Balto through to the semi-finals
Baltinglass produced a fine team display with scores coming from every line on the pitch to overcome Avondale in their home patch Thursday night.
Under the lights in Rathdrum, it was Avondale who opened the scoring through centre-forward Jack Manley who split the posts from long range in the opening phase of play.
Baltinglass’s response was quick and decisive as Tony Kealy fired over a placed ball before wing-back Wes O’Toole drove an effort from the 21-yard line into the corner of the net.
As Baltinglass drove forward to add to their lead, Manley was awarded a free on the counter which he dispatched to narrow the gap.
It was the away side who were looking more dangerous as the half went on as they added two more quick-fire scores, the first coming from corner-back Kevin Wall who started and finished a fine, flowing move.
It was then the turn of centre-forward Jack Hanlon to raise a white flag for his side. As the game looked to be slipping out of the home side’s reach a long ball into the forward line changed that as Christopher Sillery gathered it before rattling the back of the net against the run of play.
The final quarter of the half was when the visitors took complete control of this tie, with five unanswered points in a row.
As his side were controlling the middle, it was Baltinglass midfielder John Timmons who started this run of scores before Kealy added his second this time from play. Timmons’s midfield partner Alan Nolan added a third successive score.
With five minutes to go in the half the home side went down to 14 men as Cian Ward was given a black card for a deliberate trip.
With the man advantage it was opposition wing-forward Ross Nolan who was next to trouble the scoreboard this time from play. The last three scores of the half were all from place balls as Kealy slotted two in between another effort from Manley who was keeping his side within touching distance. This left six points between the sides at the break.
It was the west Wicklow side that opened the scoring in the second half as that man Kealy extended his side’s lead.
The Dales response came from there full-forward Shane Farrar before sharpshooter Kealy slotted another dead ball.
With the lead being extended, it was the Dales who made a game of it again with their second major, this time through Shane Farrar who made sure of the goal after his first effort came back of the crossbar.
Manley narrowed the gap further with an exquisite free from the sideline.
After a brief period of dominance from the home side it was Baltinglass that took control again as Hanlon burst through to find the net for his side with Timmons adding a free from out wide minutes later.
The home side were finding it difficult to score from play but another Manley free along with the goals were keeping the home side in touch, but barely.
With ten minutes to go in this tie, Baltinglass wing-back O’Toole drove forward twice in a number of minutes to finish his side’s scoring, this was in between a minor from home side substitute Dylan Graham.
The final score of the game was a consolation goal from the home side as Donal McGraynor Jr stuck away a penalty with the last kick.
Baltinglass: Jamie Farnon; Kevin Wall (0-1), Peter Osborne, Martin Donegan; Conor O’Neill, John Hennessy, Wes O’Toole(1-2); Alan Nolan (0-1), John Timmons (0-2, 1f); Ross Nolan (0-1), Jack Hanlon (1-1), Brian Nolan; Adam Kavanagh, Tony Kealy (0-6, 4fs), Fabian Dunne. Subs: Conor Flood for F Dunne, Steven Quinn for B Nolan, Paudie Swinbourne for J Manley, Edward Gorman for R Nolan, Jamie McTiernan for T Kealy.
Avondale: Ray Nolan; Kieran Penn, Kevin Sheehan, Jack Bailey Johnson; Harrison Penn, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Ryan Kenny; Conor Sheehan, Shane Byrne; Cian Ward, Jack Manley (0-5, 4f), Anthony Byrne; Christopher Sillery (1-0), Shane Farrar (1-1), Donal McGraynor. Subs: Donal McGraynor Jr (1-0, pen) for C Sillery, Dylan Graham (0-1) for D McGraynor, Dan Owens for A Byrne.
Referee: Conor Doyle (Coolkenno)