Ballinlough made it three wins from four games in Division 2 of the A-League as they overcame Dunderry with unexpected ease on Friday evening in Ballinlough.
As always the score line only tells part of the story and it must be taken into consideration that Dunderry were short a number of regulars which included key players such as; Stephen Coogan, Paddy Kennally and Darren Fay while T.J. Garry has departed to Australia. But Dunderry will be concerned about the absolute dominance of Ballinlough in almost every sector of the field and if ‘The Reds’ had showed a little more composure in front of the posts the game could have been over as a contest at half-time.
Both teams took a considerable amount of time to settle with poor foot passing a feature of the early exchanges. Two pointed frees from Peadar Byrne were the only scores in the first quarter but eventually Ballinlough found their rhythm and a couple of quick scores from Ken Rothwell doubled their advantage; 0-4 to 0-0, after 17 minutes. At this stage the Dunderry forward line was struggling to make any impact against the Ballinlough full-back line where Padraig Muldoon excelled along with Emmet Smith and Robbie Farrell.
In the 22nd minute Peadar Byrne and Mark Mc Cullen combined to set-up Cian Mallen and it seemed all too easy as they led; 0-5 to 0-0, but then Dunderry’s David Callaghan kicked their first point in the 28th minute and he proved his worth again moments later when he picked up a loose ball and shot over to leave the half-time score; 0-5 to 0-2. Three points was a poor lead for Ballinlough considering their dominance and they must have wondered if eight first-half wides would come back to haunt them at the final whistle.
Dunderry clearly didn’t do themselves justice in the first-half and the home side must have been bracing themselves for a back lash early in the second-half but it never materialised and when Sean Geraghty extended their lead with a good point from out on the right it was evident that they were once again in the driving seat. Callaghan, who was Dunderry’s only scorer on the night, launched over another good point from 45 meters to narrow the margin; 0-6 to 0-3, after 36 minutes but that was as good as it got for Dunderry as they tired significantly in the last 20 minutes. Kevin Devine, Peadar Byrne and Lorcan Maguire fired over as Ballinlough stretched their lead to six points; 0-9 to 0-3, at the three quarter stage.
It could have been expected that both teams would just go through the motions in the last 15 minutes but instead Ballinlough found another gear and put in a strong final quarter which was illuminated by a brilliant team goal which was instigated deep in their own half by Padraig Muldoon and involved Benji Smith, Colm Mallen and Cian Mallen who unselfishly played the ball to Ken Rothwell who beat Dunderry goalkeeper Thomas Dotherty as the second time of asking. Mark Mc Cullen, James O’ Higgins and Peadar Byrne (free) tagged on late scores as ‘The Reds’ ran out 12 point winners.
Ballinlough: K. Mc Guinness, E. Smith, P. Muldoon, R. Farrell, B. Smith, L. Maguire (0-1), Colm Mallen, T. Mc Cullen, P. Byrne (0-4, 3f), Ronan Mc Guinness, Cian Mallen (0-1), S. Geraghty (0-1), K. Rothwell (1-2), M. Mc Cullen (0-1), K. Devine (0-1). Subs: J. Baugh for Colm Mallen (BS), J. O’ Higgins (0-1) for Devine, Jonnie Reilly for Mc Guinness, K. Mallen for Mark Mc Cullen and N. Farrelly for Rothwell.