Ballintubber 3-16 The Neale 1-6
September 24 2022
Mayo Senior Football Championship Round 3
“The old dog for the hard road and the pup for the bothirín.”
This old saying rang true in Garrymore yesterday evening as our seniors made the last eight of the Mayo Senior Football championship with sixteen points to spare.
In doing so, they continued a tradition that stretches back over a decade, which is a testament to the consistency our lads have displayed at this level over the years.
The result was never in doubt, in all honesty.
The Neale were written off by many before a ball was even thrown in, but the injury-ravaged South Mayo men gave as good as they got in terms of effort and physicality.
However, our class and experience were obvious from the outset, and it soon became clear that the injured Cillian O’Connor and Michael Plunkett wouldn’t be needed.
There were impressive performances everywhere, particularly in midfield and attack.
David McHale and Jason Gibbons were excellent and played a big part in all six of our starting forwards getting on the scoresheet.
Noel Geraghty had us off the mark after only 25 seconds and had the ball in the net after 16 minutes, by which time the writing was on the wall for The Neale.
Even against a stiff breeze, Enda Gilvarry’s men worked liked dogs and played some sweet football.
The best of these moves came from Noel Geraghty’s goal, which he palmed into the net after Keelan McDonnell passed to the wiley Alan Plunkett, who directed it across the goal for Geraghty to finish.
The Neale finished the half strong but didn’t score from play until the second minute of injury time, by which time they were 1-8 to 0-4 down.
To their credit, the southerners gave us cause for concern when wing-back Harry Costello beat Frank Walsh to cut the gap to five early in the second half.
However, anyone who has watched this Ballintubber team over the years will know that we don’t do ‘panic’.
We struck back in quite a fortuitous manner; a Diarmuid O’Connor ’45 which fell short but found its way into the net courtesy of The Neale’s Cian Hughes mishandling the ball.
Two minutes later Bryan Walsh showed his county class when he made a beeline for goal before sending a bullet of a shot low and hard into the net.
Victory was now all but a fait accompli, but our lads never got ahead of themselves.
Leading by double-digits, we had the luxury of withdrawing Bryan Walsh and Alan Plunkett with just 40 minutes gone.
Ciarán Gavin and Stephen Burke arrived in their place and made an instant impact, combining to produce a goal chance which saw Burke denied by a heroic block.
Our defence only yielded two points – both frees – in the final twenty minutes, by which time it was only a question of how much we would win by.
The sixteen-point win was an accurate reflection of the gulf between the two sides.
However, it is safe to say that any future wins in this season’s championship will be by single digits.
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Frank Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Brian Murphy (4)Jack Walsh (5)Myles Kelly (6)Finian Bourke (7)Hugh Geraghty (8)David McHale (0-2) (9)Jason Gibbons (0-2) (10)Keelan McDonnell (0-2) (11)Diarmuid O’Connor (1-1) (12)Bryan Walsh (1-1) (13)Noel Geraghty (1-1) (14)Stephen O’Malley (0-5, 3f) (15)Alan Plunkett (0-1)
Substitutions used: Ciarán Gavin (0-1) for Alan Plunkett (40); Stephen Burke for Bryan Walsh (40); John Kerrigan for Brian Murphy (46 mins); Gavin Roache for Finian Bourke (46 mins); James McGing for Diarmuid O’Connor (58 mins)
Referee: Frank Flynn (Aghamore)
As Reported by Oisin McGovern