December 2nd 2018
Mayo U21 ‘B’ Championship Group 3
Kilmeena 4-9 Ballintubber 0-17
Our interest in the U21 ‘B’ Championship was ended in Ballintubber this afternoon at the hands of a battling Kilmeena outfit. Having beaten us at home in this competition last year, an audacious four-goal smash ‘n’ grab in the second half was enough to see the lads from Clew Bay run out four-point winners.
Despite falling short at the group stages today without the services of the inured Stephen O’Malley and Finian Bourke, this group has certainly shown some promise under the mentorship of Damien Coleman, Cathal Hallinan, Stephen Broderick and Seanie Larkin. All but a few of those that featured today will be eligible for this grade next year, and will no doubt feature heavily for our Juniors and Seniors in the near future.
Played out in wet, slippery conditions, we pointed in the first minute through Parke native Jack Doocey, who gave an excellent display at midfield today in his adopted Red and White jersey. Kilmeena then rattled off five unanswered scores, with danger man Jack Carney leading the way in the scoring. Matthew Fox and Hugh Geraghty then pointed before Noel Geraghty took his point when a goal was on. Three frees from Senior regular Ciarán Gavin and a neat point from Jamsie Finnerty left us us 0-8 0-6 ahead at the break.
We shifted up a gear after the throw-in, with Jack Doocey, Cillian Redmond, Darragh McGovern and Keelan McDonnell all pointing to give us a commanding seven-point lead. The white flag had barely been raised to signal Keelan McDonnell’s score when a slick passing move from the visitors saw Jack Carney firing home their first goal. We were hit another right hook a minute later when a high ball was fielded on the end line by a Kilmeena player who passed to his midfield partner Ryan McGonigle to raise a second green flag.
A point from Jamsie Finnerty stretched our lead back to two as we headed into the final ten minutes, but Kilmeena were very much now smelling blood. Disaster struck in the twenty-fifth minute when a high ball was mishandled by ‘Tubber shot-stopper Niall Staunton before being bundled into the net by an alert Kilmeena player.
Having been seven points ahead earlier on in the half, we now found ourselves trailing a rampant opposition by a point. Despite our best efforts, Kilmeena were now very much in the driver’s seat as Jack Carney fired over a single. We were then clinically finished off when one of the visitors’ subs drove a piledriver of a shot past Aaron Mannion towards the end of normal time.
Not content to accept our fate, we pushed hard in injury time for a draw that may have seen us through to the knock-out stages. Jamsie Finnerty fired over the last score of 2018 by a Ballintubber player to bring the deficit back to four, but it made little difference to a Kilmeena outfit that ran out deserved winners in the end.
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Niall Staunton (2)Jack Walsh (4)Luke Murphy (5)Aaron Lally (6)Hugh Geraghty (0-1) (7)Ciarán Gavin (0-5, 5f) (8)Jack Doocey (0-2) (9)Keelan McDonnell (0-1) (10)Matthew Fox (0-2, 1f) (11)Noel Geraghty (0-1) (12)Cillian Redmond (0-1) (13)Jamsie Finnerty (0-3) (15)Darragh McGovern (0-1)
Substitutions used: Alan McHale for Matthew Fox, Paddy Burke for Darragh McGovern, Gavin Roache for Aaron Lally, Louis Hoban for Noel Geraghty
REPORT BY OISIN MCGOVERN
November 18th 2018
Mayo U21 “B” Championship
Ballintubber 2-9 Burrishoole 1-12
Our U21 team had to be satisfied with a draw in Newport today as Burrishoole came from behind to salvage a point. Despite being deprived of some of our best players in Senior panellists Ciaran Gavin, Jamsie Finnerty and the injured Stephen O’Malley, our lads gave a good account of themselves on their first day out as team.
Having lead by seven points at one stage, our scoring came to a complete halt for the rest of the game. This gave the home side enough time to level matters though a Fintan McManamon free which proved to be their final kick of the game.
Playing with the breeze underneath glorious sunshine, we were undoubtedly the better team in the first half. The influence of senior regulars Damien Coleman and Cathal Hallinan certainly appeared to rub off on their young side, judging by the manner in which we contested and won several 50/50 balls.
Leading the line at full-forward, Darragh McGovern pointed our first score with scarcely thirty seconds played. Points followed from Alan McHale and Noel Geraghty before Burrishoole’s scorer-in-chief Fintan McManamon pointed his first free. We then strung together six successive scores, including three superb efforts from Hugh Geraghty and Keelan McDonnell.
