This was Moynalveys' first championship outing and during the early exchanges they struggled to find the form that brought them a Leinster Junior Club Championship late last year. Their main attacking threat came from Cathal Sheridan and Mark O' Sullivan, but when Ballinlough corner-back Robbie Farrell snuffed out the county minor; Sheridan was left to carry the scoring burden. Indeed, he may well have steered his team to victory but for a point blank stop by Ballinlough goalkeeper Keith Mc Guinness midway through the second-half.
Rothwell split the posts twice as Ballinlough opened up an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead, the signs were ominous for Moynalvey when Peadar Byrne ran onto a Ronan Mc Guinness pass and riffled to the net to give his side a 1-3 to 0-1 lead after 15 minutes. Moynalvey gradually adjusted to the pace of championship football as James Weldon and Sheridan narrowed the margin, but it was Peadar Byrne who kicked the final score of the half as The Reds' held a 1-4 to 0-3 advantage at the interval.
The winners were dealt a huge blow just before half-time when they lost influential midfielder Cian Mallen with a knee injury. However, his younger brother Kevin moved to midfield and supported the hard working Seamus Byrne as they started the second-half well with scores from Mc Guinness and Rothwell either side of a Sheridan free. Moynalvey responded to the challenge, upping their work rate and picking up most of the breaking ball around midfield as they slowly reduced the deficit.
They were awarded a penalty in the 46th minute when John Donoghue was hauled down close to goal, Sheridan was denied brilliantly by Mc Guinness but he reacted quickest to poke the rebound to the net, leaving a point between the sides, 1-6 to 1-5. Ballinlough had endured a 20 minute scoreless spell by the time Colm Mallen converted a 45 metre free with five minutes remaining and they must have feared the worst when Sheridan once again left the minimum between the teams with a free. At this stage it looked as if Moynalvey would get at least a share of the spoils but their defense failed to deal with a long ball from Thomas Mc Cullen and Peadar Byrne was on hand to supply Rothwell who blasted to the net for the decisive score of the game.
The Mc Guinness brothers Keith and Ronan played a key role for Ballinlough, others to impress were Benji Smith, Kenneth Rothwell and Peadar Byrne.
Ballinlough: K Mc Guinness; B Smith, P Muldoon, R Farrell, T Mc Cullen, K Devine, E O' Reilly, Cian Mallen, S Byrne, C Briody, K Rothwell (1-3, 0-1f), R Mc Guinness (0-1), Colm Mallen (0-2f), K Mallen, P Byrne (1-1). Subs: D Muldoon for Cian Mallon and S Geraghty for Briody.
Moynalvey: O. Regan, R. Kiernan, P. Weldon, D. Donoghue, J. Weldon (0-1), D. Dixon, S. Reilly, G. Fagan, S. Donoghue, W. Byrne, C. Sheridan(1-5), R. Quinlan, C. Ennis, J. Donoghue, M. O'Sullivan. Subs: B. Gilsenan(0-1) for R. Quinlan, B. Conneely for G. Fagan, B. Dixon for D. Donoghue, D. Durkan for C. Ennis