Balto march on
Junior A Football Championship: Baltinglass 1-18 Shillelagh 1-8
The Junior 'A' football championship credentials of Baltinglass took a major boost last weekend when they marched past a gallant Shillelagh with 10 points to spare after a convincing display in Joule Park Aughrim.
A decent side all over the field, Baltinglass will give any team in this championship a serious run for their money with the likes of James Keane, Tommy Cullen, Tommy Murphy, James Tyrrell, Jason Sinnott, Jack Timmins and William Hanlon really impressing at this level.
Shillelagh's failure to build a sizable tally with the wind at their backs in the opening half came back to bite them in the end.
They brought their usual battling qualities to this clash but just couldn't make it show on the scoreboard despite the best efforts of Brendan Behan who notched some really wonderful points on the day.
Shillelagh were also well served by Daire and Enda Foley, Paddy Hennessey, Cathal Murphy, Noel Murphy and Gary Murphy while Daniel Behan's 1-1 completed a decent display from the corner-forward.
That 1-8 to 0-4 half-time tally in favour of Baltinglass would be the rock Shillelagh perished on.
Instead of building an early lead to have stashed in the bank for the second half, Shillelagh were too busy spending their funds on defending a really strong Baltinglass start in this game with points from Henry Sinnott, William Hanlon, Jack Timmins, Aaron Phelan and Henry Sinnott again opening up a 0-5 to 0-1 lead with Daniel Behan opening Shillelagh's account in the second minute with a well-struck free.
Brendan Behan's magnificent cloud tickling account opener was followed by the Baltinglass goal where Aaron Phelan fired low and hard beneath Laurie Cullen on the Shillelagh line with 13 gone to ignite this game.
Four unanswered Baltinglass points heaped the pressure on a struggling Shillelagh side before Brendan Behan closed out the first half to leave his side trailing by 1-8 to 0-4 and facing into the wind in the second half.
The key phase of the game came in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. Shillelagh needed to grab a foothold in the game if they were to have any hope but this Baltinglass side have plenty of quality in their ranks and they rattled over six points to Shillelagh's one during this period from Jason Sinnott, Jack Timmins, Robin Farrell, William Hanlon (two, one free), and Henry Sinnott with Cathal Murphy providing Shillelagh's only reply from a free as the Baltinglass defence got to grips with the threat of Brendan Behan.
Shiillelagh were given something to believe in when Daniel Behan toe-poked home to the back of William Rogers' net after 45 minutes of this game to make it 1-14 to 1-5, but even though Shillelagh produced a battling last 15 minutes, Baltinglass were always able to attack in numbers and points from Tommy Murphy, and three from Jack Timmins (one free) closed out the scoring in this entertaining game to leave Baltinglass convincing winners by 1-18 to 1-8.
Scorers - Baltinglass: Jack Timmins 0-6 (1f), Aaron Phelan 1-1, Henry Sinnott 0-4, William Hanlon 0-3 (1f), Michael Dowling 0-1, Jason Sinnott 0-1, Robin Farrell 0-1, Tommy Murphy 0-1. Shillelagh: Brendan Behan 0-5, Daniel Behan 1-1 (f), Cathal Murphy 0-1 (f), Noel Murphy 0-1.
Baltinglass: William Rogers; David Gethings, James Keane, Karl Furlong; Michael Dowling, Tommy Cullen, James Tyrrell; Tommy Murphy, Tadgh O'Toole; Jason Sinnott, Henry Sinnott, Robin Farrell; Jack Timmins, William Hanlon, Aaron Phelan. Subs: Mark Ashton for W Hanlon (44min); Fabian Dunne for J Sinnott (44min).
Shillelagh: Laurie Cullen; Keith Collins, Sean Carroll, Jack Dewhirst; Ger O'Brien, Daire Foley, Enda Foley; Paddy Hennessey, Cathal Murphy; Noel Murphy, Gary Murphy, Robbie Elliot; Francis Simpson, Brendan Behan, Daniel Behan. Subs: 17 for F Simpson (H/T), JP Lyons for G Murphy (55min), Eoin Byrne for D Foley (BS, 58min, reversed with Foley wearing number 21).
Referee: Kieron Kenny (Tinahely).