With us leading 0-9 to 0-4 at the start of the second half, Fintan McManamon fired the home side firmly back into contention with a free before finding the net after seeing his initial shot saved by Niall Staunton.
However, his green flag was cancelled out promptly when Darragh McGovern won a penalty for us in the seventh minute. There was no better man to dispatch the spot kick than Ballyglass FC regular Keelan McDonnell, who blasted it hard and low to put us four points in front again.
We added a second goal two minutes later when Darragh McGovern lashed the ball into an empty goalmouth after a beautiful exchange of long and short passes between himself, Noel Geraghty and Alan McHale.
The All-Ireland winner with Ballinrobe Community School nearly got a second goal when Alan McHales’s pass across the goal proved a touch too high for the man from Rinaneel.
From then on the scores dried up as Burrishoole began to take control. The Lilly Whites pointed seven without reply as we simply couldn’t find the decisive score. Shortly after Fintan McManamon had pointed the equaliser Mel Kenny blew the final whistle, meaning we had to be content with a point.
While there was plenty of good to take from this performance, we were ultimately left to rue some poor missed chances in both halves which would have seen us through comfortably. With Ballinrobe having withdrawn from the competition, a win against Kilmeena ought to see Damien Coleman, Cathal Hallinan and Seanie Larkin’s charges progressing into the knockout stages.
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Niall Staunton (2)Jack Walsh (12)Finian Bourke (4)Luke Murphy (5)Cillian Redmond (6)Hugh Geraghty (0-2, 1f) (7)Aaron Lally (8)Keelan McDonnell (1-1, 1P) (18)Jack Doocey (10)Alan McHale (0-1) (11)Noel Geraghty (0-4, 1f) (17)Matthew Fox (15)Darragh McGovern (1-1)
Substitutions used: Gavin Roache for Aaron Lally, Louis Hoban for Matthew Fox
Report by Oisín McGovern
November 11th 2018
Connacht Club Senior Football Championship Semi-final
Ballintubber 3-11 Aughawillan 1-8
Four years on from our all-conquering 2014 season our senior team are back in the Connacht Club Senior Football Final after a convincing victory over Leitrim champions Aughawillan. Having overcame Castlebar, Breaffy, and Tourlestrane by only a single point, our lads had this one wrapped up long before the final whistle when we netted three-goals in less than ten minutes mid-way through the second half. While a brave Aughawillan side did claw back a goal later on, a comfortable nine-point winning margin meant that this one was certainly easier on the nerves than the four cagey encounters which preceded it!
It did take a while for both teams to get going. A Cillian O’Connor free was the game’s solitary score after ten minutes of play, during which time we clocked up at least five wides. In this time the Mayo captain nearly raised a green flag when he rattled the crossbar with an audacious attempt in the ninth minute. Another superb dead ball from distance by the Cranmore marksman was responded to by a pair of scores from brothers Gary and Mark Plunkett, levelling scores for the first time.
Our Alan Plunkett then conspired to push us back in front, pointing two scores of his own before winning a free in front of the goal for Cillian O’Connor to dispatch. Our captain Damien Coleman got on the score sheet with a point from wing-back while Brian Walsh split the posts from a very tight angle. A fourth Cillian O’Connor free saw us lead by three in the half-time, with a spirited Aughawillan still well within touching distance.
We flew out of the traps at start of the second half with Alan Plunkett’s third point and a pair of Cillian O’Connor frees. Our usually sturdy defensive line had something of a systems failure six minute in when Aughawillan’s Sean Flanagan almost walked through us before fizzing a low shot to the right and wide of Brendan Walsh.
A free from Gary Plunkett reduced our lead to five points before Kevin Johnson sprung Jamsie Finnerty from the bench. Scarcely a minute on the pitch, Finnerty soccer-styled into the back of the net after the tireless Diamuid O’Connor carried the ball into the danger zone before the ball ricocheted of a number of players, with the opportunistic Finnerty eventually volleying it home.
The youngster from Ballintubber village bagged a second goal in the twenty-first minute when Brian Walsh turned over a ball before off-loading to Cillian O’Connor, who found Finnerty with a lateral hand pass which he palmed into the net.
