Baltinglass put on a good team effort with points from every line on the field to defeat Avondale in their home game on Thursday night.
Under the lights at Rathdrum, it was Avondale who scored the opening goal through center forward Jack Manley, who severed the posts from afar in the opening stages of the game.
Baltinglass’ response was quick and decisive as Tony Kealy shot over a placed ball before full-back Wes O’Toole fired a shot from the 21-yard line into the corner of the net.
As Baltinglass drove forward to extend their lead, Manley received a free-on counter which he sent to close the gap.
It was the away side that looked more dangerous as half-time progressed as they scored two more quick goals, the first of which came from corner defender Kevin Wall, who started and finished a fine, flowing move.
Then it was up to center forward Jack Hanlon to fly a white flag for his side. As the game seemed to be slipping out of reach for the home team, a long ball down the forward line changed that as Christopher Sillery collected it before rattling the back of the net against the flow of play.
In the last quarter of the half, the guests completely took over this duel with five unanswered points in a row.
With his side controlling the middle, it was Baltinglass midfielder John Timmons who started that streak of points before Kealy this time added his second from the game. Timmons’ midfield partner Alan Nolan added a goal for the third straight season.
With five minutes remaining, the home side was down to 14 men when Cian Ward received a black card for an intentional trip.
With the man advantage, it was opposing winger Ross Nolan who, this time from open play, caused trouble for the scoreboard. The last three goals of the half were all scored by place balls as Kealy put two in between another try from Manley that kept his side within reach. This left the teams with six points at the break.
It was the West Wicklow side who opened the scoring in the second half as that man put Kealy ahead of his side.
The Dales’ response came from full forward Shane Farrar before sniper Kealy landed another dead ball.
With the lead extended, it was the Dales who made another game of it with their second major, this time through Shane Farrar, who secured the goal after his first shot bounced off the bar.
Manley closed the gap further with an exquisite free-kick from the touchline.
After a brief spell of home side dominance, Baltinglass regained control when Hanlon broke through to find the net for his side and minutes later Timmons added an outside free-kick.
The home side found it difficult to score from open play but another Manley free along with the goals kept the home side in touch but barely.
With ten minutes left, Baltinglass full-back O’Toole made two rushes in the space of minutes to end his side’s goal.
The end result of the game was a consolation goal for the home team as Donal McGraynor Jr. saved a penalty with the final shot.
Baltinglass: Jamie Farnon; Kevin Wall (0-1), Peter Osborne, Martin Donegan; Conor O’Neill, John Hennessy, Wes O’Toole (1-2); Alan Nolan (0-1), John Timmons (0-2, 1f); Ross Nolan (0-1), Jack Hanlon (1-1), Brian Nolan; Adam Kavanagh, Tony Kealy (0-6, 4fs), Fabian Dunne. Substitutes: Conor Flood for F. Dunne, Steven Quinn for B. Nolan, Paudie Swinbourne for J. Manley, Edward Gorman for R. Nolan, Jamie McTiernan for T. Kealy.
Avondale: Ray Nolan; Kieran Penn, Kevin Sheehan, Jack Bailey Johnson; Harrison Penn, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Ryan Kenny; Conor Sheehan, Shane Byrne; Cian Ward, Jack Manley (0-5, 4f), Anthony Byrne; Christopher Sillery (1-0), Shane Farrar (1-1), Donal McGraynor. Substitutes: Donal McGraynor Jr. (1-0, penalty) for C. Sillery, Dylan Graham (0-1) for D. McGraynor, Dan Owens for A. Byrne.
Referee: Conor Doyle (Coolkenno)