Ballinakill produced an impressive opening round performance to ease past Abbeyleix in their SHC Round 1 clash at O'Moore Park this evening
The opening half was a lively affair with plenty of scores, and it was Ballinakill who were the more impressive of the two sides.
Eamon Jackman opened the scoring with a point from the right wing, and Abbeyleix briefly took the lead with points from Dayne Peacock and an Enda Rowland free.
Ballinakill came roaring back, and a Jackman free leveled the scores before Adam Kenna and Cha Dwyer edged them ahead. Eoghan Fennelly, as he would do for much of the half, kept Abbeyleix in touch with a free, but Ballinakill were getting on top now.
They were by far the more physical of the two sides, and their forwards looked far more in tune with the game than Abbeyleix did. Jackman and Rory Dunne traded points before Ballinakill hit four in a row, as Jackman (2), Seamus Fitzpatrick and Brian O'Mara all hit the target to push them five ahead.
Eoghan Fennelly's prowess from placed balls came back to the fore after that, as he nailed a sideline cut from the right wing and he then pointed a 65.
Seamus Fitzpatrick added his second score before Fennelly landed another free, and in the run up to half time Ballinakill again shaded proceedings to lead 0-13 to 0-9 at the interval.
The second half was a bit of a slow burner, with no score in the opening eight minutes. The game finally sprung to life when Fennelly pointed a free for Abbeyleix, and Cha Dwyer responded for Ballinakill within seconds.
Enda Rowland then bombed over a long range free only to see Cha hit another soon after for Ballinakill, and then Eddie Dwyer landed a superb point from way out on the left wing, as Ballinakill moved five clear.
Five quickly turned to eight thanks to a hat-trick of Eamon Jackman frees, with Abbeyleix repeatedly let down by poor shooting at the other end. Eoghan Fennelly finally arrested that slide with his eighth point of the game, from a free, and he added another a minute later.
Ballinakill quickly retook the initiative, as another booming point from Eddie Dwyer sent them seven ahead with just four minutes left to play.
It never really got any better than that for Abbeyleix, as the goals they needed were never threatened against a resolute Ballinakill defence who held firm to secure the win.
Scorers: Eamon Jackman 0-9 (0-7 frees), Cha Dwyer 0-4, Eddie Dwyer, Seamus Fitzpatrick 0-3 each, Adam Kenna, Brian O'Mara 0-1 each.
Team: Paul Simms; MJ Dunphy, Pauric Lalor, David Phelan; Sean Downey, John Walsh, Brian O'Mara; Seamus Dwyer, Adam Kenna; Dan Bergin, Eamon Jackman, Cha Dwyer; Shane McEvoy, Eddie Dwyer, Seamus Fitzpatrick. Subs: TJ Lalor for McEvoy (50 mins), Damien Carter for Kenna (59 mins), Tony O'Shaughnessy for Bergin (62 mins)
Scorers: Eoghan Fennelly 0-9 (0-8 frees, 0-1 65), Enda Rowland 0-2 (frees), Eoin Reilly (free), Dayne Peacock, Rory Dunne 0-1 each.
Team: Enda Rowland; Conor Bergin, Oisin Carroll, Alan Lynch; Jake Cranny, Declan Phelan, Aaron Carroll; Joe Bergin, Ciaran Carroll; Liam Delaney, Eoghan Fennelly, Steven Reilly; Dayne Peacock, Rory Dunne, Eoin Reilly. Subs: Daniel Coffey for Delaney (40 mins), Barry Walsh for Lynch (54 mins, inj)
Referee: Alan Doheny (Castletown)