Ballinasloe footballers made history on Sunday by qualifying for the Junior All-Ireland final at Croke Park on February 9. They defeated Port Mor (Armagh ) on a score-line of 2-7 to 0-10 at a rain-swept Breffni Park in Cavan.
Sean Riddle's men won their semi-final joust by producing a stunning opening 20 minutes of football that saw them take a 2-5 to 0-2 lead.
Midfielder Liam Lynch was in superb form, laying the platform for the team’s dominance.
He had good support from his two corner forwards, Dara McCormack and PaulWhelehan, who had the beating of their men with ease.
Ballinasloe’s two goals came from Padraic Cunningham, from a penalty, and Michael Colohan.
Despite that storming first 20 minutes, Ballinasloe failed to score before the break as Port Mor scored another two points for a half-time score of 2-5 to 0-4.
And from the restart to the final whistle it was a backs-to-the-wall display by the St Grellan's men as they failed to score for the final 26 minutes of the game.
Port Mor, who had corner-forward Christopher Lennon dismissed after a second yellow card in the first half, staged a storming second-half rally that almost caught the Galway team.
Ballinasloe came under relentless pressure in the last quarter, but they defended stoutly with fine displays from team captain Keith Kelly, James Shaughnessy, and Nathan King in goal, to hold out for a date in the final against either Castleknock (Dublin ) or Kenmare (Kerry ) who drew the other semi-final after extra time (1-12 to 0-15 ).
Ballinasloe: N King, E Fenton, D Nevin, J Shaughnessy, N Hynes, K Kelly, (0-2, 2fs ) S Kenny, L Lynch (0-2 ), L Tierney, D Burke, P Cunningham (1-1, 1-0 pen, 0-1f ), G Canavan, D McCormack (0-1 ), M Colohan (1-0 ), P Whelehan (0-1 ). Subs: S Kelly for E Fenton (h-t ), J Twohig for M Colohan (48 ), R O'Healy for S Kenny (50 ).