The home side opened the scoring in the opening minute when Jack Tunney pointed from a tight angle after a cutting run through the middle by Peadar Byrne. The visitors however soon got themselves going, and their clinical forwards saw them quickly open up a 0-5 to 0-1 lead with twenty minutes gone. Just when it seemed the game could be getting away from them in the opening period, Kevin Devine calmed matters with a smartly converted free kick, to bring the ‘Lough back into the game. The veteran full forward quickly doubled his tally after some very patient build up in the Ballinlough forward line.
A cleverly worked 45, which left the Rathkenny defence flatfooted, allowed Byrne reduce the deficit further, before spritely wing back Johnny Reilly closed the period with a well taken point to leave his side trailing by a single point at the change of ends, 0-06 to 0-05.
Momentum remained in the ‘Loughs favour at the start of the second period, as Devine opened the scoring with a trademark point after a long ball had been sent up the field by Byrne. Good work by centre forward Ronan McGuinness, led to Sean Geraghty opening his account for the day, the young corner forward split the posts expertly from distance. The hard working Mark McCullen was soon rewarded for his efforts when he punched over the cross bar after a Colm Mallen shot had dropped short, as the ‘Lough opened up a two point lead for the first time in the match. Byrne almost got the games first goal when through on the Rathkenny keeper, but his blistering shot was a fraction too high, and he had to settle for a point.
The visitors took time to settle into the second half, but hit a purple patch around ten minutes in, scoring 1-2 without reply. Ballinlough’s ever reliable full back Padraig Muldoon was unfortunate to see the ball deflect off him and into the back of his own net, to see Rathkenny gain the lead back.
From here on out though, the ‘Lough seemed to find another gear, and put on a masterclass of score taking. Devine (2) and Byrne added to their tallies, before McGuinness finished off a fine team move to edge his team further in front. Johnny Reilly then picked up his second of the day after a lightning run from defence. Mark McCullen scored a powerful swerving point from distance, before Derek Muldoon split the posts just seconds later from the resulting kick out. Jack Tunney capped an impressive performance with a well struck free kick late on, before Byrne picked up the final score of the game. An unselfish pass from Tommy McCullen saw him one on one with the keeper, and his low shot managed to squirm into the back of the net to round out a seven point victory.
Best for Ballinlough on the day were Robbie Farrell, Johnny Reilly, Mark McCullen, Kevin Devine and Jack Tunney. This win leaves the‘Reds second in the league, and they will be full of confidence ahead of next weeks encounter with Dunderry.
Ballinlough: K. McGuinness, B. Smith, P. Muldoon, R. Farrell, Colm Mallen, M. Geraghty, J. Reilly (0-2), P. Byrne (1-3), D. Muldoon (0-1), T. McCullen, R. McGuinness (0-1), M. McCullen (0-2), J. Tunney (0-2), K. Devine (0-5), S. Geraghty (0-1). Subs: N. Farrelly for M. Geraghty, J. O’Reilly for M. McCullen, J. Baugh for R. McGuinness.