Gaelic Football: Ballinteer hold off Cuala

by Aaron Dunne
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Ballinteer St John’s 0-17 – 0-12

THE placed-ball accuracy of Donnacha Carey inspired Ballinteer St John’s to the Dublin U21 ‘B’ title last weekend.

Playing into a strong wind in the first half, Ballinteer exploded out of the starting blocks but they failed to convert two early goal chances. Ultimately, it was Cuala who scored first with a point from free. 

From then, John’s slowly built up a three-point lead by the water break. Carey was the key player converting 4 frees into the difficult wind.  

The second quarter was equally tight but slowly Cuala took advantage of the wind and with three late points they brought the score back to level at 0-8 each at half-time.

 Early in the second half, after a decisive attacking move through the heart of the Cuala defense, Luke Breathnach was fouled for a penalty for John’s. However, O’ Dowd , Cuala’s young goalkeeper  made a fine save , but importantly for John’s  they managed to score a point from the  resultant scramble .

Despite playing into the strong wind, Cuala grew in the third quarter and had a couple of really good goal scoring chances. But they couldn’t get past the excellent Aaron O’Halloran in the John’s goal. The only time he was beaten, the post came to his rescue.

 Decisively, before the second water break, at the end of a tough quarter for John’s they manage to score three late points. They were made up of two more Carey frees and a rare score from full-back Liam Smith, to go into the last quarter thrre points up. The match remained tight in the final quarter, but Liam Fenton put John’s four points ahead near the end, with another super point from him, his fourth. 

However, rather than being comfortable, John’s came under more pressure from a dogged Cuala and in the last couple of minutes O’Halloran again came to the rescue. John’s then had the final say with another Carey free, his eighth (five from frees) to secure the crown for the Ballinteer men. So John’s eventually won an entertaining final, one that could have had at least two or three goals for each team.

Photos: Paul Lundy

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