Finnerty then turned provider less than a minute later when he set up Alan Plunkett to fire home our third three-pointer after a signature attacking run by Diarmuid O’Connor.
Leading by thirteen with ten minutes to go, the job was all but done. A brave and battling Aughawillan kept the heads up and didn’t yield another score to us in the time that remained. Their star man Gary Plunkett fired over a super point before beating Brendan Walsh with a low shot after getting on the end of a high ball.
Somewhat unusually given the nature of our last few games, the final whistle came as a formality rather than a relief, as we won out in impressive fashion against a courageous and determined Aughawillan side.
The greatest challenge in our 108-year history now lies ahead in the Connacht final in the form of All-Ireland champions Corofin. A shot at our first ever Connacht title against our old nemesis beckons once more on the November 25th. Baile an Tobair Abú!
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Cathal Hallinan (4)Brian Murphy (5)Damien Coleman (0-1) (6)Michael Plunkett (7)Myles Kelly (8)Jason Gibbons (9)Diarmuid O’Connor (10)Ciaran Gavin (11)Alan Dillon (12)Alan Plunkett (1-3) (13)Brian Walsh (0-1) (14)Cillian O’Connor (0-6, 6f) (15)Stephen O’Malley
Substitutions used: Jamsie Finnerty (2-0) for Stephen O’Malley, Joe Geraghty for Gary Loftus, Padraig O’Connor for Cillian O’Connor, Declan Larkin for Myles Kelly, Noel Geraghty for Alan Dillon, John Kerrigan for Damien Coleman
REPORT BY OISIN MCGOVERN
November 4th 2018
Connacht Senior Club Championship Preliminary Round
Ballintubber 0-6 Tourlestrane 0-5
Well then... it certainly wasn’t one for the “purists”, whoever they may be.
In the end though our lads got the job done against a Tourlestrane outfit which could well guard Castlerea Prison with such an airtight defensive setup as was displayed today. Five frees from Cillian O’Connor and a solitary point from play from brother Diarmuid was enough to see us through to the semi-finals of the Connacht Senior Club Championship next Sunday.
Playing with an Atlantic breeze at our backs, Kevin Johnson’s home club put at least thirteen men behind the ball when we were in possession. What transpired was an intense but frustrating war of attrition which saw us spend the entire game trying to poke holes in the Tourlestrane blanket.
In a game which demanded such patient build-up play, Alan Dillon, Diarmuid O’Connor, Jason Gibbons and Michael Plunkett were excellent in holding and winning possession around the middle eight.
Our first point game came two minutes in when Cillian O’Connor landed the first of his five frees. Diarmuid then pointed our only score from play in the tenth minute, doubling our lead.
Another converted free from Cillian in the twentieth minute extended our lead to three, as Eamon O’Hara’s men had still yet to get a score of any description. Their only point of the half did come eventually when their centre-forward Cathal Henry swung over a lovely effort with the outside of the boot on the stroke of half-time.
With many neutrals bemoaning the poor footballing spectacle which had transpired, the score read 0-3 to 0-1 in our favour at the break.
With the breeze dying down, Cathal Henry pointed the first point of the second half from a free one minute in. This was cancelled out by a free which Cillian O’Connor struck from the ground in the ninth minute. Tourlestrane then landed two points either side of another Cillian O’Connor free, leaving us 0-5 0-4 ahead mid-way through the half.
The Sligo champions then had a man sent off for a high challenge on Ruadhri O’Connor, but we still couldn’t push ourselves comfortably in front. Our only real goal chance saw Cillian O’Connor’s close-range pile driver blocked after being set up by our captain Damien Coleman. The Mayo captain then pointed our final score in the twentieth minute with a free off his left boot.
The final ten minutes were very cagey for the Red and White as Tourlestrane’s Cathal Henry reduced the deficit to a single score with three minutes remaining. A few testing balls sent towards the danger zone kept our full-back line on their toes as injury time loomed.
While we never landed a clinching score, we held on to the football in injury time long enough to prevail by a single point.
It was a day to forget for the game of football, but we got the job done. Up next are Aughawillan in Carrick-on-Shannon. Baile an Tobair Abú!
