A large crowd was on hand as Ballinlough gave an impressive team performance in difficult conditions to record their fourth win in the championship and book their place in the quarter final with a game to spare.
Peadar Byrne was once again central to the Ballinlough cause and as per usual he had a large hand in most of their scores but most encouraging for ‘The Reds’ is the emergence of some of their younger players as leaders; the Mc Cullen’s, Geraghty’s, Lorcan Gibney, James Baugh and Jack Tunney all played pivotal roles as Ballinlough got back on track after Dunderry took the lead; 0-9 to 0-8, midway through the second-half.
In a highly competitive battle Ballinlough drew first blood when Mark Mc Cullen finished off a strong run with a fisted point but Dunderry soon got the scoreboard ticking with a good score from midfielder Conor Farrell. The quick kick-outs of David Jennings provided Dunderry with a good platform during the first half but all too often they carried the ball into a congested midfield area where Ballinlough tackled diligently and eventually retrieved possession.
The hard running of Benji Smith, Mark Mc Cullen, and Sean Geraghty created openings and midway through the first-half Ballinlough looked to be gaining the upper hand in most sectors as Tommy Mc Cullen kicked a long-range point to push his team ahead; 0-4 to 0-2. Dunderry dropped players back to limit the supply going in the direction of Peadar Byrne, but he still managed to fire over three points in the first half including one delightful effort from a very tight angle as Ballinlough went in ahead; 0-7 to 0-5, at the break.
Ballinlough extended their lead early in the second half but then Dunderry enjoyed a purple patch with Stephen Coogan causing the Ballinlough rear-guard plenty of problems, scores from Morgan Callaghan, Alan Waters and Coogan tied it up; 0-8 to 0-8, before Bob Doherty kicked a huge score to put Dunderry a point ahead for the first time in the 40th minute.
Just when it seemed that all the momentum was with last year’s finalists; Ballinlough dug deep and played with the type of belief and conviction that bodes well for their prospects in the knock-out stages of the championship.
Lorcan Gibney handled confidently in the last line of defence and James Baugh pushed forward to good effect as Ballinlough steadied after a dominant spell from Dunderry. The Mc Cullen’s and Geraghty’s worked tirelessly for possession as Ballinlough made a surge for victory; Byrne, Michael Geraghty, Mark Mc Cullen and Jack Tunney kicked scores as they regained the lead; 0-12 to 0-9.
In a tense finish the Dunderry management urged their players forward as they went in search of a goal but they could only manage a couple of points; fittingly it was Peadar Byrne that got Ballinlough’s last score as they punished Dunderry on the counter attack, which brought an end to a riveting encounter.
Next up for Ballinlough is Trim while Dunderry take on St Michaels. . Ballinlough: Lorcan Gibney, Robbie Farrell, Emmet Smith, Benji Smith, James Baugh, Lorcan Maguire, Podge Muldoon, Tommy McCullen, Micheal Geraghty, Jack Tunney, Sean Geraghty, Mark McCullen, Simon deevey, Peadar Byrne, Junior O’ Reilly. Subs: C. Briody and R. Mc Guinness.