After poor showings from both sides in the championship to date, both Ballylinan and Clonaslee were going to have to step up their performances if they were going to maintain their senior football status.
In the opening plays of the game, it was obvious that the Clonaslee forwards were looking to get involved from the off, and this was having a negative effect. The Clonaslee forwards were dropping too far out the field, and the long balls from the Clonaslee half back line and midfield were drifting over the heads of the full forward line, and ending in goal kicks for Ballylinan.
After four balls had ended in this nature, it was Ballylinan who were first on the score board when Brian Kenna slotted over his free from the twenty one yard line. Dan Hogan levelled the game for Clonaslee before quick points were exchanged by Gary Walsh for Ballylinan and John Rigney for Clonaslee.
From the stands it looked as if Clonaslee forwards were hesitant to shoot when they managed to work a scoring opportunity, and having created the more clear cut chances they could easily have been already well ahead. Full-forward Gary Walsh sent over his second free, before he found himself bearing down on the Clonaslee goal after a horrible mix up in the Clonaslee defence, and he duly delivered and sent his side four points ahead with a well taken goal.
Clonaslee responded with a point first, courtesy of Glen McEvoy, before a fracas broke out in the corner, which ended in a yellows being handed out. Within thirty seconds, Gary Walsh the Ballylinan full forward, was given his marching orders as he continued on after he received his yellow and referee felt a second yellow card was deserved.
With Ballylinan down to fourteen men, Clonaslee drew level thanks to a goal from Michael Murray. Ballylinan needed to settle again, and they did just that before the interval when Alan Farrell pointed.
Six minutes after the break Clonaslee again drew level when Murray pointed for the second time. Ballylinan again quickly responded and went back a point in front when midfielder Jamie Farrell opened his account for the evening. It took a further ten minutes for the next score in the game, and with thirteen minutes to go, Ballylinan went on a fatal rampage when Alan Farrell added a goal and a point to his two points, wing back Robbie Donoher got a goal for himself and Brian Kenna also got himself a point.
In a matter of minutes the game had totally gone from Clonaslee as Ballylinan had turned the screw. Into injury time Clonaslee pulled back a goal and two points but it was nothing more than a consolation for the men in white.
SCORERS - Ballylinan: Alan Farrell 1-3, Gary Walsh 1-2 (0-2 frees), Robbie Donoher 1-0, Brian Kenna 0-3, John Kealy 0-1; Clonaslee-St Manman’s: Michael Murray 1-1 (0-1 frees), Conor Dunne 1-0, John Rigney 0-3, Dan Hogan, Glen McEvoy (free), Ger Brennan 0-1 each
BALLYLINAN: Aidan Walsh; Paddy Leonard, Dermot Leonard, Alan Keogh; Robbie Donoher, Eric Kenna, Cathal Leonard; John Kealy, Jamie Farrell; Padraig McEvoy, Brendan Kealy, Pauric Walsh; Brian Kenna, Gary Walsh, Alan Farrell. Subs: Niall Walsh for A Keogh
CLONASLEE ST MANMAN’S: Mark Fallon; Eoin O’Donnovan, William Murray, Denis Conroy; Glen McEvoy, Ger Brennan, Shane Conroy; Dan Hogan, Sean Rosney; Ed Conroy, Willie Conroy, Michael Hyland, John Rigney, Mark Rooney, Michael Murray.