Eamon Barry and Martin O' Connell had plenty to be cheerful about after their young team showed good composure to recover from a slow start and eventually take control of this match; particularly in the second and third quarters as they moved the ball at pace and kicked some impressive scores as Ballinlough struggled to win primary possession around midfield.
However Ballinlough can be encouraged by an improved display; they moved the ball well out of defense and at times had the beating of the Walterstown defence, but ultimately struggled to keep their shape and play with enough consistency to really test out the eventual winners during the second half. But with key players; Sean and Michael Geraghty, Gary Reilly and Padraig Muldoon all to return they have room to make a significant improvement before championship football commences.
Peadar Byrne was prominent early on and he had three points on the board in the first quarter as Ballinlough led; 1-3 to 0-2 after 14 minutes. The goal came from a well taken Derek Muldoon penalty after Ronan Mc Guinness was hauled down close to goal. Walterstown slowly started to improve and they enjoyed a fruitful second quarter as they added six points before the break, leaving the game delicately poised; 0-8 to 1-5, at half-time.
Walterstown made a match winning surge early in the second half and an early goal set them on their way. Youngster Alan Wall was particularly impressive for the winners and he drove forward from defence on numerous occasions and kicked a good score in the 39th minute to leave his side ahead; 1-9 to 1-6. Walterstown stretched the lead to four; 1-12 to 1-8, with 8 minutes remaining.
With the game still up for grabs Peadar Byrne gathered possession 30 meters out where be tangled with Alban Crosby; who received a black card, a goal had looked a possibility but when the resulting free sailed wide Ballinlough's chance of taking anything from the game had passed.
Walterstown kicked the last point of the game and came away with a deserved victory.
Best for Ballinlough were: Robbie Farrell, Lorcan Maguire, Ronan Mc Guinness and Peadar Byrne.
Ballinlough: K. Mc Guinness, E. Mc Cabe, E. Smith, R. Farrell, B. Smith, L. Maguire, J. Baugh, D. Muldoon, T. Mc Cullen, J. Tunney, M. Mc Cullen, K. Byrne, R. Mc Guinness, P. Byrne and N. Farrelly. Subs: J. O' Reilly for Tunney and J. O' Higgins for Baugh.