Ballylinan 2-15 Courtwood 1-10
ACFL Division 1B Final
Cathail Dunne fired a stunning total of 1-8 as Ballylinan captured the ACFL Division 1B title for the second time in the last three years.
Back in 2017, they defeated Portarlington in Stradbally in the decider and they will be hoping that this win spurs on the run that they went on in 2017 which took them all the way to the final.
Both of the teams were without a number of their regular players through injury, travels and county commitments.
Ballylinan did not have Kevin Byrne, Seamus Lacey, Gary Walsh or Robbie Donoher while Courtwood were without Matthew Byron, Niall Dunne, Sean O’Flynn, Alan Kinsella, Matt Kelly and Seth Burns.
However, those absences didn’t diminish the quality of the game as both sides converted some wonderful scores.
The opening stages were even enough with just a point separating the sides after ten minutes.
Cathail Dunne fired over early points while Alan Farrell, who would receive a black card in the first half, also curled over another.
Luke Doyle and Danny Luttrell led the Courtwood resistance but they couldn’t get level with their opponents.
The excellent Dunne ended the first half with seven points and was desperately unlucky not to see one of those go under the bar as it cannoned off the crossbar and went over.
Courtwood too had two goal chances with Danny Luttrell and Luke Doyle both going close but failing to trouble Tom Wright in the Ballylinan goals.
Dunne and Larry Kealy took Ballylinan’s tally to ten points by the end of the half with Luttrell and Colm Wilson replying for Courtwood to leave the score at 0-10 to 0-6 at half time.
Courtwood cut the deficit on the resumption of play through Luke Doyle but Ballylinan wiped that out through Andy McEvoy and Jamie Farrell.
The lead was seven after 40 minutes as Jamie Farrell and Cathail Dunne kicked Ballylinan further ahead and although Luke Doyle responded, disaster would strike for Courtwood moments later.
Andy McEvoy split the Courtwood defence with a footpass and corner back Cathal Leonard got on the end of it where he drilled the ball to the net.
And the game was over with a quarter to play when Ballylinan struck for a second goal. Cathail Dunne got somewhat lucky in the build up as he appeared to foul Barry Donnelly but there was nothing lucky about his finish.
He sidestepped the retreating Donnolly and then dummy-soloed around keeper Michael O’Connell before tapping the ball home.
The game was over as a contest but in fairness to Courtwood they kept plugging away and they were rewarded at the end with a David Duffy goal after a neat pass from sub Michael Doyle.
But that would be it as Ballylinan ran out eight point winners and will now turn their attentions to Round 1 of the championship where they face three-in-a-row chasing Portlaoise.
Courtwood will make their senior debut against Arles-Kilcruise on July 31.
SCORERS – COURTWOOD: Luke Doyle 0-5 (four frees), Danny Luttrell 0-3 (one free, one 45), David Duffy 1-0, Colm Wilson and Rory Doyle 0-1 each BALLYLINAN: Cathail Dunne 1-8 (four frees), Cathal Leonard 1-0, Alan Farrell and Jamie Farrell 0-2 each, Larry Kealy, Andy McEvoy and Ciaran Farrell 0-1 each
BALLYLINAN: Tom Wright; Eric Kenna, Dermot Leonard, Cathal Leonard; Alan Farrell, Richie Ryan, Oisin Leonard; Jamie Farrell, Padraig McEvoy; Larry Kealy, Ciaran Farrell, Cathal Fennessy; Andy McEvoy, Cathail Dunne, James Redmond. Subs: Conor Behan for A Farrell (20, black card), John Kealy for Behan (37, black card), Podge Walsh for D Leonard (40, black card), Liam Kealy for Larry Kealy (50), Jason Murphy for O Leonard (55, inj)
COURTWOOD: Michael O’Connell; Barry Donnolly, Mark O’Halloran, Andrew Flynn; Conor Hogan, Rob Flynn, Colm Wilson; Danny Luttrell, Paddy Wilson; Cian Doyle, Luke Doran, Rory Doyle; Luke Doyle, Niall Donoher, Matt Kelly. Subs: Michael Doyle for Doran (45, black card), Jake Doyle for P Wilson (47), Liam Duffy for R Doyle (50), Sean McLoughlin for Donoher (53), Andrew Mulhare for L Doyle (59)
Referee: Brendan Hickey (Graiguecullen)