The visitors got off to the perfect start when Niall Farrelly split the posts in the opening minute. From here it was tit for tat, as Dunderry quickly responded to each Ballinlough score, first from Peadar Byrne and then Sean Geraghty. The games first goal went to the ‘Lough, and came around the twenty minute mark, when Farrelly, who really impressed in his corner forward berth, smartly found the back of the net when through on the Dunderry keeper.
Dunderry quickly tagged on two points to reduce the deficit, before Ronan McGuinness, whose hardworking displays at centre forward have been key in Ballinloughs recent good form, settled the Reds with an impressive score.
The Reds influential midfielder Peadar Byrne was forced to go off with an injury shortly before halftime, with Tommy McCullen coming on in his place. Dunderry closed the half with two well taken points to leave the sides level, at a score of 0-07 to 1-04.
Ballinlough opened the scoring in the second period, when McGuinness once again found his range, before the home side converted successive scores to edge in front. The ‘Lough then hit a purple patch, in which they scored 1-3 without reply. Derek Muldoon picked up the first of these scores, the dominating mid-fielder rounding off a good team move with a nice finish over the crossbar. Wing forward Colm Mallen then opened his account with a trademark score off the left boot, before McCullen got the ‘Loughs second major score of the game in the 50th minute. A longball into the Dunderry area was knocked down by Cian Mallen, and McCullen made no mistake, rifling the ball into the roof of the net.
McCullen quickly increased his tally with one of the scores of the game, his wind assisted shot from distance curled over the crossbar to leave his side leading by 2-08 to 0-09. Dunderry kept the pressure on, and converted another two points, either side of a well converted free kick by Colm Mallen for Ballinlough. Then, in the 55th minute, the visitors were awarded a penalty when McGuinness was dragged down when through on goal. A red card followed for Dunderry, while McGuinness was also forced off injured for the ‘Lough. Derek Muldoon held his nerve to convert the penalty and edge his side further in front.
The Ballinlough backs remained tight, with the full back line, in particular, excelling. The trio of Benji Smith, Podge Muldoon and Robbie Farrell have been at the heart of their sides defence for a number of years now, and continually prove to be very tough to break down.
To their credit, Dunderry never gave up, and were themselves awarded a penalty in the dying moments of the game after confusion in the Ballinlough area. They duly dispatched the spot kick to leave the final score 3-09 to 1-11 in favour of the Ballinlough men.
This was a great team performance by the ‘Lough, and they will go into Saturdays encounter with Nobber in high spirits as they close in on promotion.
Ballinlough: K. McGuinness, B. Smith, P. Muldoon, R. Farrell, J. Baugh, M. Geraghty, J. Reilly, P. Byrne, D. Muldoon, Colm Mallen, R. McGuinness, Cian Mallen, S. Geraghty, K. Devine, N. Farrelly. Subs: T. McCullen for P. Byrne, J. O’Reilly for J. Baugh, P. Monaghan for R. McGuinness.