A no­tice for all other clubs, your county cham­pi­ons will not give away their ti­tle eas­ily. Balt­in­glass took a half to me­thod­i­cally break down Coolkenno, pep­per­ing them with shots to find their range and their op­po­nent’s weak spots. When the teams emerged after half-time for round two, it was lights out for Coolkenno within eight min­utes.

First, Henry Syn­nott’s goal buck­led their legs, then Adam McHugh knocked them to the can­vas. When Conor Walker had the temer­ity to claw back a score, Ian Sheerin played a de­fence split­ting ball and Syn­nott knocked them down again, this time for good. 38 min­utes gone and it was all over bar the for­mal­i­ties, 3-08 to four points.

Balt­in­glass were dom­i­nant around the mid­dle sec­tor of the field and some of their tack­ling was ex­cep­tional, Stephen Heaslip to the fore. He may not end up on the scor­ing charts like his brother Christopher but he never gave the Coolkenno play­ers a mo­ment on the ball.

If the tack­ling was good, the kick outs were bet­ter. Mark Jack­son had a 100 per cent suc­cess rate from his kick outs but the pace of his kick outs were Clux­ton-es­que. The mo­ment a ball went ei­ther over the bar or wide he was get­ting ready for the kick out and Coolkenno didn’t have a chance to or­gan­ise any form of re­sis­tance. Jack­son could go short to his full­back line or, if nec­es­sary, he could pick a player out 50 yards away. It’s an­other weapon in their ar­se­nal.

Coolkenno kept with Balt­in­glass for the open­ing quar­ter but grad­u­ally the cham­pi­ons wore them down and took their chances while Coolkenno went wide with the lim­ited chances they had.

They had a two-man full for­ward line of Conor Walker and Ea­mon Ros­siter who will cause havoc for any team out there but they were of­ten iso­lated, out­num­bered by the Balt­in­glass full-back line while the Coolkenno half-for­ward line were forced back around mid­field to re­tain pos­ses­sion and un­able to of­fer any sup­port.

Balt­in­glass just about shaded the open­ing 10 min­utes, lead­ing three points to two. Both teams had goal chances, Cathal Ros­siter made a de­spair­ing block to stop John McGrath while Paul Mur­phy was just fin­ger­tips away from be­ing one on one with Jack­son fol­low­ing a lovely Walker pass.

Balt­in­glass didn’t shoot the lights out in the first half, both teams went eight min­utes with­out a score, but they reeled off four points in a row in the sec­ond quar­ter to take con­trol of the game and lead by five points. Coolkenno had their chances, kick­ing two wides, though Adam McHugh al­most scored a goal too, John Cor­co­ran

with a good save.

Ea­mon Ros­siter fin­ished the half with a fine in­di­vid­ual ef­fort to leave four be­tween the teams at half time, 7-3.

Within eight min­utes the game, as a con­test, was over. Ros­siter kicked a wide and Jack­son got the game un­der­way again with a quick kick out down the right wing. Pat Burke was in sup­port from half back and fol­low­ing some neat in­ter­play he found him­self bear­ing in on goal along the end line. He passed across the goal for Syn­nott to palm the ball into the net.

The sec­ond goal came al­most in­stantly. A poor Coolkenno ball went straight to Balt­in­glass’ sweeper Billy Cullen and they had an­other goal on their mind. John McGrath could have taken a rel­a­tively easy point op­por­tu­nity, in­stead the ball went to McHugh via Ja­son Kennedy for the three-pointer. Sean O’Brien and Conor Walker traded points be­fore Ian Sheerin, back from his early year trav­els, played a de­light­ful ball to split open the Coolkenno de­fence and Syn­nott had his sec­ond goal of the af­ter­noon.

Wham, bam, thank you Ma’am, there was no way back for Coolkenno.

Brian Ros­siter moved up to the full-for­ward line from his sweeper role with 10 min­utes to go and scored a con­so­la­tion 1-01 be­fore he and his brother Ea­mon were sent off late in the game as the teams en­gaged in some hand­bag stuff.

Next up is the heavy­weight bout be­tween Balt­in­glass and Rath­new while Coolkenno have lit­tle more than pride and some form to play for against St. Pat’s as their cham­pi­onship jour­ney is over and they will en­ter the Keat­ing Tro­phy with the wor­ry­ing news emerg­ing that the Jack­man broth­ers may no longer avail­able for se­lec­tion while Cathal Ros­siter is said to have picked up a se­ri­ous in­jury late on in this game.

Scor­ers – Balt­in­glass: Henry Syn­nott 2-00; Adam McHugh (1f) 1-01; Christopher Heaslip 0-04; Sean O’Brien, John McGrath 0-02 each; Mark Jack­son (1 45), Mikey English 0-01 each.

Coolkenno: Conor Walker (4f) 0-05; Brian Ros­siter 1-01; Conor Doyle, Ea­mon Ros­siter 0-01 each.

Balt­in­glass: Mark Jack­son; Tommy Mur­phy, John Mur­ray, Billy Cullen; Pat Burke, Kevin Mur­phy, Ian Sheerin; Mikey English, Ja­son Kennedy; Christopher Heaslip, Henry Syn­nott, Stephen Heaslip; Adam McHugh, Sean O’Brien, John McGrath. Subs: Alan Nolan for John Mur­ray, Conor Keogh for Henry Syn­nott, Daniel Kelly for John McGrath (all 40 mins); John Whe­lan for Sean O’Brien, Aaron Bar­rett for Thomas Mur­phy (both 47 mins); De­clan Jones for Billy Cullen (51 mins, inj.).

Coolkenno: John Cor­co­ran; Paul Keogh, James Gre­gan, Cathal Ros­siter; Jim Cushe, Philip Tim­mons, Robert Keogh; Conor Doyle, Paddy Dal­ton; John Ka­vanagh, Eoghan Dolan, Paul Mur­phy; Brian Ros­siter, Ea­mon Ros­siter, Conor Walker. Sub: Daniel O’Neill for John Ka­vanagh (36 mins).

Ref­eree: Damien Byrne (Kil­te­gan)

Coolkenno’s Robert Keogh and Balt­in­glass’s Stephen Heaslip com­pete for the ball dur­ing the SFC in Joule Park, Aughrim. Pic­ture: Garry O’Neill

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