A couple of late long range frees from Peadar Byrne swung this game in Ballinlough’s favour as they came from behind to get the win and knock Gaeil Colmcille out of this years Intermediate Football Championship in Carnaross on Saturday evening.
There was a few key moments during this match but there is no doubt that the turning point came in the 54th minute when Peadar Byrne rattled the Gaeil Colmcille net with a well struck penalty, however all this came about after David Drew had brilliantly kept out the original penalty from Ken Rothwell only for referee Brendan Darby to insist that the kick should be retaken because Drew had come off his line in an attempt to narrow the angle. The Gaeil Colmcille contingent was particularly irked by the referee’s decision and Drew received his marching orders for remonstrating his dissatisfaction.
Although it would be foolish for Gaeil Colmcille to lay the blame for this defeat on the referees decision alone, their full-forward line was running the Ballinlough defence ragged in the first half but at times the supply was far too slow and they never made use of what was clearly their biggest threat.
The direct running of Seamus Mattimoe, Brian Hanlon and Danny Mc Govern caused major problems as they went ahead early on before a good score from Ballinlough’s Mark Mc Cullen made it 0-2 to 0-2 after nine minutes. Hanlon edged the town side ahead, 0-3 to 0-2, with a ’45 before Rothwell had a goal opportunity saved and then Gaeil Colmcille assumed control for the remainder of the half as Ballinlough appeared lethargic. Mc Govern, Mattimoe and Hanlon all hit the target as they began to find their stride and they could have gone further ahead after a ferocious drive by Matimoe struck the post and went away to safety. Ronan Mc Guinness was one of Ballinlough’s better players and he did well to win a free for Peadar Byrne to leave the score at; 0-6 to 0-3, at half-time.
A point from Cian Mallen in the first minute of the second half suggested that Ballinlough meant business but they struggled to make any real progress as Justin Carry Lynch and Cormac Keegan held their own at midfield for Gaeil Colmcille while their defence looked comfortable. Byrne and Hanlon traded frees and there was still three points between the teams, 0-9 to 0-6, with six minutes remaining. But then came the turning point as a hopeful ball was sent into the Gaeil Colmcille square and despite no immediate danger Ronan Mc Guinness was the recipient of a careless tackle and the referee signaled for a penalty. Byrne riffled home the retaken penalty to level the game and then he kicked over a 25 meter free to put Ballinlough ahead; 1-7 to 0-9, in the 57th minute.
The excitement level rose considerably as the town side went in search of an equalizer and Gary Arkins produced a moment of magic to curl over a brilliant score from the left wing in the first minute of injury time. A draw would have been the fairest result but Ballinlough were due a slice of luck after enduring some painful defeats to their neighbours over the last couple of years, they were awarded a free 50 meters out and Byrne took on the responsibly and sent the ball sailing over the bar. Carry Lynch made a couple of great catches as the Kells men tried to conjure up an equaliser but when Byrne sent over another 45 meter free in the eight minute of injury time it sealed a sweet victory for Ballinlough.
Ballinlough: K. Mc Guinness, R. Farrell, P. Muldoon, E. Smith, B. Smith, K. Devine, Colm Mallen, Cian Mallen (0-1) P. Byrne (1-6, 1pen, 6f), M. Geraghty, R. Mc Guinness, G. Reilly, K. Rothwell, M. Mc Cullen (0-1), T. Mc Cullen.