Ballinlough Progress to Leinster Decider (16/11/14)
Ballinlough progressesd to the Leinster Club Intermediate Football Championship final with this double scores win over St James of Wexford. The game was played in ideal conditions at Wexford Park before the Wexford SFC final.
Ballinlough.................0-12 St James'....................1-3
Kevin Devine gains possession against St. James on Sunday
Apart from a couple of barren spells during which Ballinlough failed to score, and St James failed to capitalise, the Meath champions were always in control against a Wexford side that managed just 1-1 from play. St James were forced to start without Wexford senior football captain Graeme Molloy. The Meath men got a great start and hit St James for five points in the opening 15 minutes. Former county man Peadar Byrne got the scoreboard clicking when he sent over a free. The midfielders powerful runs causing problems from early on for the hosts. Then corner back Benji Smith raced forward to get the best score of the game before Byrne converted another free. A poor kick out from St. James allowed Ken Rothwell to capitalise with a further impressive score, before Tommy McCullen pointed from a tight angle to open up a 0-5 to 0-0 lead. During this explosive start by the visitors, the St. James defence were unable to match their opponents speed and power, driven largely by the surging runs forward of Smith, Robbie Farrell, Colm Mallen and Johnnie Reilly.
St. James had to wait till the 18th minute for their opening score. The Lough rearguard was breached and Emmet Dunning finished to the net. The Wexford champions followed up with a point through Mark Molloy. Within two minutes of that score St James Kevin O'Grady gained possession in front of the Ballinlough goal but the full forward blazed wide with the goal at his mercy. From there till the end of the first half Ballinlough dominated again and finished with scores from Colm Mallen and Tommy McCullen to go in at the break 0-7 to 1-1 ahead.
Wexford senior hurling captain Matthew O'Hanlon got the opening score of the second half to give the home side some hope. Both teams were guilty of some very bad wides in the second thirty. Ballinlough struggled in front of the post in the early stages and had to wait till the 15th minute for their first score. That came courtesy of veteran Ken Rothwell after a great pass from Colm Mallen.
Kevin Devine took over the free taking duties and he converted a long range effort to open up a 0-9 to 1-2 gap. The Reds' veteran put in a standout performance in midfield, stepping in to replace the injured Derek Muldoon.
Molloy sent over St James second and final score on the 20th minute before Tom Shine's charges began to dominate again. On as a substitute Jack Tunney settled some nerves with a fine point. Shortly after Rothwell picked up his third score of the afternoon after Tommy McCullen had expertly fielded a high pass into the area. Devine closed the days scoring with another free to send Ballinlough on their way to the provincial decider.
Best for the 'Lough in a dominating display were Lorcan Maguire, Benji Smith, Cian Mallen, Ken Rothwell, and Tommy and Mark McCullen. They will now meet Sean O'Mahonys of Louth, who will have home advantage, on November 30th.
Ballinlough: Keith McGuinness, Benji Smith 0-1, Padraig Muldoon, Robbie Farrell, Colm Mallen 0-1, Lorcan Maguire, Johnnie Reilly, Peadar Byrne 0-2, Kevin Devine 0-2, Cian Mallen, Ronan McGuinness, Mark McCullen, Ken Rothwell 0-3, Tommy McCullen 0-2, Sean Geraghty. Subs: Jack Tunney 0-1, James Baugh, Simon Deevey
St James: Noel Holohan, Paul Barron, Jason Barron, Greg Doyle, Robert Barron, Brian Kennedy, David Doyle, Matthew O'Hanlon, Brendan Doyle, Daniel Keating, Shane Murphy, Mark Molloy, Emmet Dunning, Kevin O'Grady, Bryan Molloy. Subs: Donal Barron, Liam Murphy, Luke Murphy, Robert Murphy, John McDonald