Kilmeena progressed to the quarter finals following this ding dong battle with the men from South Mayo. In what proved to be a very tight game throughout, both teams slogged it out for the right to progress to the quarter finals. Victory would see one team progressing while defeat would leave things in the balance. As it transpired the draw saw the boys in black and white topping the group while it consigned Ballinrobe to an early exit from the competition.
The game started slow and both teams exchanged points with Joey Smyth on target for Kilmeena. However within the next five minutes Ballinrobe tagged on four successive points with their inside forwards causing serious damage to leave them well in command at the end of the first quarter.
However, not for the first time Kilmeena fought there way back into the game and after a flowing move involving four or five players Joey Smyth rounded the keeper and slotted the ball to the net. Then Ballinrobe and Johnny McGlynn swapped points before a Ballinrobe raid upfield ended with the ball being fired to the net.
However, in what was now a helter skelter game, Kilmeena replied instantly by raising the green flag at the opposite end. That man, McGlynn, was on hand again with his trademark cool finish to another superb move. the half ended with Johnny McGlynn on target again with a point from play to level up the scores
Half time; Kilmeena 2 - 3 Ballinrobe 1 - 6
The home lads started brightly in the second half and after ten minutes, they were two in front with points from Smyth and Sean Ryder. Ballinrobe came roaring back and within five minutes were back in front having slotted over three unanswered points. Sean Ryder and Chris Heanue scored points either side of a Ballinrobe point and going into the last ten minutes the sides were level in what was now a titanic struggle. The question now was in tough underfoot conditions, who were going to be the team with the bottle to see it through.
Ballinrobe seemed to have provided the answer when their full forward soloed through the home defence to score what threatened to be the decisive goal. Sean Ryder clawed one back but Ballinrobe replied immediately to maintain their advantage as the minutes ticked away. Incredibly Kilmeena dug in and in five minutes had edged in front. Three frees from Johnny McGlynn, a terrific score on the run from Paul Moran had edged the home lot in front deep into injury time. However, Ballinrobe snatched the equaliser right at the death and to be fair it was a result they deserved in a game in which both teams gave everything.
This was a resounding performance form the Kilmeena lads again, and there is a resilience and toughness to this team which belies their youth. A quarter final now awaits next weekend and what is certain is that this team will give everything they have again.
Best for kilmeena: Niall Feehan, Conor Madden, Sean Ryder and Keith Joyce
Scorers: Johnny McGlynn 1 - 6(5f), Joey Smyth 1 - 1, Sean Ryder 0 - 3, Chris Heanue 0 - 1, Paul Moran 0 - 1
Match report; John Doherty.
Kilmeena 2 - 12 2 - 12 Ballinrobe