Ballinameela 1-9 The Nire 0-10
The record books will show that Ballinameela won this Intermediate western football final replay by two points but in truth, this is a game that The Nire lost more than the victors won.
Former senior player Alan Lawlor opened the scoring for The Nire when he pointed a free with just two minutes played.
Within 60 seconds Ballinameela were back on level terms thanks to a John Stack point and five minutes later the same player pointed again for Ballinameela, but this was as good as it was going to get for the men in blue for nearly half an hour.
Joe Whelan kicked three points on the trot for The Nire in a seven minute spell to give his side a double score lead.
Alan Lawlor pointed twice in four minutes before the break, to further stretch The Nire’s lead, sending them to the dressing rooms in a comfortable position.
There was just 30 seconds of the second half played when Seamus Lawlor kicked a point for The Nire and just 90 seconds later Alan Lawlor from another free gave The Nire what was surely an unassailable six point lead.
If Ballinameela were to stay in touch they needed scores, and needed them fast. Eoghan Walsh, who was clearly carrying a leg injury pointed in the third minute.
Just four minutes later the same player found himself at the end of an Aidan Ahearne delivery and he finished the movement by planting the ball past Michael Doocey in the Nire goal leaving just two points between the sides.
Five minutes previously, the game looked as good as over but now thanks to two crucial goals, it was game on.
John Stack then pointed a free for Ballinameela and in the 11th minute, in a move involving Brian Phelan, Eoghan Walsh and David Phelan, inter county player Brian Phelan put the ball between the posts to level the scoring.
Alan Lawlor and John Stack swapped pointed from frees inside a two minute spell as the two thirds mark to keep the sides all square.
David Phelan pointed for Ballinameela with six minutes to go, and four minutes later, Alan Lawlor, not for the first time in a Nire shirt, kicked a crucial point to leave the scores at 0-10 to 1-7.
With the 60 minutes fast ticking down, and with the game looking to be heading to extra time, John Stack sent a monstrous point between the posts from all of 50y metres. It was a stunning score, fit for any grade of the game.
In injury time, the same player hit the all-important crucial point from a free to give his side a two point win and more importantly a place in Saturday’s county final against Ballyduff Lower at Fraher Field.
Ballinameela: J McGrath; S Flavin, M Walsh, J McGrath; J Harrington, Eamonn Walsh, D Phelan; A Ahearne, B Phelan; J Fletcher, C Buckley, C Radley; D Walsh, Eoghan Walsh, J Stack. Subs: T Power for Flavin and T McCarthy for Buckley.
Scorers: J Stack (0-6; 0-3f), Eoghan Walsh (1-1), B Phelan and D Phelan (0-1 each).
The Nire: M Doocey; Shane Lawlor, T Walsh, A McGrath; I Coffey, J O’Gorman, L Walsh; A O’Gorman, S McGrath; J Whelan, G Walsh, Seamus Lawlor, JP Fitzgerald, M Byrne, A Lawlor. Subs: P Walsh for Fitzgerald and K Guiry for Whelan.
Scorers: A Lawlor (0-6f), J Whelan (0-3) and Seamus Lawlor (0-1).
Referee: J M Kelly (Shamrocks)