Two goals late in the first half proved crucial for Ballinlough as they pipped Gaeil Colmcille by the narrowest of margins in the opening round fixture of the A League Division 2B.
It was Gaeil Colmcille held all the possession early on and two points from Fionn Ferguson either side of a Daniel Farrelly point saw the Kells side lead 0-03 to 0-01 with 14 minutes on the clock. Ballinlough’s full forward Mark McCullen made no mistake from an advanced mark to pull Gaeil Colmcille’s lead back to a point but two further points from Ferguson saw the visitors stretch three clear leading 0-05 to 0-02 with 21 minutes played.
The sides traded the next four scores with Ferguson adding a wonderful score off his left foot followed by an equally as good score from Gary McGovern to keep the Gaeils ahead by three. Ballinl on finished the half in strong fashion and a point from play in the 28th was followed by the two crucial goals that left Gaeil Colmcille trailing 0-07 to 2-05 at half-time.
Ballinlough opened the scoring in the second half with a point from a free. From the resulting kickout, Ahmed Lawal fielded the ball and laid off to the onrushing Evan Sheridan whose solo run resulted in a point for the hard working centre forward.
Kells relied heavily on the boot of Ferguson who struck for two more points either side of a Ballinlough free. Ballinlough kept the lead at four points with a point in the 46th minute. Gaeil Colmcille kept applying pressure and two points from Conor Arkins and Ferguson halved the Ballinlough lead to two points with The Lough leading 2-08 to 0-12.
As Gaeil Colmcille drew close, Ballinlough found a way to keep them at arms length and another pointed free pushed them three clear once more. With 55 minutes played substitute Liam Barry pointed and this was followed by Ferguson’s ninth point of the night set up a grandstand finish in the opening league fixture.
Ballinlough were awarded a free in the 57th minute and indiscipline in the Kells backs saw the ball brought forward and the point left the Gaeils in search of a winning goal. As Gaeil Colmcille pressed the Ballinlough backs, a free was tapped over by Ferguson leaving just a single point between the teams.
There was still time for more drama as with time deep in to the red, Fionn Ferguson saw his free from beyond the 45 drop agonisingly short, the ball scrambled around an ended up hitting the post and fell to Andrew Butler and then Liam Barry but neither could get a shot off with the sheer numbers of Ballinlough players defending. A free out was awarded to The Lough and Referee Paul Mooney blew for full-time and the two points stayed with Ballinlough. Notable for Gaeil Colmcille was seven players making their A League debut for the club.
Gaeil Colmcille: Chris Doyle, Taidgh Dardis, Conor Arkins (0-01), Bruno Griffin, Daniel Farrelly (0-01), Danny Muldoon, Cormac Ferguson, Conal Courtney, Ahmed Lawal, Kilian Kelly, Evan Sheridan (0-01), Oisin O’Reilly, Gary McGovern (0-01), Fionn Ferguson (0-10), Zak Griffin.
Subs: Andrew Butler for Z Griffin, Liam Barry (0-01) for Kelly, Eibheann Keegan for B Griffin.
Cover Photo ©️ Hoganstand.