This was a repeat fixture of last years division 5 b-league final, which on that occasion needed extra time to separate the sides. Things were not as close this time around, as the home side went on to outscore their opponents 4-11 to 0-02 in the second half, after a tight first period.
Niall Farrelly opened the scoring for the ‘Lough, the midfielder finishing from a tight angle after good work by Ken Rothwell. Tommy Shine soon doubled their advantage, before Alan Holton pulled one back for the visitors.
Scores were hard to come by in the opening period, as the game was dominated by strong play by both sets of backs. Longwood were also left to thank their keeper, Jarlath Cully, after a number of fine saves, most notably a superb diving save to knock the ball over the bar and deny Ken Rothwell an almost certain goal from a one-on-one situation.
Ballinlough went into the break ahead by the slimmest of margins, with a score of 0-06 to 0-05.
The game seemed to be evenly matched at this stage, but Ballinloughs superior fitness and scoring ability saw them comfortably pull away in the second half. They started to dominate around the middle of the park, with Kevin Beirne and Farrelly controlling the flow of the game.
Experienced full forward, Tom Shine, was also coming into his own, scoring an impressive hatrick. His finishing ability will be key as Ballinlough progress further in this competition. Wing back, Paul Farrelly, was also rewarded for his marauding runs with a stunning long range goal.
The ‘Lough seemed dangerous in every attack, as they swarmed forward to outnumber their opponents. They were rewarded with fine scores by Johnny Reilly, Jack Tunney and James O’ Higgins. James Baugh closed the scoring with a brilliant point after a surging run, to leave 22 points between the sides.
Best for Ballinlough on the day were Kevin Beirne, Matthew Farrell, Paul Farrelly, Niall Farrelly and Tom Shine.
Ballinlough: L. Gibney, E. Smith, K. Beirne, M. Farrell, P. Farrelly, J. Baugh, Johnathon O’Reilly, N. Farrelly, Junior O’Reilly, J. O’Higgins, K. Rothwell, J. Reilly, J. Tunney, T. Shine, D. Lynch. Subs: M. Brady for L. Gibney, S. Smith for Junior O’Reilly, O. Brady for D. Lynch, J. Farrelly for P. Farrelly, J. Lydon for J. Tunney.