Having led for most of the game Ballinlough was left relying on a couple of brilliant late saves from goalkeeper Matthew Brady as they held on for a well deserved victory. Brady was quite simply outstanding throughout and although a couple of saves at the end of the match will be best remembered he also made a couple of vital saves throughout the course of the match, most notably just before half-time to deny an almost certain goal.
Meath Hill was ahead early on but Ballinlough soon found their stride with a couple of Jack Tunney points. It was a tight battle for most of the half with little separating the teams, Meath Hill forged ahead; 0-4 to 0-2, but scores from Bryan Smith and Kevin Mallen put Ballinlough on level terms. The sides exchanged points before ‘The Lough’ made a major breakthrough with a Simon Deevy goal but much of the credit must go to youngster James Lydon, he retrieved possession from what looked like a lost cause and he unselfishly laid the ball off for Deevy to pick his spot and put his team ahead; 1-5 to 0-5.
Deevy sent over a point shortly afterwards before Meath Hill responded with a score of their own and they were unlucky not to be on level terms at the break as Matthew Brady pulled off a good save in the Ballinlough goals this left the score; 1-6 to 0-6, at half-time.
Ballinlough midfielders; Bryan Smith and Kevin Mallen got the first scores of the second-half as their team went five points clear, but Meath Hill still managed to keep themselves in contention with a couple of points as they trailed; 0-8 to 1-8. Vinny Ryan was once again the fulcrum of the Ballinlough defence while Jonnie Reilly was a major threat in attack and they were both involved as Ballinlough hit three points in quick succession through Junior O’ Reilly, Conor Briody and Kevin Mallen to lead; 1-11 to 0-8.
But once again Meath Hill responded and the lead was down to five points by the time Matthew Brady pulled off another brilliant save at the expense of a ’45 and although the resulting kick sailed over the bar, Ballinlough held on for a deserved victory.
Ballinlough: M. Brady, J. Baugh, V. Ryan, P. Baugh, G. Reilly, J O’. Reilly (0-1), J. O’ Higgins, B. Smith (0-2), K. Mallen (0-3), J. Reilly (0-1), C. Briody (0-1), N. Finlay, J. Tunney (0-2), S. Deevy (0-1), J. Lydon. Sub: J. O’ Keeffe.