BALLINACOR are through to the final of the Intermediate football championship and just one match away from Senior ranks after a clear cut win over Coolkenno at Baltinglass on Saturday.
This was a great game of fast open football for almost three-quarters of the way; the Glenmalure men had a slight edge in speed and stayed the hour better and that in the end was enough to see them through.
The game started at a cracking pace. Conor Parson gave Ballinacor the lead with a point in the third minute but a minute later Mark Farrell banged home the first goal of the match and Coolkenno were in front.
In fact we had six scores in the first 10 minutes. Conor Walker stretched the Coolkenno lead but a point by David Carter and a great goal finished by Danny Byrne put the Glen men in front.
Don Jackman sent over a mighty point from a 50m free and the sides were level again. Conor Walker and midfielder Paddy Byrne exchanged points. Dave Carter edged Ballinacor ahead but Jim Cushe levelled the game for the third and last time in the 24th minute. Late points by Carter and Parson left Glenmalure leading by 1-6 to 1-4 at half time.
Slowly but surely Ballinacor pulled away in the second half; Paddy Byrne and Chris Murphy were on top at midfield and Karl O'Dwyer was forced to bring Don Jackman out to gain parity.
It was robbing Peter to pay Paul because the forwards needed Jackman's strength and leadership up front.
They were missing their top scorer Eamon Rossiter who was on honeymoon and he was a big loss. A second goal for Ballnacor, boxed home by substitute Denis Heffernan sealed a good victory.
This was a team victory; Ballinacor are a well drilled team with few weaknesses and every player looking for another green jersey as soon as he gets possession.
Coolkenno are finding out for themselves just how hard it is to regain Senior status once you lose it. They still have the league route which is often the best way.
With the second semi-final ending in a draw Ballinacor may have to wait a little longer before finding out who their final opponents will be.
With minutes to go a fracas broke out around midfield and referee Declan Peppard sent off four players, three from Coolkenno, before restoring order.
Scorers: Ballinacor: Danny Byrne and Denis Heffernan 1-0; Denis Carter 0-4; Ger Byrne 0-3; Paddy Byrne 0-3; Conor Parson 0-2: Phillip Byrne 0-1.
Coolkenno: Mark Farrell 1-0; Conor Walker 03; Don Jackman 0-2; Jim CushE and Colm Murphy 0-1 each.