Report by Oisin McGovern
May 19th Mayo Junior Championship Round 2
Ballintubber 1-09 Killala 1-13
You couldn’t pick a winner for most of this fixture but in the end it was Killala who finished stronger to claim a vital victory over our juniors in the second round of the Mayo’s third-tier competition in Clogher on Saturday evening. Played in a full-blooded and free-flowing manner, this clash certainly served up far more entertainment than the tepid shadow-boxing played out by the pick of Galway and Mayo in McHale Park last Sunday. Despite another good showing from our lads and having nearly taken the scalp of a highly-fancied Kilmaine, progression to the knock-out stages now appears unlikely.
It was a Ballintubber side comprised of a blend of youth and experience which were more in control of proceedings in the first half. Midfielder David McHale was the dominant force around the middle of the field while full-forward Ray Geraghty our main attacking threat, winning and converting four well-taken frees before half-time. Indeed, Geraghty’s first-half influence was underscored by the fact that Shane Maheady had to be dispatched to try and shackle him as veteran Kilalla full-back Darragh McGuire was withdrawn. At the other end our full-back line of experienced campaigners Gary Loftus, Declan Larkin and Kevin Shannon battled Killala’s talented full-forward line capably.
Wing-forward Johnny Duffy drew first blood with a score with the outside of the boot before Ray Geraghty doubled our lead with a free. Five minutes in rookie goalkeeper Niall Staunton, deputising for Tom McGing, was given somewhat of a baptism of fire when he was forced into an excellent save from David Lawlor’s close-range piledriver.
Cheered on by a sizable and vocal contingent of travelling supporters, the north Mayo men reeled off three unanswered scores after falling four points behind courtesy of frees from Geraghty and Ciaran Gavin. All the while full-forward Andrew Farrell made a nuisance of himself, pointing three times in the first half and giving ‘Tubber full-back Gary Loftus plenty to think about. We then leapt four points when the aforementioned Geraghty slid the ball Theirry Henry-style past Seamus Ryan after a sublime kick pass from James McGing found its way to the former Mayo minor who in turn received the assist from younger brother Noel before finishing. The visitors remained steadfast though, with Alex Quinn, Darragh Herbert and former Mayo panellist Andrew Farrell pointing before the break.
Chasing a two-point deficit, the North Mayo men ground away in the second half with flying wing-forward Cian O’Dea being the first to work the scoreboard before danger man Andrew Farrell eventually equalized with a free on seventeen minutes. At the beginning of the final quarter, the sole imperfection of an otherwise assured display between the sticks from youngster Niall Staunton came when an erroneous short kick-out was scooped up by substitute Derry Quinn who set in motion a series of hand-passes which found corner-forward Alex Quinn who finished ruthlessly.
Unfortunately, Quinn’s goal would ultimately prove to be a bridge to far for The Red and White, as two Ray Geraghty frees were all that we could muster in the time remaining, as Killala converted every chance which presented itself. Nearly all of our attacking moves were smothered as the
visitors defended with renewed vigour to close out the contest, ultimately leaving with a four-point victory after a converted dead ball from Ray Geraghty brought the curtain down on proceedings.
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Niall Staunton (17)Declan Larkin (3)Gary Loftus (4)Kevin Shannon (5)Aaron Lally (0-1) (6)Keith Coleman (7)John Kerrigan (8)Stephen Broderick (9)David McHale (10)Ciaran Gavin (0-2, 1f) (11)Darragh McGovern (12)John Duffy (0-1) (13)Noel Geraghty (14)Ray Geraghty (1-5, 5f) (15)James McGing
Subs used: Hugh Geraghty for Darragh McGovern, Eoin Heneghan for John Duffy, Louis Hoban for James McGing