A goal by Sean Geraghty with ten minutes remaining proved to be the decisive score as Ballinlough did enough to edge out Dunderry in a tough and uncompromising battle in Moylagh on Sunday evening.
A large crowd turned out for this quarter final clash, the Moylagh club certainly did the occasion justice with a match program, plenty of stewarding and most importantly they presented a perfect playing surface which facilitated some great passages of football.
Over the course of the hour very little separated the teams, but crucially Ballinlough displayed greater composure in the red heat of battle, Dunderry had done all of the hard work to draw level at the three quarter stage but the clinical manner in which the winners disposed of their opponents in the last quarter augers well as they lined up a semi-final showdown with Castletown.
While Ballinlough are difficult to break down Dunderry did forge some openings, they will look back ruefully on some poor finishing which so often blighted great approach work from the likes of Seamus Harte and Simon Carty in defence.
Ballinlough corner forward Kevin Devine operated as an extra defender for much of the game and it worked well from a defensive point of view, however at the other end Dunderry goalkeeper David Jennings invariably picked out a spare man with his kick-outs and it gave his team a solid platform from which to attack.
They looked more composed early on as they hit a couple of scores from Robert Doherty and Paddy Kenneally as Ballinlough struggled to get in to their rhythm, but Sean Geraghty popped up to kick his first score of the game for Ballinlough.
Peadar Byrne had been off target with a couple of early long range frees and when he faced up to another tricky free Jonnie Reilly made an intelligent run forward to collect a quick free in space and slot over a great point.
Lorcan Maguire was excellent for Ballinlough throughout and he marshalled the center of their defence brilliantly with numerous brave interceptions, he was central as they enjoyed a good spell, with frees from Peadar Byrne and Colm Mallen as they went ahead 0-4 to 0-2 after 22 minutes.
Paddy Kenneally was a real threat in the Dunderry attack and he was watched closely by Padraig Muldoon for the hour, but the former county minor did manage to find some space to fire over a great score in the 27th minute. Scores were hard to come by but Peadar Byrne and Kevin Dowd traded good points before the break to leave Ballinlough leading by just one; 0-5 to 0-4, at the switch of ends.
Ballinlough's midfielder Derek Muldoon was the recipient of a black card early in the second half and Dunderry looked to be in a strong position as they levelled, 0-7 to 0-7, in the 43rd minute with a point from Stephen Coogan. However Ballinlough showed that they are now genuine contenders for the Mattie Mc Donnell cup as they made a defining scoring burst.
Jonnie Reilly found an inch of space to kick a great score and then Sean Geraghty popped over another point as they went two clear and then they got the only goal of the game. Cian Mallen did well to keep the ball in play along the sideline and found substitute Simon Deevy who released Sean Geraghty in on goal and the corner forward displayed a cool head to pick his spot and place the ball below the advancing David Jennings, Ballinlough had surged five clear, 1-9 to 0-7, in the space of four minutes.
However Dunderry wern't finished and the combination of Coogan and Keeneally (2) kept them in touch as the gap was back to two points; 1-9 to 0-10, with five minutes remaining. But instead of defending their lead Ballinlough pushed forward and administered the knock-out blow as Peadar Byrne (free), Jack Tunney and Sean Geraghty fired over points in quick succession to book their place in the championship semi-final.
Ballinlough: K. Mc Guinness, B. Smith, P. Muldoon, R. Farrell, L. Maguire, Colm Mallen (0-1f), J. Reilly (0-2), D. Muldoon, P. Byrne (0-5, 4f), M. Mc Cullen, R. Mc Guinness, Cian Mallen, S. Geraghty (1-3), T. Mc Cullen, K. Devine. Subs: Junior O' Reilly for D. Muldoon, S. Deevy for Mc Guinness, K. Rothwell for T. Mc Cullen and J.Tunney (0-1) for M. Mc Cullen.