrne (0-4), Padraig McMahon and Barry McKenna. Sub Graham Tighe for Carey.