August 29 2020
Mayo Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final
Ballintubber 0-12 Knockmore 2-11
Our interest in the Mayo Senior Football Championship has been ended by a young and dynamic Knockmore outfit, who ran out deserving winners.
While McHale Park has been the site of many great victories and sporting moments for our club, this evening it just wasn’t to be.
The North Mayo side played the superior football evening and were far more impressive upfront.
Two fabulous goals in either half from Aidan Orme and Darren McHale were the highlights an excellent attacking display from Ray Dempsey’s men.
Despite an honest effort by all who wore the Red and White, we simply didn’t have enough in the scoring department to see the game out.
The likes of McHale, Orme and Peter Naughton were superb up front for Knockmore and accounted for 2-10 of their 2-11.
The injury to Diarmuid O’Connor in the second half did us no favours, but we simply didn’t produce enough scores to catch our opponents when they pulled away in the second half.
True to their unfailing character, our lads never gave in and almost managed to a goal late on when Michael Plunkett drove through a few players before handing off to Cillian who had a shot blocked down.
While O’Connor and Jason Gibbons were a match for Kevin McLoughlin and Kieran King at midfield, it was our opponents that won the battle in front of goal.
The first half was actually a very even affair. Even though we were playing well within ourselves, both teams were level on five occasions.
Jason Gibbons was colossal in the air and kicked an impressive score in the sixth minutes.
At times Cillian O’Connor was our only serious threat up front and ended up with 0-6 of our 0-12. The Cranmore man showed his class at one point when he blasted a rasper of a shot at Knockmore goalie Colm Reape.
At the other end, Knockmore’s kicking game was paying dividends, with the likes of Peter Naughton and Aiden Orme causing us all sorts of bother.
Darren McHale put them three in front in the 21st minute with a class finish to a move that featured a fabulous kick-pass from Naughton and then a brilliant hand pass from Orme.
We dragged the deficit back with excellent scores from Bryan Walsh and substitute Keelan McDonnell, who came on for the injured Alan Dillon.
With Knockmore leading 1-5 to 0-8 at half-time, it was still anybody’s game.
With Doc operating around full-forward after landing on his ankle in the first half, we didn’t make any great strides after the restart.
At the other end, Knockmore had their heads up and continued to defend doggedly and hassle our full-back line.
The real sickener came just before the water break when Darren Ruttledge set up Darren McHale who slid a daisy-cutter into the net past Gary Loftus and Brendan Walsh.
Now trailing 2-7 to 0-9 and looking in serious trouble, Stephen O’Malley gave us hope when he kicked a point from the right from an extremely tight angle.
However, Knockmore were now playing like men possessed and landed two further blows when Kevin McLoughlin and Darren McHale pointed in the final five minutes.
With hope fading and the clock ticking towards sixty minutes, we clawed back two more through a straightforward Cillian O’Connor free and a point from way out on the wing by Ciaran Gavin.
However, with four points separating the teams heading into the seven minutes injury time, Knockmore appeared to have done enough.
Kevin Johnson’s men made one last valiant charge at the goal when Michael Plunkett set up Cillian who saw his shot smothered by a Knockmore defence that impressed all evening.
The North Mayo men made certain when Peter Naughton kicked a free from an advanced mark before the excellent Aidan Orme kicked the clincher after a neat dummy solo.
It was a championship many thought would never take place, and one which ultimately didn’t finish the way we wanted.
A season unlike any other saw Ballintubber teams tog out in the open just like the days of old, in front of limited spectators, and eventually behind closed doors.
While strange and uncertain times are here to stay, the pride in the Red and White jersey will outlive Covid-19 and we will live to fight another day.
“Because we’re the Boys from The ‘Tubber until the very end.”
Ballintubber team that line out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Joe Geraghty (4)Myles Kelly (5)Damien Coleman (6)Michael Plunkett (7)Brian Murphy (8)Jason Gibbons (0-1) (8)Diarmuid O’Connor (10)Ciaran Gavin (0-1) (11)Alan Dillon (12)Bryan Walsh (0-2) (13)Jamsie Finnerty (14)Cillian O’Connor (0-6, 5f) (15)Stephen O’Malley (0-1)
Substitutions used: Keelan McDonnell (0-1) for Alan Dillon, Noel Geraghty for Jamsie Finnerty, Alan Plunkett for Diarmuid O’Connor, Hugh Geraghty for Joe Geraghty, Ray Geraghty for Stephen O’Malley
Referee: Garryowen McMahon