21 February 2019 – ACBFL Division 3 – Ballinlough 0-7 Walterstown 3-13

Newly appointed Junior Manager, Robbie Barrett, brought a panel of 25 players to Ballinlough for this Round 1 All County B Football League Division 3 match. There was a good mix of youth and experience in the starting lineup, which included adult competitive debuts for Adam Barrett and Darren Finnegan, who both went on to turn in fine performances.

On an excellent surface, Walterstown attacked the end away from the clubhouse in the first half, with the benefit of a wind that was blowing across the pitch. Strong running from deep, combined with clever movement from the inside forwards and early and accurate kick passing ensured that the Blacks would go on to dominate the first period. The Walterstown captain, Sam McCabe, kicked the first point of the game, in the opening minute. In the second minute, attacking wing back, Cathal McGuinness, fired an unstoppable shot past the home keeper for the Black’s first goal. Sam, Andrew Moran, Stephen Davis (x2) and Colm Reilly all added further points from play during a strong opening, to leave the visitors nine points ahead after only 11 minutes. Encouraged by his manager, Christopher Farrelly took aim from long-distance and was rewarded with a point, before Stephen kicked a free. Ballinlough’s opening point came in the 21st minute. The Blacks responded with another long-range point from Christopher, a third point from Stephen Davis and a coolly taken goal by Sam McCabe. After the home team’s second point, Colm reilly kicked the score of the night, a long-range, curling effort, before Stephen finished the visitor’s scoring for the first half.

Half Time: Ballinlough 0-2 Walterstown 2-11

With the wind picking up strength during the interval, the second half would give the backs the opportunity to impress and they went on to do just that and respond to manager Robbie “no goals” request. Man of the match Dan Halligan was excellent throughout, well supported by Darragh Keegan, Ciaran Murphy, Eoghan O’Mahony, Davy Reynolds, Cathal and Darren, with Conor O’Sullivan and Christopher winning good ball out the field.

Ballinlough started the second period brightly and added two points to their total. After 10 minutes, Aron Dunphy, Kevin Devine and Ray Reynolds were introduced. The wind was making it increasingly difficult for Walterstown’s forwards to score, until Aaron McLoughin opened his account for the evening with a clever, fisted effort, which was followed up by a pointed free from Ray. Shortly after coming on, Donal Traynor was fouled, which resulted in a cleverly taken quick free from Ray, to an unmarked Sam, who took on the full-back and scored to the keeper’s right for his second goal, which turned out to be Walterstown’s final score of the match. Paddy Donnellan and Paddy McCabe brought fresh legs to the proceedings for the final quarter. Ballinlough battled on to the final whistle and were rewarded with the last three scores of the match.

Full Time: Ballinlough 0-7 Walterstown 3-13

The management team of Robbie Barrett, Mark McGuire and Paul McCarthy were pleased with the turnout, performance and result and their only disappointment was that the limitation on substitutions meant that they could not give game time to Michael Donnellan, Ramiz Sohail, Robert Deane or Timi Sowumni, who will all have opportunities as the season progresses.

Round 2 will see Walterstown host Donoghmore/Ashbourne on the weekend of 9 March 2019. All support is greatly appreciated.

Team:Darragh Keegan; Ciaran Murphy; Eoghan O’Mahony; Dan Halligan; Cathal McGuinness (1-0); Davy Reynolds; Darren Finnegan; Christopher Farrelly (0-2), Conor O’Sullivan; Andrew Moran (0-1); Aaron McLoughlin (0-1): Colm Reilly (0-2); Adam Barrett; Sam McCabe (2-2) and Stephen Davis (0-4, 1f).

Substitutes: Aron Dunphy for Ciaran Murphy; Ray Reynolds (0-1,f) for Colm Reilly; Kevin Devine for Stephen Davis; Donal Traynor for Christopher Farrelly; Paddy Donnellan for Darren Finnegan; Paddy McCabe for Aaron McLoughlin; Michael Donnellan; Ramiz Sohail; Robert Deane; Timi Sowumni.