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Cathal Hallinan (4)Brian Murphy (5)Damien Coleman (6)Michael Plunkett (7)Ruadhri O’Connor (8)Jason Gibbons (9)Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1) (10)Ciarán Gavin (11)Alan Dillon (12)Alan Plunkett (13)Bryan Walsh (14)Cillian O’Connor (0-5, 5f) (15)Stephen O’Malley
Substitutions used: Jamsie Finnerty for Stephen O’Malley, Padraic O’Connor for Ciarán Gavin, Myles Kelly for Gary Loftus
October 20th 2018
Mayo Senior Championship Final
Ballintubber 0-12 Breaffy 1-8
A season which began with a three-point Kelly Cup win over Breaffy in Arctic conditions in Clogher on February 25th climaxed in McHale Park this evening as we clenched the Paddy Moclair Cup after a hard-fought but thoroughly deserved win over the same opposition. After a championship campaign which at times pushed the skills, fitness, character, and mental and physical strength of our senior team right to the very limit, victory was no more than this group of men deserved.
It may not have been pretty at times, but if Kevin Johnson’s men have proved anything this year it’s that they will never be found wanting in terms of heart and determination when donning the Red and White jersey. After a titanic 160-minute battle with the mighty Castlebar Mitchels and then claiming the scalp of a hugely talented Breaffy outfit this evening, this particular County Title will be remembered as a testament to the character as much as to the footballing ability of this special group.
In the face of a defensive Breaffy unit, our lads had that little bit extra in every area of the field. Jason Gibbons and Diarmuid O’Connor had the edge at midfield while Cathal Hallinan, Brian Murphy and Gary Loftus were rock solid in containing the threat of Conor and Aidan O’Shea in the full-forward line. Up front Alan Dillon was once again our main creative spark and never wasted a single ball while Cillian O’Connor was simply a class act, kicking the bulk of our scores including two monster second half frees.
We initially were dealt a sucker punch only two minutes into a slow-burning first half when Aidan O’Shea caught a high ball at full-forward before charging towards goal where he was fouled by Cathal Hallinan. Referee Vincent Neary awarded a penalty which midfielder Peter Dravins dispatched past Brendan Walsh for the opening score.
Undeterred we responded when corner-forward Stephen O’Malley kicked our opening point five minutes in before Cillian O’Connor added two frees. Breaffy’s Gareth Dunne then kicked their only point from open play of the entire first half before captain Damien Coleman pointed. Two more Cillian O’Connor frees were responded to by a single free from Conor O’Shea, leaving the score at 0-6 to 1-2 at half time.
With Breaffy often massing thirteen or fourteen men behind the ball, the free-taking of Cillian O’Connor proved more valuable than ever as the Cranmore man landed a brilliant dead ball from distance for the opening score of the half. The ever-dependable Alan Dillon got his name on the score sheet with a point in the fourth minute before Cillian landed another screamer of a point a minute later.
All the while, our neighbours kept pace with points from Tommie O’Reilly and Robbie Fadden. Robbie Hennelly also added a ’45 but kicked at least three other dead balls wide, a statistic which ultimately proved very decisive in such a relatively low-scoring contest.
Cillian O’Connor landed yet another free from way out the field which Robbie Hennelly could only tip over the bar, pushing us two points ahead midway through the half. Tommie O’Reilly then pointed his second for his side before Stephen O’Malley kicked our eleventh point, even though one more pass could well have seen Cillian O’Connor rattle the Breaffy net.
Two Conor O’Shea frees levelled matters with five minutes remaining as our third game in a row went right down to the wire. In team abundant with leaders, it was the irrepressible Diarmuid O’Connor who produced one his signature booming strikes to swing over a fabulous left-footed effort to bag what would prove to be the winning score in the fifty-eight minute.
The five minutes of additional time which followed must’ve felt like an eternity to the lads on the pitch, with Aidan O’Shea hitting what would’ve been the equalizing free wide from out near the sideline.
The chance to seal the deal went a begging when Stephen O’Malley fired a point attempt wide, setting up some nerve-shattering final moments. Peter Ford’s men mounted one last attack, eventually getting a shot away which Brendan Walsh parried into space. After a mad scramble among five or six bodies the ball eventually found its way into Ballintubber hands. The glorious shriek of the final whistle followed seconds later, sending Paddy Moclair to spend the winter in the Abbey for only the fourth time in our history.
