Ballinlough Cling to Victory in Simonstown (06/03/15)
It took a late goal from substitute Oliver Brady, combined with a penalty save from Keith McGuinness to ensure that Ballinlough left Simonstown victorious on Friday night.
Simonstown: 1-7 Ballinlough: 2-7
Keith McGuinness in the Ballinlough Goal saved a dramatic last minute penalty
Simonstown got off to a great start and had the ball in the back of Ballinlough's net after a minute of play thanks to centre half back Aaron Farrelly, after a rampaging run from defence.
A James O’Higgins free moments later got the visitors off the mark. The centre forwards accurate place kicking has been, and will be key to the ‘Lough as they progress in this competition. Soon after this, lively young corner forward Adam Fox found himself in space after a great ball forward by Ronan McGuinness, and finished skilfully over the bar to bring his team within a point of the hosts.
On a night where a strong breeze played a big part in a lot of scores, Ballinlough got a large slice of fortune when Ken Rothwell floated a high ball into the area. The veteran forwards ball deceived Darren Forde in the Simonstown goal, and ended up in the back of the net to put the visitors in front for the first time.
The ‘Lough were starting to play with more conviction, and soon extended their lead. High Fielding midfielder Kevin Beirne got an excellent individual point, before Ronan McGuinness was rewarded for his usual tireless performance with a great score from a tight angle. James O’Higgins tagged on another free before the break to leave his side leading by 1-5 to 1-2 at the change of ends.
Simonstown started the second half well and points from corner-forward Keith Brady and right half back Ronan Smith left only a point between the teams. The game seemed to be on a knife edge at this point, and could have gone either way, with both teams guilty of bad misses.
The leadership and superior fitness of several of Ballinloughs more experienced players such as Benji Smith, Lorcan Maguire, James O’Keefe and Ronan McGuinness pushed the Reds on in the final quarter. A surging run from defence from Smith set up Oliver Brady to finish powerfully to the back of the net, and give the ‘Lough some breathing space again.
O’Higgins converted a further two frees, while Simonstown tagged on points of their own, through centre-forward Charlie McNulty, full-forward John Lunney and Ronan Smith, to leave the score at 2-7 to 1-7 with just minutes to go.
The drama was not over though, as a late challenge from Mattie Farrell on Evan Burlinham in the square saw the home side awarded a penalty. Full-forward John Lunney stood up to take the spot kick but was denied by a brilliant save from Keith McGuinness in the Ballinlough goal to seal the victory for his side.
Ballinlough: K. McGuinness, J. O’Keefe, E. Smith, M. Farrell, P. Monaghan, B. Smith, J. Reilly, L. Maguire, K. Beirne (0-1), P. Briody, J. O’Higgins (0-4), R. McGuinness (0-1), A. Fox (0-1), K. Rothwell (1-0), D. Farrelly. Subs: J. Montgomery Francis for J. Reilly, D. Montgomery Francis for P. Briody, O. Brady (1-0) for A. Fox, M. McInerney for D. Farrelly, J. Farrelly for M. Farrell.
Simonstown: D.Forde, M.Fitzpatrick, S.McGivney, D.Byrne, R.Smith (0-2), A.Farrelly (1-0), C.O'Donoghue, A.Meade, W.Stynes, C.Reilly, C.McNulty (0-1), B.Treacy (0-1), F.Carragher, J.Lunney (0-2), K.Brady (0-1) Substitutes: P.Gorman for K.Brady, S.Dillion for F.Carragher, D.Molloy-Battigan for B.Treacy, E.Burlingham for C.McNulty.