Duleek Bellewstown 0-12 Ballinlough 0-13
Duleek Bellewstown's hopes of advancement in the Intermediate championship faltered in Skyrne of Friday night when the went under by the bare minimum to a Ballinlough team who are doing their annual renewal of coming right as the season moves into the business end.
Ballinlough's victory was secured in the middle third when after going 8 points to 4 behind five minutes before the interval they then reeled off 5 points on the bounce to go into the lead as the game entered the final quarter. The Duleek Bellewstown squad will reflect on this period when they were sitting comfortable with that 4 points lead and they allowed their opponents to gain momentum just before and after the break and they will realise that such lapses will not be good enough from on.
Duleek Bellewstown opened brightly and were two points to the good after a Stephen Nolan Nolan free and a Shane Townley point in the first 3 minutes with Ballinlough getting a point from their wing back . Two further points, the first of which was scored after an interception from a Ballinlough kickout and a second from a John Flood free had extended the lead to 2 two by the end of the 10th minute. Two further points from play from John Flood and Michael Dowling and two pointed free from Peadar Byrne kept the gap at 2 as the half went over the 20th minute. The score of the half came in the 24th minute when Robin Clarke intercepted a a Ballinlough attack on th left on his own 45 and he drove at the opposition defense; Following a a series of interchanges he slotted over and this was followed almost immediately by a John McDonnell point to extend the gap to 4 and the game was looking comfortable.
However Ballinlough had other ideas and had reduced the gap to 2 by the half time whistle. And they continued in the same vein by scoring again with 30 seconds of the restart and the gap was now at 1. At this stage the Lough were owning the middle third and for some wayward shooting would have put more on the scoreboard. They levelled the game on 7 minutes with another pointed effort from that man Byrne and completed the turnaround on the 13th with a pointed from their centre forward. The lead was extended to 2 on the 19th minute but a Stephen Nolan free from the left got the men in green and gold back in the scoring zone for their first score in 20 minutes. A pair of Ballinlough points were matched by scores form play by Nolan and John Flood and the gap was still at one as the game entered the last five minutes.
That gap for Ballinlough was extended by another Byrne free and a massive Shane Crosby effort from the left as the game entered injury time positioned the teams for a nervous finish. Despite having a few chances and facing the tenacious defending of the Lough, Duleek Bellewstown just couldn't get that final point to draw the game before the referee blew the final whistle.
Duleek Bellewstown now have to face Bective knowing that they have to win to have any chance of progressing to the knockout and that even a win may not be a guarantee of a quarter final place.
Duleek Bellewstown: A Dowling, D Teeling, D More, K McCann, S Crosby, B Moore, R Clarke, J Flaherty, M Dowling, J Flood, S Townley, J Crosby, J McDonnell, S Nolan, G Reilly; Subs J Roche for G Reilly, S Mc Ardle, for S Townley, D Heeney for J Crosby