Ballinlough fall just short at final hurdle (30/11/14)
Sean O'Mahonys of Dundalk became the third Louth club to take home Leinster Club Intermedite Football championship honours with this three point win over Ballinlough at Drogheda.
Sean O'Mahonys (Louth)................0-10 Ballinlough(Meath)........................1-4
This was a tactical affair with both team deploying a lot of players behind the ball, little separated the teams in terms of quality but it was Sean O' Mahonys ability to turnover possession and clinically punish their opponents that proved decisive in the end.
The Louth side also had a small bit of good fortune on their side, on at least three occasions in the first half the referee chose to issue yellow cards for what most pundits would deem cynical fouls, that should have warranted black cards, a clear trip on Jonnie Reilly (pictured above) which lead to a penalty was the more clear cut decision, which didn't get the relevant punishment.
O'Mahonys were quicker to settle and raced into a four point lead after 15 minutes. A brace from Stephen Fisher and one apiece from Stephen Kilcoyne and Gary Mulligan accounted for that opening salvo. But as they have been doing all year Ballinlough battled back and hit 1-3 inside 10 minutes. Half back Johnnie Reilly was fouled in the square and Peadar Byrne converted the penalty for the games only goal, Ballinlough were on a roll and rattled over quick fire points, including a good points from Colm Mallen and Ken Rothwell, but it was there best spell of the game as they took a two point lead. Sean O' Mahonys responded with a couple of scores as the teams went in at the break level 1-3 to 0-6.
The Meath side looked to be in a strong position having played very little football and indeed the feeling among many pundits was that if they could get off to a good start in the second half that they would surely go on to claim the trophy.
Having received four yellow card in the first half the the Dundalk outfit were always going to struggle to see out the 60 minutes with 15 men on the field and after just five minutes of the second period they were reduced to 14 when Conor Crawley was dismissed on a second yellow. But instead of pushing on Ballinlough appeared hesitant and almost burdened by the extra man as Sean O' Mahonys managed to find a little bit more space up front with Stephen Fisher in particular causing all sorts of problems.
O'Mahonys added two points through half backs Keith McLaughlin and the very influential John O'Brien. Ronan McGuinness gave the Meath club some hope with a well worked point but their attack was lacking width and proving one dimensional as Sean O' Mahony's packed out their defence and created somewhat of a bottle neck, invariably turning over possession with disciplined tackling.
Fisher added his third point and Kilcoyne his second to seal the issue in Sean O'Mahonys favour and send the Dundalk contingent home happy.
Sean O'Mahonys - K Brennan; P O'Brien, M Clarke, R Byrne; K Murphy, J O'Brien (0-1), K McLaughlin (0-1); P Nixon, S Brennan; L Dullaghan, G Mulligan (0-1), C Finnegan (0-2f); S Fisher (0-3), C Crawley, S Kilcoyne (0-2). Subs: C Martin for P Nixon, P Nixon for G Mulligan.
Ballinlough - K McGuinness; B Smith, P Muldoon, R Farrell; Colm Mallen (0-1), L Maguire, J Reilly; P Byrne (1-1, 1-0pen, 0-1f), K Devine; Cian Mallen, S Geraghty, M McCullen; K Rothwell (0-1), T McCullen, R McGuinness (0-1). Subs: S Deevey for S Geraghty, M Geraghty for M McCullen, J Tunney for K Rothwell.