County Under 21A Championship Quarter-Final Sunday November 20th
Ballintubber 3-16 1-9 Davitts
Our Under 21 team finally got their Championship campaign underway and were full value for their win over a plucky Davitts side played in sunny but cold and calm conditions in Clogher on Sunday. After both their group games against Ballaghadereen and Castlebar Mitchels were conceded to the boys of the ‘tubber, the Abbeysiders went into this game raw but were still able to put in some fine passages of play where full-forward Michael Plunkett was a constant thorn in the Davitts defence throughout. The opening half saw the sides matched at 0-3 each in the opening 10 minutes as both sides played the game in the traditional way with little defensive stuff that has somewhat stifled the game. It was the afore mentioned Michael Plunkett who looked sharp and scored twice while the youthful Hugh Geraghty also added a point. Further fast ball into the influential full-forward saw Ballintubber back in front again before the games opening goal. Left-corner forward Stephen O’Malley finally found the net after the Davitts netminder made a number of fine stops and this goal gave the hosts the required impetus as further points from Hugh Geraghty (2 ,one from a free), a fourth point from Michael Plunkett while a brace of pointed frees from Stephen O’Malley suddenly pushed Ballintubber into a 1-9 to 0-3 lead. However the South Mayo side did hit back with a couple of points before Young player of the year Diarmuid O’Connor burst through the Davitts defence to calmly place his left-footed shot into the corner of the net to leave the half-time score 2-9 to 0-5.
The second half began with a resurgent comeback from the Davitts boys playing in their alternative strip as they did reduce the leeway down to 2-11 to 1-8 inside the first 10 minutes. Indeed a great goal line clearance from full-back Dave Clarke along with an excellent stop from Tom McGing in the Ballintubber goal failed to prevent the goal. Both Michael Plunkett and Stephen O’Malley also scored during this spell and when centre-half-back John Kerrigan was shown a black card it suddenly could have been a game changer. However the West Mayo side responded excellently as a sharp point from Stephen O’Malley was followed up with a long range point from the roving corner forward Rory Murphy which saw Ballintubber go further out in front at 2-13 to 1-8. The ‘tubber pushed on strongly as a pointed free from Stephen O’Malley was quickly followed by a fine Diarmuid O’Connor point to put the game out of reach. The closing moments saw Bryan Walsh get in on the scoring while the hard-working Dara McGovern bagged Ballintubber’s third goal. Full-back Dave Clarke was the recipient of this sides second black card while a pointed Davitts free ended the entertaining game which sees Ballintubber into the Semi-Finals. While the performance did enough to win the game comfortably in the end, bigger tests await with semi-final details just confirmed where the winners of Castlebar Mitchels or Aghamore await next Saturday at 2.30 with venue to be decided.
Ballintubber had stars all over the field where the steady Tom McGing had a fine game between the posts while the commanding Dave Clarke impressed along with his corner-backs of Jarleth Staunton and Oran Scully. The half-back line of minor Gavin Roache, the slightly more experienced John Kerrigan and another minor Aaron Lally also had their moments. Captain Diarmuid O’Connor was everywhere while still finding time to score 1-1 while his midfield partner Dara McGovern also found the net. Another one from the minor brigade Hugh Geraghty had a fine first half scoring 0-3 (2f) where the promptings of centre-half-forward Bryan Walsh helped create a number of scoring opportunities. Ronan McLoughlin also got some game time while the full-forward line registered 1-11 throughout the hour. Rory Murphy got one of the biggest cheers of the day for his long range point while the excellent play of Michael Plunkett yielded 0-5 where the Abbeysiders number 15 inor Stephen O’Malley ended with an impressive return of 1-5 (3f).
Ballintubber team that lined out : Tom McGing, Jarleth Staunton, Dave Clarke, Oran Scully, Gavin Roache, John Kerrigan, Aaron Lally, Diarmuid O’Connor (Capt) (1-1), Dara McGovern (1-0), Hugh Geraghty (0-3, 2f), Bryan Walsh (0-1), Ronan McLoughlin, Rory Murphy (0-1), Michael Plunkett (0-5), Stephen O’Malley (1-5, 3f). Subs used – Louis Hoban for Ronan McLoughlin, Jack Jensen for John Kerrigan BC, Cian Corcoran for Hugh Geraghty, Sean Murphy for Dave Clarke BC