August 7th 2019
Mayo Senior Football Championship Round 3
Ballintubber 1-12 Garrymore 2-12
It was a case of “two steps forward and one step back” for our Seniors today as we progressed to the Quarter Finals of the Mayo Senior Football Championship despite losing to Garrymore. With progression to the knockout stages already assured beforehand, Kevin Johnson’s men have topped the group while Knockmore’s defeat of Hollymount/Carramore gave them safe passage to the next round.
The final score may have suggested a tighter game but this was certainly not the case. With our lads lining out without Alan Dillon and Diarmuid O’Connor, Garrymore dominated this game from the start. To their credit, ‘Garry’ gave a fine performance and will undoubtedly feel unlucky that their 2019 Championship journey is at an end. Their forwards clicked well as a unit while the likes of Shane Nally, Gary Golden, Caolan Crowe and a number of other players gave fine individual displays.
Two key first-half goals from Gary Golden and Shane Nally proved key for the South Mayo men as we frequently struggled to create chances and win primary possession. Although our lads kept within a few points of them for the entire game, we never looked like clawing back the lead. We found Garrymore’s defensive system difficult to break down while our opponents controlled possession well and created many more scoring chances.
Garry’ started both halves brightly with three unanswered scores from an even spread of players. Our first and only goal came against the run of play when a point attempt from Damien Coleman fell short to Ciarán Gavin who fisted to the net to level the game. The Mayo U20 panellist then landed two quick points to give us a very short-lived lead. Our opponents fought back ruthlessly and it wasn’t long before Gary Golden shook the net with a rebound after Gary Loftus had valiantly blocked Paul Deely’s effort on the line.
Our best spell of the game followed shortly as Keelan McDonnell, Bryan Walsh and Stephen O’Malley landed three unanswered scores. A Cillian O’Connor free briefly gave us the lead before the excellent Shane Nally drove up the middle before blasting an absolute rocket to the net past Brendan Walsh. A single point from Darren Quinn saw Garry’ run in at half-time with a deserved 2-6 to 1-6 lead.
As they had done in the first half, our opponents burst out of the traps from the throw-in. Brendan Cunningham fisted a point before Shane Nally added two more scores, including an outrageous over-the-shoulder effort from the left-hand side.
Certainly not found wanting for effort, we had our only genuine goal chance of the second half when Michael Plunkett drove a goal attempt up and over the bar. Ciaran Gavin and Bryan Walsh added two points from close range, but we still trailed by four.
Caolan Crowe added his second score of the day and would outscore Cillian O’Connor from play by the finish. A score from the lively Enda Hession put Garry’ five in front, and it became all the more obvious that they had this one wrapped up. In the face of a very tight Garrymore defence, we managed to land three scores through Ciarán Gavin, Noel Geraghty and Cillian O’Connor, leaving three between us at full-time.
On a day in which Garrymore’s big players stood up to be counted, their three-point winning margin was arguably an unfair reflection of their dominance. Nonetheless, despite today’s setback, the Quarter Finals beckon once more for Kevin Johnson’s men. An Tobair Abú!
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Joe Geraghty (4)Brian Murphy (5)Damien Coleman (19)Ruaidhri O’Connor (7)Myles Kelly (8)Jason Gibbons (6)Michael Plunkett (0-1) (10)Ciaran Gavin (1-3, 1f) (21)Keelan McDonnell (0-1) (12)Bryan Walsh (0-2) (13)Padraig O’Connor (14)Cillian O’Connor (0-3, 3f) (15)Stephen O’Malley (0-1)
Substitutions used: Noel Geraghty (0-1) for Padraig O’Connor