St. Ultan’s maintained their impressive form with a well deserved three point victory over Ballinlough in the Intermediate Championship in Kells on Saturday evening.
St. Ultan’s...............2-7 Ballinlough.............. 2-4
Despite torrential rain and thunder and lightning both sides produced some good football but ultimately it was St. Ultan’s who were more consistent team throughout the hour. Ballinlough made a perfect start with Peadar Byrne netting in the third minute following a Robbie Farrell pass, but St. Ultan’s began to dominate the midfield exchanges and despite a succession of early wides, they got their first point in the 10th minute. The winners then enjoyed a nine minute scoring spree in which they scored a further 1-2 without reply, to take a 1-3 to 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. The sides then traded two points each before the break with Kenneth Rothwell and Colm Mallon splitting the posts for Ballinlough. But the St. Ultan’s full-forward line continued to impress, registering scores in the 26th and 30th minutes to lead 1-5 to 1-2 at the switch of ends.
Ballinlough made a number of positional switches at half-time and they enjoyed had their best spell of the match early in second half with Padraig Muldoon and Eugene Reilly impressive in defence and Kevin Devine prospering from his move to midfield. Devine pointed frees in the 32nd and 33rd minutes as Ballinlough started to win more midfield possession. But just as it seemed that ’The Reds’ were beginning to find their form St. Ultan’s upped their workrate, registering the games decisive score in the 43rd minute when a long ball deceived the Ballinlough defence and was blasted to the net by Cian Rennicks. A pointed free left St. Ultan’s 2-7 to 1-4 ahead after 46 minutes, Ballinlough tried desperately to stage a late rally but found the St. Ultan’s defence in defiant mood.
Peadar Byrne got a rather fortuitous consolation goal for Ballinlough in the 57th minute when he somehow bundled an attempted clearance to the net, however it was too little too late as St. Ultan’s claimed their place in the knock-out stages of the Intermediate Championship.
Ballinlough - B Balfe; B Smith, P Muldoon, P Ryan, E O’ Reilly, L Maguire, G Smith, P Byrne (2-0), Cian Mallon, Colm Mallon (0-1), J O’ Reilly, R Farrell, K Rothwell (0-1), R Mc Guinness, K Devine(0-2).