Ballinlough....................0-09 St. Colmcilles................2-08
St. Colmcilles opened their Intermediate championship campaign in the best possible manner, with a five point victory over Ballinlough.
Ballinlough's Cian Mallen in possession
The sides had met just two weeks previously when the 'Lough emerged victorious in a closely fought league encounter. As on that occassion, this was a cagey affair from the offset.
Ciaran Kelly opened the scoring for St. Colmcilles in the opening minute, with a well taken free, before Niall Farrelly quickly equalised for the North Meath men. Tight marking from both teams meant scores were tough to come by for large periods of the half, and a further ten minutes passed before Ben Brennan added to the scoreboard with two close range frees. Graham Reilly, who had been well marshalled by Michael Geraghty in the opening exchanges found his range with a smartly taken point from distance soon after.
Momentum soon swung in favour of the Reds. Peadar Byrne converted a free, after a foul on the hard working Sean Geraghty. The resulting kickout fell to Ronan McGuinness who split the posts with ease to reduce the deficit to the minimum. A late flurry of points from Ballinlough just before the break saw them take the lead for the first time in the contest. First, half back Benji Smith finished off a meandering run from defence with a finely taken point. Intelligent play from McGuinness saw him add another score almost immediately from the kickout. Sean Geraghty brought the half to a close with a neat point, to leave his side leading 0-06 to 0-05.
St. Colmcilles started the second period with more intent and purpose, as county man Reilly picked up his second point of the afternoon in the opening minute.Things quickly got worse for the 'Lough, as John McKenna found the back of the net, after a speculative effort had come back off the post.
St. Colmcilles soon extended their lead, when Ciaran Kelly raised another green flag, after poor defensive work by the Reds. Ballinlough struggled to get back into the game after the second goal left them with a mountain to climb. They managed only three points in the second period, all from the boot of Mark McCullen, who was unlucky to see two attempts on goal skim just over the cross bar.
Best for Ballinlough on the day were Michael Geraghty, Lorcan Maguire, Cian Mallen and Ronan McGuinness. They will hope to regroup and be better prepared for their next championship encounter in two weeks time against local rivals Drumbaragh.
Ballinlough: D. Muldoon, R. Farrell, P. Muldoon, J. Baugh, B. Smith, L. Maguire, M. Geraghty, T. McCullen, Cian Mallen, P. Byrne, R. McGuinness, M. McCullen, J. Reilly, N. Farrelly, S. Geraghty. Subs: K. Devine for Farrelly, J. Tunney for McGuinness.
St. Colmcilles: D. Magill, C. Ward, E. Woods, M. Medcalfe, G. McCloskey, I. Mullen, C. Mullen, R O'Grady, R. McCloskey, J. McKenna, B. Brennan, G. Reilly, C. Hilliard, C. Kelly, B. Reidy.