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Cathal Hallinan (4)Brian Murphy (5)Damien Coleman (C) (0-1) (6)Michael Plunkett (7)Ruaidhri O’Connor (8)Jason Gibbons (9)Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1) (10)Ciaran Gavin (11)Alan Dillon (0-1) (12)Alan Plunkett (13)Bryan Walsh (14)Cillian O’Connor (0-7, 6f) (15)Stephen O’Malley (0-2)
Substitutions used: Jamsie Finnerty for Alan Plunkett, Myles Kelly for Gary Loftus, Padraig O’Connor for Ciaran Gavin, Joe Geraghty for Ruaidhri O’Connor
October 13th 2018
Mayo Senior Football Championship Semi-Final
Ballintubber 0-16 Castlebar Mitchels 0-15
It took 160 minutes of blood, sweat, graft and adrenaline, and a scoring tally of 1-38 over the course of two Saturday evenings, but our lads finally slayed the Mitchels footballing machine in McHale this evening. What transpired this evening a contest so absorbing and tenacious that it will no doubt be remembered as one of the highlights of 2018 for CLG Baile An Tobair regardless of the result of the County Final.
The winning score was ultimately dispatched by substitute Joe Geraghty deep into extra time. Better known for his teak-tough defending than his scoring prowess, the man from Cartoonbower was the coolest customer in McHale Park when slotting over our 16th point with his right boot after being fed by Jason Gibbons.
Our victory this evening was as much of a testament to the character as it was to the footballing ability of this group of men. The sight of supporters gathered on the pitch for ten minutes or so after the final whistle despite there being no silverware in the vicinity will be remembered as a unique and surreal experience by all for years to come.
The Red and White jersey was honoured dutifully by every man that featured this evening. Brendan Walsh remained composed when called into action between the sticks while Brian Murphy and Gary Loftus were brilliant in curtailing the influence of Mitchels danger men Neil Douglas and James Durcan. Jason Gibbons and Diarmuid O’Connor battled valiantly in the engine room while the rest of our middle eight ran tirelessly throughout the eighty minutes while Cillian O’Connor’s superb free taking made up nearly half of our final tally.
It was clear from the opening exchanges that this was going to be yet another incredibly close contest. While a free-flowing shootout never materialised both teams were so evenly matched in terms of talent, fitness and physicality that neither team ever led by more than two throughout the eighty minutes.
While Mitchels pointed the opening two scores we responded with four unanswered points. A point each by Brian Walsh and Alan Dillon right at the end of the first half saw us lead 0-7 to 0-5 at the break.
A nerve-racking second half then got underway in which Mitchels hit their only real purple patch midway through. Punishing a few sloppy mistakes from our lads, the county champions hit four on the spin though Anthony O’Boyle, Patrick Durcan, Keith Hopkins and Neil Douglas. Indeed had Douglas kept his shot a few feet lower, we might have had a very different outcome to this game.
We came closest to grabbing a goal when Castlebar’s Rory Byrne nearly fumbled Diarmuid O’Connors point attempt over his own goal line in the 49th minute.
Such as was the nature of the game that trailing by two against this Mitchels team felt like trailing by six against lesser opponents. When David Stenson pointed a free four minutes from the end, it seemed like they would see out the win. However the heart and conviction of the Red and White saw Diarmuid O’Connor pointing in the 60th minute before we were awarded a free on the left hand side in the depths of injury time.
Up stepped Mayo captain Cillian O’Connor who then banished the demons of his missed frees in the 2016 and 2017 All-Ireland finals by sending it straight between the posts from an almost identical position as those two aforementioned dead balls.
With seat belts firmly fastened for extra time, brothers Cillian and “DOC” pointed the first two scores before David Stenson replied with a free, leaving the score at 0-14 0-13 in our favour at the breather.
Stenson missed a glorious chance to level matters by missing a very kickable free to which responded with a point from the elder O’Connor, Padraic.
The excellent Neil Douglas rattled off two quick scores to level matters once again as blood pressures spiked and nerves were on the brink of shattering among both sets of supporters.
With both teams running themselves to a standstill in making their final stand, it was the Boys from the Tubber that found the chink in the armour of the Mitchels Panzer tank. Jason Gibbons fisted into space to the newly introduced Joe Geraghty, who dealt the mortal blow.
The undisputed standard bearers of Mayo club football of the past three years summoned one final heroic charge in at the Ballintubber brigade, but the irrepressible Diarmuid O’Connor got a block on Dannu Kirby last-gasp effort which fell into the hands of Michael Plunkett.
John Glavey then blew the whistle, and the rest is history.
A county final against the next door neighbours Breaffy now beckons for Kevin Johnson’s men.
