September 30th 2018
Mayo Minor C Championship Final
Ballintubber 4-12 Kiltimagh 6-12
“The game of football was the real winner”, remarked one Kiltimagh supporter at full-time. It couldn’t have been better summed up as both the Ballintubber and Kiltimagh minors served up a ten-goal rollercoaster of a game that was played in a full-blooded, attacking and sporting manner.
The number of heroic individual displays were almost too numerous to name, as every one of our lads left absolutely everything out on the field in Claremorris this afternoon. Alan McHale was a livewire at full-forward, causing havoc for the Kiltimagh defence and either assisted or converted a large chunk of our scores. Matthew Fox, Cillian Redmond buttressed our offensive game with fine displays at wing-back and wing-forward while Niall Staunton (who has lined out in goal for our junior side) made a huge impact after being sprung from the bench at half time. Ciaran Gavin was yet again superb at midfield and looked every inch the regular Senior player he has become this season. However, the Red and White jersey was honoured greatest by our captain Finian Bourke who delivered an absolutely awe-inspiring sixty-minute performance in the backs. In the end though, it was Kiltimagh who had that little bit more and ran out deserved winners.
Alan McHale’s opening fisted score would prove to be the only time we would take the lead as Mayo U16 panellist Aidan Cosgrave goaled twice in the fifth minute before Kiltimagh had even registered their first point. From then on, the East Mayo lads held the lead until the final whistle to prevail by six. Points then followed from captain Liam Boland and the flying Thomas Gillespie to which the Abbeysiders responded with singles from Caolan Burke and Ciaran Gavin.
Our ambitions were dealt a series of sickening blows in the dying minutes of the first half when Kilitimagh goalie Jamie McNicholas pointed a lovely ’45 before lightening struck in the same place twice in the space of two minutes. Thomas Gillespie first found the net after being set up by Liam Boland before Gillespie turned provider a minute later to set up Boland to score an almost identical goal, leaving the score 4-6 to 0-7 at the break.
Needing something colossal to get back into the game, the Boys from the Tubber burst out of the traps when Magnus Malone, Ciarán Gavin and Alan McHale shared a point each within the space of two minutes. Half-time sub Niall Staunton then announced his arrival in the seventh minute when he bagged his side’s first goal. Staunton then turned provider five minutes later when he turned over a ball before setting up Matthew Fox to fire home a second goal. The deficit then stretched back to six when Kiltimagh’s Jordan Henry assisted Aidan Cosgrave for his hat-trick.
With the score now 5-7 to 2-10 at the midway point, both teams were going at it hammer and tongs. Alan McHale had a fascinating individual battle with Kiltimagh centre-back Andrew McDonnell while Finian Bourke was like a man possessed on Liam Boland. The Tooreen hurler was truly a sight to behold, taking lumps out of the opposition with key interventions and leading valiantly from the back. Unfortunately, we let themselves down further up the field with some poor decision-making and some sub-par delivery into our forwards.
Kiltimagh wrapped things up with a minute remaining when Thomas Gillespie slid the ball past Aaron Mannion in a one-on-one position after Niall Staunton had goaled for Ballintubber after a brilliant solo run from Alan McHale. With our lads fighting until the bitter end, Ciarán Gavin struck the bottom of the upright with a wild shot with a minute remaining. Man-of-the-match Finian Bourke had the final say when he nearly burst the net from point blank right at the death after Alan McHale drove a close-range free kick at a wall of Kiltimagh players.
Ballintubber team that lined out: Aaron Mannion, Magnus Malone (0-1), Jack Walsh, Adam Lally, Finian Bourke (1-0), Luke Murphy, Cillian Redmond (0-2), Ciaran Gavin (0-3, 2f), Cian Barret, Matthew Fox (1-1), Alan McHale (0-4), Caolan Burke (0-1), Nathan Corbett
Substitutions used: Niall Staunton (2-0) for Caolan Burke, Jack Whiriskey for Luke Murphy, Damien Jennings for Nathan Corbett