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Baltinglass cruise into Wicklow Senior football championship quarter-finals after five-star showing against Donard-The Glen

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Jack Kirwan of Baltinglass goes past Colin Osbourne of Donard-The Glen.

Jack Kirwan of Baltinglass goes past Colin Osbourne of Donard-The Glen.

Baltinglass goalkeeper Mark Jackson under pressure from John Handbidge of Donard-The Glen.

Baltinglass goalkeeper Mark Jackson under pressure from John Handbidge of Donard-The Glen.

Shane Daly of Donard-The Glen is tracked by Karl Furlong of Baltinglass.

Shane Daly of Donard-The Glen is tracked by Karl Furlong of Baltinglass.

John McGrath of Baltinglass challenges Conor Manifold of Donard-The Glen.

John McGrath of Baltinglass challenges Conor Manifold of Donard-The Glen.

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Jack Kirwan of Baltinglass goes past Colin Osbourne of Donard-The Glen.

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Baltinglass 5-16 Donard-The Glen 0-6

Baltinglass cruised into the quarter-finals of the Wicklow SFC after an impressive, five-star showing against Donard-The Glen at a sun-drenched Aughrim on Sunday afternoon.

It was always going to a be a huge task for the Donard men up against some of the counties’ finest. Balto raced into an early lead thanks to a couple of points from John McGrath and Adam McHugh.

Just after the tenth minute, Kevin O’Brien’s side found their first goal of the contest. Jack Kirwan’s inch-perfect ball fell straight into the hands of the ever-lively Johnny Keogh. Keogh finished calmly and the green flag was raised for the first time.

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The willingness to constantly run off the shoulder was a huge difference between the sides and Balto looked like they had another couple of gears to go through if it was needed. McGrath and Jason Kennedy added further scores before Donard finally found their first score of the game in 20th minute.

Full-forward Joe Mills was undoubtedly Donard’s main threat, and it was his effort from distance which got Donard’s first score.

Balto continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over with further points from John McGrath, Johnny Keogh and Jack Kirwan. Joe Mills found his side’s final score of the half from a free but it was Balto who had the final say of the first period with a great score by Adam McHugh.

Baltinglass led 1-10 to 0-2 at the interval.

It was Baltinglass who started the second half the brighter of the sides, with talisman John McGrath and Tommy Keogh finding early scores. Just five minutes into the half, a menacing run from Johnny Keogh saw him carve straight through the Donard backline. Keogh then squared the ball to the on rushing Sean Doody who fisted the ball into the back of the net.

Conor Manifold and Joe Mills did find a couple of points for Donard-The Glen, but after Karl Furlong’s point, Balto hit the back of the net for the third time.

Jack Kirwan’s ball into Tommie Keogh saw the Balto full-forward turn his marker and bury the ball into the back of the net, leaving Mickey Byrne with no chance.

Three goals quickly became four after a terrific effort from Jack Kirwan saw the ball fly into the top corner. McGrath and Kirwan added more points as the final whistle edged closer.

Shane Daly added a late consolation point for Michael Daly’s side, but Adam McHugh had the final say with a composed finish past Byrne, putting the icing on the cake for Balto. It was a fantastic showing from Baltinglass who will be confident of finding a 24th Wicklow SFC later this year.

Next up for Donard- The Glen is a preliminary round clash against Avondale.

Baltinglass: Mark Jackson; Arun Daly Danne, John Murray, Billy Cullen; Karl Furlong (0-1), Chris Grimes, Kevin Murphy; Sean Doody (1-0), Jack Kirwan (1-2); Paddy Kirwan, Johnny Keogh (1-1, Jason Kennedy (0-1); John McGrath (0-8,1f), Tommy Keogh (1-1), Adam McHugh (1-2). Subs: Jason Kenny for Paddy Kirwan (43), Pat Burke for Kevin Murphy (46), Tadhg O’Toole for Jason Kennedy (50), Stephen Heaslip for Karl Furlong (55), Dan Kelly for Billy Cullen (55).

Donard-The Glen: Mickey Byrne, Eoin Kelly, Clifford Grace, Jack Grace; Alan Tutty, Colin Osborne, Liam Monaghan; John Hanbidge, Oisin O’Friel; Liam Metcalfe, Conor Manifold (0-1), Conor Healy; Kevin Kealy, Joe Mills (0-3,2f), Shane Daly (0-2). Subs: Ronan Kelly for Liam Metcalfe (45), Tadhg McCarthy Griffin for Conor Healy (50), Kevin Osborne for Conor Healy (55).


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