Senior League Div 1 v Ballaghadereen

28th September 2019
Mayo Senior League Division 1
Ballintubber 1-12 Ballaghaderreen 1-9
Our Seniors survived a late rally from Ballaghaderreen in Ballintubber this evening to claim both points in this Mayo Senior League fixture. Although we were certainly the better for most of the game, Ballaghaderreen rallied late in the game and very nearly equalized right at the death. However, Sharoize Akram miscued a volley with the goal at his mercy and the ball went out for a ’45 before the final whistle was blown.
The tempo of this game and the team selection of both sides indicated that both teams had one eye on their respective Championship Semi-Finals. We lined out without the injured Alan Dillon while Cathal Hallinan started at wing-back for the first time since last year’s Connacht club final. Diarmuid O’Connor and Damien Coleman made substitute appearances for while Ballagh’ were without the likes of Seamus Cunniffe, Cian Hanley, David Drake and Owen Jordan.
It was the Red and White who were definitely the better team in the first half. Mayo star Cillian O’Connor didn’t get on the scoreboard but was heavily involved in many scores. The most crucial of these was our only goal which came when O’Connor caught a long ball from Jason Gibbons before assisting Stephen O’Malley who palmed it into an empty net. We strung together some nice moves which resulted in six points being shared between Stephen O’Malley, Ciaran Gavin, Brian Walsh and Alan Plunkett. Meanwhile, Ballaghaderreen only managed three points, with Cormac Doohan landing a solitary score from play from close range.
Mayo legend Andy Moran landed two frees in the first half but was closely watched by Gary Loftus, who kept the Ballagh’ Bomber scoreless from play while he was on him. Kuba Callaghan showed well for the visitors with his direct running, but Ballagh' lacked a clear attacking outlet outside of Moran early on.
Leading 1-6 to 0-3 at half-time, we looked to be in control early on in the second half. Jason Gibbons had a stormer around the middle and kicked the half’s opening point before Stephen O’Malley cancelled out an Andy Moran free. Cillian O’Connor was rested after ten minutes after Noel Geraghty pointed to put the Abbeysiders seven points ahead. Andy Moran (who finished with seven points) then kicked two frees before Jason Gibbons pointed his second.
Ballaghaderreen hit their stride in the 40th minute when Cormac Doohan set up Kuba Callaghan to finish a goal which was almost identical to Ballintubber’s earlier one. Having played well within themselves up to this point, the East Mayo side really began to play ball, with Andy Moran pointing his only score from play from a fair distance.
Ballagh’ nearly hit the net a second time but for Brian Murphy, who palmed a piledriver from Ryan Lynch up and over the bar. We had certainly slipped back a few gears in the second half and were wasteful at times. However, Jason Gibbons and Michael Plunkett played impressively and we eventually worked a score when Stephen O’Malley swung over a crucial free to put us three ahead.
Ballagh’ were not finished though. A late goal chance went astray when the newly-introduced Stephen Drake won a ball at full-forward before blasting it high and wide. The visitors nearly snatched a last-gasp equaliser when Kuba Callaghan’s shot was stopped by Tom McGing before Shoroize Akram scoffed the rebound. Time ran out for Ballagh’ and we left with both points.
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Brian Murphy (4)Joe Geraghty (5)Cathal Hallinan (6)Michael Plunkett (7)Myles Kelly (8)Jason Gibbons (0-2) (9)Ciaran Gavin (0-2, 1f) (10)Noel Geraghty (0-1) (11)Brian Walsh (0-1) (12)Keelan McDonnell (13)Alan Plunkett (0-1) (14)Cillian O’Connor (15)Stephen O’Malley (1-5, 1f)
Substitutions used: Diarmuid O’Connor for Keelan McDonnell, Damien Coleman for Cathal Hallinan, Finian Bourke for Gary Loftus, Jamsie Finnerty for Cillian O’Connor, Hugh Geraghty for Brian Walsh.
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