The Stephenites marched their way back to the county semi-final for a second year in a row following a comprehensive win over Aghamore on Sunday.
Next weekend they’ll be facing off agains the old enemy in the shape of Knockmore in what will be a mouthwatering clash between the two near neighbours.
The north Mayo men racked up 1-18 against an Aghamore side who paid the price for a number of sloppy passes in the first half that were punished by Ballina with regular occurrence - but they also kicked a number of wides which they won’t be able to do next weekend or they’ll pay a price for it.
Ballina led 1-9 to 0-5 at the short whistle with their goal coming on 22 minutes with Simon Leonard finishing to the net after a poor Aghamore attacking pass was intercepted and moved downfield quickly with Luke Doherty teeing up Leonard for the goal.
Evan Regan started the game in good form kicking two points inside the opening five minutes with Ross Egan and Conor Byrne replying for Aghamore. Both sides added on points before the first water break to go in level.
But from then on Ballina took control of the game with Mikey Murray (2 ), Keith Tighe, Leonard and Evan Regan (2 ) all raising the white flag with Aghamore only mustering points from Fergal Boland and Darren Duffy in response.
The Stephenites put the result out of any doubt inside the opening few minutes of the second half, Conor McStay pointed then Leonard slotted a mark, before Evan Regan hit two with Sean Regan getting one to put their side 1-15 to 0-6 up and plenty of time still to play.
Ballina ran the bench and Aghamore kept plugging away with Ross Egan slotting over a number of frees - but the north Mayo men had their minds on next weekends big game well before the full time whistle was blow.
Ballina are on the way back and this was another step in the right direction, but it’s going to be a whole new level again next weekend when they square off against Knockmore for a place in the final.
Ballina: E Regan (0-6, 2f 1 45’ ), S Leonard (1-2, 1f ); K Tighe (0-4, 1f ) C McStay (0-2 ), M Murray (0-2 ), P O’Hora (0-1 ), S Regan (0-1 )
Aghamore: R Egan (0-7, 6f ), F Boland (0-2, 2f ), C Byrne (0-2, 1f ), D Duffy (0-1 )
Ballina Stephenites: D Clarke; S Mullins, C Hunt, T Doherty; D O’Mahony, P O’Hora, D Tighe; J Irwin, M Murray; L Doherty, K Tighe, S Regan; C McStay, E Regan, S Leonard. Subs: K Newell for Leonard, J Doherty for O’Mahony, C Sweeney for J Irwin, F Irwin for E Regan, R Tighe for Hunt.
Aghamore: A Byrne; J Kelly, C Hunt, A Henry; C Kilkenny, D Kenny, K Cassidy; J Lyons, E Sweeney; F Boland, R Lyons, C Byrne; R Egan, N Freeman, D Duffy. Subs: M McNeive for Freeman; C Harrison for Lyons, J McNeive for C Kilkenny, S Og Tighe for C Byrne