Senior Championship Q-Final 2019

September 21st 2019
Mayo Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final
Ballintubber 1-12 Belmullet 1-8
Our seniors were made to work in Ballina today as they advanced to the semi-finals of the Mayo Senior Football Championship for the sixth consecutive season. A hard-fought display was given by Kevin Johnson’s charges who will face Ballina Stephenites in a fortnight’s time. Despite falling behind early on, a crucial goal by Cillian O’Connor before half-time gave us a lead which we never let slip. A Trojan display from Diarmuid O’Connor and Jason Gibbons at midfield, coupled with the accuracy of Cillian O’Connor and Stephen O’Malley, ensured we remained at least three points in front until the end.
Played out in a wet and windy James Stephen’s Park, Intermediate champions Belmullet asked plenty of questions of our team and threatened to cause an upset in the opening stages. Belmullet landed the first score before Brian Walsh and Cillian O’Connor shared three unanswered points. With the wind at their backs, the Erris men cancelled out these scores when corner-forward Ryan O’Donoghue soloed through our defence to fire in a superb goal. Belmullet then took a three-point lead when O’Donoghue and Gary Boylan pointed.
The North Mayo men were making life hard for our lads, forcing numerous turnovers in the slippery conditions. Diarmuid O’Connor helped launch a Ballintubber comeback when he landed a point before sending a long-range free into brother Cillian, who turned and sent the ball to the back of the net. Not long after the game’s most crucial score, Stephen O’Malley landed a fine score to ensure we lead 1-6 to 1-4 at the break
With the wind and the rain dying down somewhat after half-time, we upped our performance notably in the second half. With the injured Alan Dillon having withdrawn in the first half, scores from Stephen O’Malley, Cillian O’Connor and the tireless Jason Gibbons gave us a convincing five-point lead.
The Erris men kept up the pressure with the likes of Gary Boylan, Ryan O’Donoghue and Shane Nallen giving us plenty to think about. However, we played the better football as Jason Gibbons and Diarmuid O’Connor ran themselves to a standstill while Bryan Walsh had numerous possessions and linked the play well. Despite Belmullet’s efforts, our defence tightened up and kept Ryan O’Donoghue scoreless in the second half while Cillian O’Connor kept Chris Barrett occupied for most of the time. Our main marksmen in Stephen O’Malley and Cillian O’Connor shared a point each before full-time, meaning we prevailed by a relatively comfortable four-point margin.
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (19)Ruaidhri O’Connor (4)Brian Murphy (5)Damien Coleman (6)Michael Plunkett (7)Myles Kelly (8)Jason Gibbons (0-1) (9)Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1) (10)Ciarán Gavin (11)Alan Dillon (12)Bryan Walsh (0-1) (20)Noel Geraghty (14)Cillian O’Connor (1-6, 3f, 1 ’45) (15)Stephen O’Malley (0-3)
Substitutions used: Keelan McDonnell for Alan Dillon (injured), Alan Plunkett for Ciarán Gavin, Joe Geraghty for Ruaidhri O’Connor, Padraic O’Connor for Noel Geraghty, Jamsie Finnerty for Bryan Walsh (Black Card)
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