The Finnan Cup will rest in Ballinlough for the next twelve months after the home side comfortably seen off Oldcastle in the inaugural tournament final on Tuesday evening in front of a sizeable gathering of hardy North Meath enthusiasts.
The lights were switched on for the first time this autumn as the darkness descended early on a damp Tuesday evening but despite this the locals went away happy as they defeated their senior neighbours for the first time in four years.
In truth Oldcastle wont dwell too much on this defeat as they were without many regulars including: Ronan Farrelly, Cian Mc Partland, Paddy Coakley, Niall Mangan, Paddy Gilsenan and Rupert Pakenham but for Ballinlough it’s another step in the right direction as the business end of the year approaches.
After the opening ten minutes when they trailed; 0-2 to 0-1, Ballinlough always looked the more likely. Gary Reilly gave them the lead for the first time after 11 minutes when he scored a goal of real quality; the minor player competed bravely to win possession 45 meters from the Oldcastle goal before he took off on a solo run and planted the ball in the roof of the net from 20 meters. ‘The Lough’ dominated the rest of the half as Peadar Byrne (2), Kevin Mallen, Simon Deevy, Tommy Mc Cullen and Mark Mc Cullen all tagged on points as they held a six point lead; 1-7 to 0-4, at half-time.
The pace dropped off considerably in the second-half as the hosts extended their lead with a couple of points from Peadar Byrne (free) and Kevin Mallen. Vincent Reynolds (2) responded with a couple of good scores for Oldcastle but at the three quarter stage they were trailing; 0-6 to 1-9. Cian Mallen, who had a good outing for Ballinlough, kicked a good score and then his brother Kevin benefitted from the hard work of Ronan Mc Guinness who broke down an Oldcastle attack and set up the younger Mallen brother for a point. Ballinlough were out of sight at this stage but there was still time for Simon Deevy to gather a Niall Farrelly pass and rattle the Oldcastle net and seal a comprehensive victory.
After the match Liam Finnan presented the cup to Ballinlough captain Ken Rothwell.
Ballinlough: K. Mc Guinness, B. Smith, P. Muldoon, R. Farrell, M. Geraghty, K. Devine, Colm Mallen, Cian Mallen (0-1) P. Byrne (0-3, 2f), T. Mc Cullen (0-2), R. Mc Guinness, G. Reilly (1-0), K. Mallen (0-3), M. Mc Cullen (0-1), K. Rothwell. Subs: S. Deevy (1-1) for Rothwell, Jonnie Reilly for K. Mallen, N. Farrelly for Mc Guinness, Jonathon O’ Reilly for Geraghty and P. Farrelly for G. Reilly.