June 24th 2018 Mayo Senior League Division 1
Ballintubber 4-15 Kiltimagh 2-10
As reported by Oisín McGovern
The blazing summer heat certainly didn’t suffocate either Ballintubber or Kiltimagh as both teams played out a high-scoring and fast-paced encounter in Clogher on Sunday. That a Kiltimagh side deprived of around ten players chalked up a final tally that would win most games spoke volumes about how open and free-scoring this league fixture was. With our lads in particular badly in need of both points they clinically exploited the East Mayo men who left their defence far too open, as we had nine unique scorers by the final whistle, including all our starting forwards.
A severely depleted Kiltimagh outfit gave as good as they got for the opening twenty-five minutes, with the teams level on three occasions. Veteran forward Ronan Malee gave Ballintubber’s Gary Loftus plenty to think about early on as both sides were somewhat wasteful in the opening stages. Indeed the visitors almost took a four-point lead when wing-forward Owen Carroll forced an early save from Ballintubber stopper Brendan Walsh. However the Red and White took the game firmly by the scruff of the neck when Mayo veteran Alan Dillon found full-forward Padraic O’Connor unmarked with a lobbed pass before the eldest of the O’Connor brothers slotted home the opening goal. A point from Kiltimagh midfielder Liam Kelly was then cancelled out by Tubber’s Jamsie Finnerty who dummied before threading the ball through the eye of a needle past Jamie McNicholas to raise a second green flag for the hosts. The Abbeysiders scuppered two more clear-cut chances before the break but there was little doubt as to who was on top.
Chasing an eight-point deficit the away side moved TJ Byrne back to midfield to battle the impressive duo of Jason Gibbons and Ruadhri O’Connor while centre-forward Eoin Lavin pointed an absolute rocket from a distance which almost beggared belief. A shot into the roof of the Ballintubber net by wing-back Conor Gallagher sent out a clear message that this almost second-string Kiltimagh outfit weren’t going home without a fight. Nonetheless, Ballintubber’s forward lines kept the scoreboard ticking over before top scorer Alan Plunkett netted our third goal from close range to extend the home side’s lead to ten points.
Tubber’s Brendan Walsh was again called into action to save from Owen Carroll as the visitors continued to battle bravely but Ballintubber only pulled further in front, with Alan Plunkett leading an impressive ‘Tubber attack with two more unanswered points. Damien Coleman pointed for the second time before Ruadhri O’Connor capped a fine performance when the impressive Ciaran Gavin laid the ball into the path of the London-based expat who blasted a low shot into the Kiltimagh net.
The games sixth goal came in the form of a daisy-cutter from former Mayo minor captain Donavan Cosgrave which took some of the dirty look off the final score. All things considered, it was the best that the East Mayo men could’ve mustered with so many absentees in the face of such effective Ballintubber firepower.
Ballintubber team: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Cathal Hallinan (4)Declan Larkin (5)Myles Kelly (6)Joe Geraghty (7)Damien Coleman (0-2) (8)Jason Gibbons (0-1) (9)Ruadhri O’Connor (1-0) (10)Ciaran Gavin (0-2) (11)Alan Plunkett (1-4) (12)Brian Walsh (0-1) (13)Jamsie Finnerty (1-0) (14)Padraic O’Connor (1-2) (15)Alan Dillon (0-2, 1f)
Substitutions used: Noel Geraghty (0-1) for Jamsie Finnerty, David McHale for Myles Kelly Sean Larkin for Alan Dillon, Jarlath Staunton for Joe Geraghty