Onwards and upwards, Baile An Tobair Abú!
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (0-1) (3)Cathal Hallinan (4)Brendan Murphy (5)Damien Coleman (6)Michael Plunkett (7)Ruaidhri O’Connor (8)Jason Gibbons (0-1) (9)Diarmuid O’Connor (0-2) (10)Ciaran Gavin (11)Alan Dillon (0-1) (12)Alan Plunkett (20)Brian Walsh (0-1) (14)Cillian O’Connor (0-7, 6f) (15)Stephen O’ Malley (0-1)
Substitutions used: Jamsie Finnerty (0-1) for Alan Plunkett, Myles Kelly for Ruaidhri O’Connor, Padraic O’Connor (0-1) for Stephen O’Malley, Declan Larkin for Cathal Hallinan, Joe Geraghty (0-1) for Gary Loftus
7th October 2018
Mayo Senior Football Championship Semi-Final
Ballintubber 1-12 Castlebar Mitchels 1-12
After eighty minutes of high-octane, intense football our Senior team will have to do it all again next week. While this clash of the titans of Mayo club football didn’t live up to its box office billing an intriguing, tactical clash was served up from which either team could’ve emerged victorious. With both sides bedecked with a host of current and past representatives of various Mayo panels, neither team could gain a clear foothold in any area of the field. What emerged was a total war of attrition, during the course of which Diarmuid O’Connor in particular nearly ran himself off his feet in salvaging a hard-earned replay.
Such was the nature of the first half that only three scores were registered from play throughout the half hour. A miserly and tenacious Castlebar defence yielded only two points from Cillian O’Connor (one free) and a converted free from Ciaran Gavin before Michael Plunkett found the net in the twenty-third minute. Taking an incisive pass from Cillian, the Moorehall man drove through a rare crevice in the Mitchels’ defence before firing a shot into the far corner of Rory Byrne’s net.
That score would leave us 1-3 to 0-3 ahead before a pair of points from David Stenson brought the County champions back to within a point of us. Mitchels would be dealt a blow two minutes from the break when midfielder Aidan Walsh was sent off for a second yellow card, giving us an extra leg-up heading into the third quarter.
However, as is often the case, playing against fourteen men is far easier said than done. Mitchels signalled their defiance in the third minute, when wing-back Ray O’Malley rifled home a goal very similar to Plunkett’s earlier effort, pushing them two in front. With big Barry Moran despatched from his sweeper role to plug the gap in midfield, scores were as scarce as ever despite our numerical advantage.
With Mitchels massing bodies in defence at times, only Ciaran Gavin split the posts from play in the second half, with the rest of our scores coming from Cillian O’Connor’s free kicks. There were plenty of anxious moments in the final quarter, none more so then when a botched ‘Tubber kick-out went straight to Neil Douglas, who saw his shot saved by Brendan Walsh before settling for a point.
A single from the aforementioned Ciaran Gavin brought us back to within two points, as we went in desperate search of scores. With Mitchels appearing home and hosed in injury time, the irrepressible Diarmuid O’Connor won a free which brother Cillian duly converted. The Cranmore man pointed once again in the final minute of injury time from close range after former Mayo captain Alan Dillon was fouled in a last-ditch attempt to equalize.
Entering into two demanding periods of extra-time, Mitchels were now back playing with fifteen bodies. The county champions spurned a great goal chance when substitute Calum Kyne drove a shot high and wide. Substitute Jamsie Finnerty then poked us in front with a point from close range to leave the score 1-10 to 1-9 in our favour at the end of the first period.
We doubled the lead when Myles Kelly pointed having been introduced late on in normal time. However Mitchels responded with points from Neil Douglas, Anthony O’Boyle, and Barry Moran, putting them ahead by a single point. We equalized again with two minutes remaining when a final lung-bursting run from the heroic Diarmuid O’Connor resulted in a free from which Cillian pointed his eight point of the match. Time ran out eventually and a draw was probably the fairest result for both sides. We go again.
