Senior Championship Group 2 Saturday October 9th
Aghamore 0-9 2-11 Ballintubber
Congrats to our Senior team who made it a remarkable 9th Senior Championship Quarter-Final in-a-row following a strong second half performance against Aghamore in the impressive Tooreen hurling grounds on Saturday evening. Despite lining out without the always influential Alan Dillon who was out due to injury, the Abbeysiders were able to have the fit-again Jason Gibbons in midfield who had a fine hour while the O’Connor brothers got all but 0-2 of the scores . Conditions on the evening were ideal with little wind in cloudy, mainly dry conditions and the first half was a cagey affair although the boys in red did have a little extra punch when they attacked directly where Diarmuid O’Connor played in the full-forward line for most of the game. It was his brother Cillian wearing the number 14 jersey who opened the scoring with an excellently converted ’45 with Alan Freeman lining out in midfield who levelled proceedings shortly after. With the Ballintubber defence looking comfortable it allowed right-corner-back Gary Loftus the freedom to attack and kick over his sides second point while Cillian O’Connor added his sides third point after Diarmuid O’Connor was fouled. In fact Ballintubber were leading the way although scores from dual midfielder Kenny Feeney along with a point from centre-half-forward Darren Duffy had the sides level at 0-3 apiece. Further pressure from Ballintubber along with a number of fine catches from Jason Gibbons resulted in 2 more converted frees from Cillian O’Connor. However despite threatening to pull away on various occasions, Ballintubber failed to push the game enough where Alan Freeman showed his best side when he kicked over 2 points to level the game at 0-5 apiece. However the Abbeysider attack were looking more and more menacing as Aghamore number 4 David Kenny was shown his second yellow card with Cillian O’Connor calmly putting his side ahead at the interval at 0-6 to 0-5 with another free.
The 3 time County champions began the second half strongly as further pressure saw Ballintubber earn a penalty after Jason Gibbons was fouled where Cillian O’Connor comfortably found the net. The boys of the ‘tubber were rampant at this stage with Cillian O’Connor turning the screw following a fine long range free. In fact the Mayo number 15 created his sides second goal chance when he found the alert Ballintubber number 10 Diarmuid who hammered the ball to the roof of the Aghamore net to suddenly push the Abbeysiders ahead at 2-7 to 0-5. The game was over as a contest although the hard-working Aghamore midfielder Kenny Feeney did get a point back for his side. A very patient move from the West Mayo side saw Ruaidhri O’Connor get at the end of the move to kick over an excellent point. Another pointed ’45 from his brother Cillian followed although 3 points in succession from Aghamore did bring some respectability to the scoreling although the games top scorer Cillian O’Connor did kick over the games final point in the closing minutes. Details on the Quarter-Final opponents will be confirmed this week while it is expected that next weekend these games will take place. Best for Ballintubber included the roving Gary Loftus who ended with 0-2 while Ruaidhri O’Connor also who got his name on the scoreboard. Brian Murphy started at full-back but like Gary Loftus due to his marker going out the field he also was as comfortable at the other end of the field. Myles Kelly got through a good shift while Michael Plunkett and Cathal Hallinan also stood strong in defence along with sweeper Damien Coleman. The return of Jason Gibbons to midfield was a major bonus and he played a big part in the win with his partner Danny Geraghty also getting through a lot of work. The positioning of Diarmuid O’Connor into the full-forward line reaped dividends particularly in the second half while the place kicking of Cillian O’Connor was central to the win as he ended with a return of 1-8. Bryan Walsh, Damien McGing and Alan Plunkett also worked hard and helped achieve the win.
Ballintubber team that lined out : Frank Walsh, Gary Loftus (0-2), Brian Murphy, Myles Kelly, Michael Plunkett, Cathal Hallinan, Ruaidhri O’Connor (0-1), Danny Geraghty, Jason Gibbons, Diarmuid O’Connor (1-0), Damien Coleman, Bryan Walsh, Damien McGing, Cillian O’Connor (1-8, pen, 2 ‘45’s 6f), Alan Plunkett. Subs used : Ray Geraghty for Damien McGing, Stephen Broderick for Danny Geraghty, Joe Geraghty for Myles Kelly, Conor Finnerty for Diarmuid O’Connor.