Mayo Senior League Division 1 April 21st 2018
Ballintubber 0-10 Aghamore 1-08
In the end it was a teak tough Aghamore outfit that claimed both points in Clogher this evening as our Seniors fell narrowly short of snatching a draw. On an evening on which a host of former and current Mayo players were either absent, excelled, or underperformed this encounter proved to be quite a slow burner.
With us deprived of the services of current and former Mayo captains Alan Dillon (currently Stateside) and Cillian O’Connor (currently injured), scores were never going to be easy to come by. Indeed, we appeared rudderless at times in the absence of Dillon in particular whose acute footballing intelligence in the centre-forward role was sorely missed in the face of an Aghamore defence playing with a permanent sweeper.
The signs were evident early on that this wasn’t going to be a shoot-out. The fact that it took seventeen minutes for any sort of score to materialise via a Stephen O’Malley free told its own story. The indifferent murmurings from both sets of supporters proved to be the soundtrack of a first half in which shots drifting wide and falling short of the target were very much the norm rather than the exception. Indeed, a botched pickup from Padraic O’Connor which went straight into the hands of an Aghamore man provided about as much amusement as any of on-field action.
During this time, Brian Murphy had his hands full with former Mayo panellist Alan Freeman who, along with former Mayo Minor Ross Egan, provided the visitor’s main attacking outlet. Indeed it was Freeman that accounted for their first two scores before a Seán Óg Tigue point put them two ahead. Points from Brian Walsh and an O’Malley free left us deadlocked at the break. Indeed we were unfortunate not to raise a green flag when Aghamore corner-back Iarla Carty was forced to clear the ball off his line after Alan Plunkett got a gentle fist to a high searching ball into the square.
The second half proved a more exciting affair, with Brendan Walsh forced to make an early goal save from Conor Kilkenny. A Padraic O’Connor single was then cancelled out when Alan Freeman drove home a superbly-taken penalty after Brian Murphy was judged to have fouled him in the square.
It proved to be the shot in the arm the game needed, with both teams now going hell-for-leather as Aghamore hit their purple patch, leading by five points when James McNieve palmed over their final point of the game. Undeterred, our seniors pressed ahead with Stephen O’Malley pointing two frees while Jason Gibbons and Brian Murphy added points from play. Though we scrambled desperately to claim a solitary point from this game the equalising point never materialised, with a wide shot from Alan Plunkett in injury time prompting Kevin Connelly to bring proceedings to a close.
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Jarlath Staunton (3)Cathal Hallinan (4)Brian Murphy (0-1) (5)Joe Geraghty (6)Damien Coleman (7)Myles Kelly (8)Jason Gibbons (0-1) (9)David McHale (10)Stephen Finnerty (11)Diarmuid O’Connor (12)Brian Walsh (0-1) (13)Alan Plunkett (14)Padraic O’Connor (0-1) (15)Stephen O’Malley (0-6, 6f)
Substitutions used: Noel Geraghty for Brian Walsh, Eoin Heneghan for Padraic O’Connor, John Kerrigan for Cathal Hallinan, Gary Loftus for Jarlath Staunton