THIS corresponding Junior League Roinn A fixture was practically a facsimile of last year’s game where the home side raced into a lead that prompted opinions of game over by the half-way stage.
Twelve months ago Mullinavat tore the Carlow defence to shreds to such extremes, that they were practically gone out of sight long before the break. On Saturday evening Mullinavat again raced through the Ballinkillen defence with little problem, and by the 13th minute they had bagged 2-6 without reply from the Carlow men.
Ger Malone, Simon Aylward, David Murphy, Brian Kenneally, Joe Gahan and Joe Wall all registered scores at will. The Ballinkillen defenders were at their wits end to ward off the Mullinavat enthusiasm, but time and again their clearances were being returned immediately - and with venom.
To their credit Ballinkillen were brave and committed, but their touch was very poor. Their decision-making was worse; too many times the wrong option was taken when a better one was glaringly obvious.
By half-time Mullinavat were comfortably in front, leading by 2-11 to Ballinkillen’s 0-4.
The Mullinavat goals were gifted through poor marking outfield and a lack of confidence in their own abilities by some of the Ballinkillen defenders. Corner-forward David Murphy grabbed the first in the seventh minute when he was left alone inside the Ballinkillen full-back line.
He grabbed a textbook delivery from Simon Aylward and then left the brave Martin Minchin helpless in the Ballinkillen goal. The second goal was a tremendous lineball by Brian Kenneally from 40 metres out which flew straight to the Ballinkillen net.
The home side were favoured by a stiff breeze in the first half, and it seemed at the break that Ballinkillen were in dire need of any assistance Mother Nature might endow. David English, who had a terrific game around the midfield area, never faltered in converting a bucket of frees he was entrusted with.
Having shot the four points in the first half, it didn’t take English too long before he increased his bag in the second half. Along with the industrious Craig Wall, between them they had nine points on the board by the 46th minute. Nobody else on the Ballinkillen team registered a score except Wall and English.
By the 53rd minute, the take was 11 points, but they just could not break down a very resolute Mullinavat defence for the all-important goal. On the rare occasion they did manage to test young Pat Mulhearn in the Mullinavat goal, the netminder was more than capable of doing his job.
Both sides have plenty of hard work to do, but the Carlow lads would need to improve their possession game and their touch.
SCORERS: Mullinavat - Ger Malone (0-4); Simon Aylward (0-4, 0-2 frees, 0-1 65); Brian Kenneally, David Murphy (1-0 each); Joe Wall, Joe Gahan, Mossy Murphy (0-2 each). Ballinkillen - David English (0-11, frees); Craig Wall (0-3).
Mullinavat - Pat Mulhearn, Derek Aylward, Tomas Aylward, Darren Kenneally, Robbie Malone, Kevin Aylward, Liam Murphy, Simon Aylward, Joe Wall, Eoin Maher, Ger Malone, Joe Gahan, Brian Kenneally, Mossy Murphy, David Murphy. Subs: Shane Frisby, John McCabe.
Ballinkillen - Marty Minchin, John Hughes, Sean Minchin, Lauren Kinsella, John Ryan, James Kinsella, Sean Murphy, David English, Craig Wall, Derek Murphy, Darren Dalton, Peter Minchin, Michael Murphy, Marty Dalton, Vinny Meaney. Subs: Frank Dowling, Dion Wall.
Referee - Dick Dowling (Kilmacow).