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Cathal Hallinan (4)Brian Murphy (5)Damien Coleman (6)Michael Plunkett (1-0) (7)Ruaidhri O’Connor (8)Jason Gibbons (9)Diarmuid O’Connor (10)Ciaran Gavin (0-2, 1f) (11)Alan Dillon (12)Alan Plunkett (20)Brian Walsh (14)Cillian O’Connor (0-8, 7f) (15)Stephen O’Malley
Substitutions used: Jamsie Finnerty (0-1) for Stephen O’Malley, Myles Kelly (0-1) for Ruaidhri O’Connor, Declan Larkin for Gary Loftus, Padraic O’Connor for Alan Plunkett (Black Card), Stephen O’Malley for Padraic O’Connor
Report by Oisin McGovern
September 30th 2018
Mayo Minor C Championship Final
Ballintubber 4-12 Kiltimagh 6-12
“The game of football was the real winner”, remarked one Kiltimagh supporter at full-time. It couldn’t have been better summed up as both the Ballintubber and Kiltimagh minors served up a ten-goal rollercoaster of a game that was played in a full-blooded, attacking and sporting manner.
The number of heroic individual displays were almost too numerous to name, as every one of our lads left absolutely everything out on the field in Claremorris this afternoon. Alan McHale was a livewire at full-forward, causing havoc for the Kiltimagh defence and either assisted or converted a large chunk of our scores. Matthew Fox, Cillian Redmond buttressed our offensive game with fine displays at wing-back and wing-forward while Niall Staunton (who has lined out in goal for our junior side) made a huge impact after being sprung from the bench at half time. Ciaran Gavin was yet again superb at midfield and looked every inch the regular Senior player he has become this season. However, the Red and White jersey was honoured greatest by our captain Finian Bourke who delivered an absolutely awe-inspiring sixty-minute performance in the backs. In the end though, it was Kiltimagh who had that little bit more and ran out deserved winners.
Alan McHale’s opening fisted score would prove to be the only time we would take the lead as Mayo U16 panellist Aidan Cosgrave goaled twice in the fifth minute before Kiltimagh had even registered their first point. From then on, the East Mayo lads held the lead until the final whistle to prevail by six. Points then followed from captain Liam Boland and the flying Thomas Gillespie to which the Abbeysiders responded with singles from Caolan Burke and Ciaran Gavin.
Our ambitions were dealt a series of sickening blows in the dying minutes of the first half when Kilitimagh goalie Jamie McNicholas pointed a lovely ’45 before lightening struck in the same place twice in the space of two minutes. Thomas Gillespie first found the net after being set up by Liam Boland before Gillespie turned provider a minute later to set up Boland to score an almost identical goal, leaving the score 4-6 to 0-7 at the break.
Needing something colossal to get back into the game, the Boys from the Tubber burst out of the traps when Magnus Malone, Ciarán Gavin and Alan McHale shared a point each within the space of two minutes. Half-time sub Niall Staunton then announced his arrival in the seventh minute when he bagged his side’s first goal. Staunton then turned provider five minutes later when he turned over a ball before setting up Matthew Fox to fire home a second goal. The deficit then stretched back to six when Kiltimagh’s Jordan Henry assisted Aidan Cosgrave for his hat-trick.
With the score now 5-7 to 2-10 at the midway point, both teams were going at it hammer and tongs. Alan McHale had a fascinating individual battle with Kiltimagh centre-back Andrew McDonnell while Finian Bourke was like a man possessed on Liam Boland. The Tooreen hurler was truly a sight to behold, taking lumps out of the opposition with key interventions and leading valiantly from the back. Unfortunately, we let themselves down further up the field with some poor decision-making and some sub-par delivery into our forwards.
Kiltimagh wrapped things up with a minute remaining when Thomas Gillespie slid the ball past Aaron Mannion in a one-on-one position after Niall Staunton had goaled for Ballintubber after a brilliant solo run from Alan McHale. With our lads fighting until the bitter end, Ciarán Gavin struck the bottom of the upright with a wild shot with a minute remaining. Man-of-the-match Finian Bourke had the final say when he nearly burst the net from point blank right at the death after Alan McHale drove a close-range free kick at a wall of Kiltimagh players.
Ballintubber team that lined out: Aaron Mannion, Magnus Malone (0-1), Jack Walsh, Adam Lally, Finian Bourke (1-0), Luke Murphy, Cillian Redmond (0-2), Ciaran Gavin (0-3, 2f), Cian Barret, Matthew Fox (1-1), Alan McHale (0-4), Caolan Burke (0-1), Nathan Corbett
Substitutions used: Niall Staunton (2-0) for Caolan Burke, Jack Whiriskey for Luke Murphy, Damien Jennings for Nathan Corbett