Rathkenny got off to a great start with two quickfire points, but the Lough soon found their feet, with the impressive Peadar Byrne knocking over three unanswered scores. Cian Mallen and Ricky McDermott - who is showing great potential in his first year of adult football - also split the posts for the north Meath men, but Rathkenny finished the half stronger with the clinical Jack Gore leading them to an 0-8 to 0-6 advantage at the change of ends.
The second half was a tense affair as both sides scored some nice points, but ultimately Ballinlough’s poor finishing cost them dearly. Rathkenny quickly built up a 5 point lead thanks to some fine scores from Gore and Owen Elliott, combined with a succession of wides from the Lough.
A late flurry of points from Byrne and Sean Geraghty cut the difference between the sides to the bare minimum as the clock ran down, but Rathkenny held on to secure the victory.
Best for Ballinlough on the day were Robbie Farrell, Ricky McDermott and Peadar Byrne.
Ballinlough: S. Smith, B. Smith, P. Muldoon, R. Farrell, N. Farrelly, D. Muldoon, M. Geraghty, Cian Mallen (0-1), T. McCullen, J. Reilly, S. Geraghty (0-1), P. Byrne (0-8), R. McDermott (0-2), M.McCullen, Colm Mallen. Subs: R. McGuinness for Colm Mallen, G. Reilly for Cian Mallen, J. Reilly for M. McCullen.