August 15 2021
Mayo Senior Football League Division 1B
Ballintubber 3-20 Kiltane 0-8
Our seniors crowned a magnificent weekend for Ballintubber GAA club with their best display of the year against Kiltane in Clogher.
Having lost out to Westport in wet and windy conditions last weekend, this was an entirely different Ballintubber team that showed up.
The fitness, tenacity, skill and hunger on display here reminded us all what this group are truly capable of when everything clicks.
While Kiltane were disappointing, it takes little away from our performance.
If Man-Of-The-Match awards were to be given out, there would have been many Red and White contenders.
From Jack Walsh at the back – who kept former Mayo panellist Mikey Sweeney scoreless – to the imperious Jason Gibbons, to Ciaran Gavin and Stephen O’Malley up front - who tore Kiltane asunder with 3-12 between them.
With Damien Coleman back at centre-back rather than playing as a sweeper, Enda Gilvarry’s men went for an attacking mindset against the team that defeated us in the Michael Walsh League only a few weeks ago.
As Clogher reverberated with cheerful talk of ‘The Match’, the game itself seemed almost supercharged by Mayo’s magnificent toppling of the Dublin empire.
The noise from players, management, and supporters were an indication that we were well and truly out of the early season and now playing serious senior football.
Played out on a dry home sod, this approach yielded 1-6 before the water break, with Ciaran Gavin bagging the goal after a Noel Geraghty miscued a shot.
At the other end, our opponents looked out of sorts up front. Our defence were more than a match for them and held them to a single score from play by half time.
Indeed, we were dominant in all areas of the field as the scores were evenly spread across five of our starting forwards.
Despite the introduction of the original Tommy ‘Goals’ Conroy for Kiltane, the Erris men could not find that extra gear.
Going into the second half leading 1-10 to 0-5, our lads were simply too good for our opponents. If anything, they got better as the game went on.
Our forwards seem to have a telepathic understanding of each other and clicked in a way that they had not done all season.
Stephen ‘Bales’ O’Malley was at his very best, hitting scores from all sorts of angles in the second half.
We struck the mortal blow just before water break after a rapid team move ended with Alan Plunkett feeding Ciaran Gavin, who palmed it into the net to make it 2-16 to 0-7.
Victory was now only a formality, with Gavin and O’Malley adding another 0-3 before Gavin landed his hat-trick with five minutes to go.
The one bit of luck which came Kiltane’s way saw them awarded a penalty right at the very end, but Tommy Conroy struck the spot kick a few feet wide of the post.
All around, t’was a great weekend for club and county.
An Tobair Abú, Mayo for Sam!
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Brian Murphy (4)Finian Bourke (5)Myles Kelly (6)Damien Coleman (7)Jack Walsh (8)Joe Geraghty (0-1) (9)Jason Gibbons (0-1) (10)Hugh Geraghty (0-2) (11)Noel Geraghty (0-2) (12)Keelan McDonnell (13)Ciarán Gavin (3-4) (14)Stephen O’Malley (0-8, 4f, 1 ’45) (15)Alan Plunkett (0-2)
Substitutions used: Aaron Lally for Damien Coleman, (2nd half water-break) Gavin Roache for Hugh Geraghty (2nd half water-break), Darragh McGovern for Joe Geraghty (51 min), Matthew Redmond for Noel Geraghty (57 min)
Referee: Liam Devenney