Ballinlough's Benji Smith in control against Nobber
Both teams were desperate for victory to aid their fight for promotion, which led to a very cautious start to the encounter. It took until the tenth minute for the game to see it’s first score, when Karl Casserly split the posts to put Nobber ahead.
A freakish period in the game then saw three players need hospital treatment. First Colm Mallen took a blow to the ribs, before his Ballinlough teammate Niall Farrelly picked up a nasty looking knee injury. Nobber centre half Fiachra McEntee then received a serious leg injury, needing to be stretchered from the field.
Once the game got going again, substitute Jack Tunney levelled things for the ‘Lough with a well struck free kick, which he had won himself before Kevin Devine converted a second free to edge the hosts in front. Ex-county players Brian Farrell and Peadar Byrne both scored further frees before the half time break to leave the sides level at 0-03 to 0-03 at the change of ends.
The second half brought more of the same, with both sides struggling to pick up scores from play, instead relying on placed ball situations.
Cian Mallen put the Reds back in front in the opening minutes of the half, before a brace of Farrell frees saw the lead change hands again. Byrne then produced a surging run from midfield and a quality finish to ensure the game remained on a knife edge. Tunney soon picked up his second score of the game after splitting the posts from a tight angle after a great pass from Sean Geraghty.
Farrell’s assured free taking kept the score board ticking for Nobber, and he also impressed when moved from his full forward position out to a midfield berth.
Points from Derek Muldoon and Byrne (2) saw the ‘Lough draw level with minutes remaining, before another converted Farrell free left the home crowd nervous in the dying minutes, but Byrne stepped forward to level matters with an assured free in the final moments.
Best for the hosts on the day were Benji Smith, Johnny Reilly, Peadar Byrne and Jack Tunney.
This result leaves Ballinlough second in the division, one point ahead of Nobber, with games remaining against Kilmainham and Ratoath.
Ballinlough: K. McGuinness, R. Farrell, P. Muldoon, B. Smith, J. Baugh, M. Geraghty, J. Reilly, D. Muldoon, P. Byrne, Colm Mallen, R. McGuinness, Cian Mallen, S. Geraghty, K. Devine, N. Farrelly. Subs: T. McCullen for Colm Mallen, J. Tunney for N. Farrelly, K. Rothwell for K. Devine, J. O’Higgins for S. Geraghty.
Nobber: C O'Reilly, S O'Brien, B O'Reilly, B. Cassidy, G. Campbell, F. McEntee, N Farrell, R Shields, G Farrell, B Kelly, K. Casserly, B Heffernan, S Meade, B Farrell, D Larkin.