Syddan opened the scoring through young talent Daire Rowe in the third minute with a well taken point. It didn’t take long for the ‘Lough to equalise, with Peadar Byrne converting a free from distance after Johnny Reilly had been fouled. The ex-county man then had another free from similar distance which slipped through the hands of the Syddan keeper and into the back of the net to give the Reds the lead.
Byrne’s hot streak continued with a third score within five minutes after a powerful run from midfield resulted in an impressive point. Syddan pulled two points back before Tommy McCullen split the posts after a great pass from Simon Deevy. Kevin Devine converted a further free to extend his sides lead. Syddan managed to pull a further two points back before the break, leaving them trailing by 1-04 to 0-05 at the change of ends.
Ronan McGuinness opened the scoring in the second period, after good work by Deevy. A defence splitting pass from Devine, then saw Deevy open his own account for the day with a well finished point from close distance. McGuinness then hit a rapid brace of points, first finishing off a good team move, before then winning the breaking ball from the resulting kick-out and expertly finding his range.
Colm Mallen was impressing in his new position at centre-back for the ‘Lough, and his hard work lead to another fine score for Deevy. Byrne then hit two of the most impressive scores of the game, the first of which came from near the sideline, beautifully curling over the bar. The second was a huge kick from distance which came just sixty seconds later.
Syddan seemed to come to life midway through the half, after good team play saw them split the posts in the sixteenth minute of the period, before they got an all important goal soon after. A high ball into the Ballinlough area ended up in the back of the net due to the slippy conditions.
Devine and Byrne tagged on scores to keep Ballinlough out in front, but a couple of late Syddan points saw this encounter go down to the wire. The ‘Lough held on to secure a four point victory.
This was a great team performance from Ballinlough, and they will be delighted with the performance of the first fifteen as well as the strength of the subs who were introduced throughout. They now face a final against Nobber, and will be hopeful of emerging victorious.
Ballinlough: K. McGuinness, B. Smith, P. Muldoon, R. Farrell, Jonathan O’Reilly, Colm Mallen, Johnny Reilly, P. Byrne, D. Muldoon, Cian Mallen, R. McGuinness, S. Geraghty, S. Deevy, T. McCullen, K. Devine. Subs: Junior O’Reilly for Cian Mallen, E. Smith for Jonathan O’Reilly, K. Rothwell for R. McGuinness, J. Baugh for P. Muldoon, G. Reilly for P. Byrne.