Ballinlough maintained their winning streak in this years B-League with an impressive victory over Dunshaughlin in sunny conditions on Tuesday evening.
Dunshaughlin: 3-4 Ballinlough: 1-15
Ballinlough's Niall Farrelly was back in action after a long injury absence
It was the ‘Loughs second trip to Dunshaughlin in just over a week, after a narrow loss in the A-League ten days previously. Once again, the fine surface allowed for a fast, flowing game of football to be played. It was the visitors who opened the scoring with lively wing forward Paddy Briody finding his range after some good work by Niall Farrelly around the middle of the field.
James O’Higgins soon doubled the advantage, before Dunshaughlin got their opening score – converting a close range free. Ballinlough continued to dominate the early exchanges with Kevin Beirne, Junior O’Reilly and Niall Farrelly winning almost every break around the middle of the field. However, their shooting let them down on several occasions early on so their dominance on the field was not reflected on the scoreboard.
Wing back Paul Monaghan settled matters slightly for the ‘Lough with a brilliant score to put his side 0-3 to 0-1 ahead. Emmet Smith extended this lead further with a fine finish after a great run from defence, before Ken Rothwell pointed with an excellent finish from a narrow angle to put his side four points to the good. Just when it seemed as though Ballinlough might be out of sight by the half time break, the hosts grabbed a goal from nowhere. Their centre forward showed great pace and vision to break free of the Reds defence and loft the ball into the top corner of the goal. This was followed up with another converted free by Dunshaughlin to level matters.
The Ballinlough defence tightened up after this, and did not concede for the rest of the half, with James O’Keefe in particular showing great leadership at full back. O’Higgins put the visitors back in the lead with a brace of trademark freekicks off the ground, before Adam Fox and Paddy Briody closed the half out with impressive points. This left the ‘Lough leading by 0-9 to 1-2 at the change of ends.
Dunshaughlin started the second half on the front foot, and began to have more joy winning ball around the middle of the field. It took just minutes for them to find the back of the net again and reduce the deficit to the minimum. Ballinlough however did not panic, and a great team move saw Junior O’Reilly finish powerfully to the roof of the net moments later to restore the four point cushion. Dunshaughlin clawed back another two points before O’Higgins again found his range from the placed ball. Substitutes Conor Maguire and Matthew McInerney impressed once introduced and each picked up great scores to put the ‘Lough further in front.
With two minutes remaining, Dunshaughlin were awarded a dubious penalty, which they duly dispatched. Stand-in Ballinlough goal keeper Jonathan Francis Montgomery was unlucky not to keep the spot kick out after diving the right way. However, this goal proved to be too little too late for the home side. The last word was left to McInerney, who curled over a beautiful effort with his left boot to seal a five point victory for the ‘Lough. This leaves them with four wins from four, and they will be full of confidence heading into Sundays clash with Ballinabrackey.
Ballinlough: J. Francis Montgomery, M. Farrell, J. O’Keefe, J. Farrelly, P. Monaghan, E. Smith, D. Francis Montgomery, Junior O’Reilly, K. Beirne, P. Briody, J. O’Higgins, N. Farrelly, A. Fox, S. Deevy, K. Rothwell. Subs: M. McInerney for A. Fox, O. Brady for S. Deevy, C. Maguire for N. Farrelly.