The sun was shining high over South Dublin when Crookedwood came to play hurling on the open fields of Marley Park. The men from Westmeath in their Green, White and Yellow would compete against the home team in the Orange and Black. Despite an early foul conceded by Ballinteer Saint Johns, Crookedwood’s sharpshooter Barry O’Meara saw his free tail to the right and wide. Ballinteer soon got themselves motoring and, following a lovely Fionán Clabby point from the sideline out on the right, the home side were two points up through a Sean Lane effort from the same corner; Good defensive play from Réamonn Mac Réamoin and assist play by Clabby supplied Lane with ball and ample time to pull the trigger. Indeed Lane could have doubled his money mere seconds later when he again found possession but this effort veered wide of the sticks. Ballinteer’s start was impressive but a further wide from Shane O’ Connor made one wonder would the home side regret failing to capitalise on this early spell of pressure. Crookedwood began to mount a response of their own but, despite Barry O’Meara’s run, Johns’ defender Frank O’ Donoghue had blocked off the avenue of attack and when O’ Meara laid off to his team mate Simon McCarthy the resultant snap shot went wide of the Ballinteer posts.
Ballinteer went 3 points up following an Oisin Power free and, despite over elaborating when in possession with a lot of short range handpassing, the home side doubled their lead with a magnificent goal by Gavin Byrne; picking the ball up out on the left where the Crookedwood subs stood, Byrne’s solo run seemed to have floundered when the sliotar hit the sod near the Crookedwood net, however a fine half volley found the sweet spot and Ballinteer were now 1-3 to 0-0 to the good. Crookedwood’s defense was hard pressed during this early period but a monster catch by Damien Grifferty snuffed out a further Johns goal chance. Sean Lane again latched onto possession near the opposition posts but this time turned provider with a clever long handpass to Power who took a wonderful point on the run. Despite another Johns wide through Lane, Crookedwood were in serious need of a score and they delivered in style through Richie Crowley’s fine strike from an acute angle. A foul by Byrne in midfield led to a free dropped in on the Johns box. Crookedwood’s full forward Adam Michell did enough in the air to distract Ballinteer full back Frank O’Donoghue and as the ball bypassed the two Crowley latched onto possession, turned and pulled the trigger.
Johns response was immediate. Collins launched a ball upfield to Shane O’Connor who passed off to Dara Taaffe. Taaffe supplied Fionán Clabby who tee’d up and took a shot at goal. A marvellous save by Crookedwood’s goalkeeper Shane McGovern set in motion a Crookedwood counter attack. Within seconds the ball was in the Ballinteer net through a John Orme effort. The men from Westmeath were in full flow now and a pointed free from Barry O’ Meara dragged the sides level at 1-4 to 2-1. The Marley Park side responded in kind to this setback with another Power pointed free and were again let off the hook when a Crookedwood free from O’Meara dropped short into the hands of Full Back O’ Donoghue. From a position that should have levelled matters on the scoreline Crookedwood found themselves 2 points in arrears when O’ Donoghue's long ball found Power who pointed with ease. Johns were ending the half in the ascendancy and, despite his protestations to the contrary, Ballinteer’s Ciaran Walsh hit a wide ball from a tight angle out on the left. Ballinteer did manage a further point before the half ended and the sides went in at the break on a scoreline of 1-7 vs 2-1
The Second half began in surreal fashion when a number of Johns substitutes were forced to come back off due to a mix up. However when the ash began to clash again one of Johns newly instated substitutes, Cian Dolan, evaded his man and struck a point over the bar. Much of the credit for this score lay at the hands of Clabby and Ciaran Walsh who had put in a decent shift during the course of this encounter. Crookedwood responded in kind with a point of their own through midfielder Noel Yourell after excellent work by his team’s backs. A chop down on a hurl cost Crookedwood when Power converted the resulting free and when Fionán Clabby bundled in a fairly scrappy second goal for Ballinteer Crookedwood found themselves 7 points down for the second time in the match. Johns indiscipline in defence awarded Crookedwood’s marksman Barry O’ Meara the chance to claim two further points for the visitors but several wides during this period hurt the Westmeath sides chances of clawing back a sizable deficit on the second occasion. Johns found further points from substitute Jack O'Donovan and Power and when Full Forward Ciaran Walsh caught a high ball only to have his hurl held the only result was a penalty.
The reliable Power stepped up and shook the back of the net with his strike and with a ten point gap between the teams the result was beyond doubt. Crookedwood’s corner forward Orme caught a nice ball when play resumed and found Crowley with an assured handpass; Crowley might have gone for goal but opted for the certainty of splitting the posts. Further points from play by Power and Jack O'Donovan and a marvellous effort on the far sideline by Sean Lane, who found his feet after landing following a catch, rounded up Johns scoring for the day. Crookedwood had a late surge of possession and pressure that resulted in a deserved penalty that was snuffed out on the line by Ballinteer defender Ruaidhri Donnelly. Crookedwood finished off the tie with a pointed free from O’ Meara .
Full Time : Ballinteer Saint Johns 3-14 Crookedwood 2-6