Match Reports

Senior Championship Rd 3 Ballintubber v The Neale

Senior Championship Rd 3 Ballintubber v The Neale

Ballintubber 3-16 The Neale 1-6

September 24 2022

Mayo Senior Football Championship Round 3

 

“The old dog for the hard road and the pup for the bothirín.”

 

This old saying rang true in Garrymore yesterday evening as our seniors made the last eight of the Mayo Senior Football championship with sixteen points to spare.

In doing so, they continued a tradition that stretches back over a decade, which is a testament to the consistency our lads have displayed at this level over the years.

The result was never in doubt, in all honesty.

 

The Neale were written off by many before a ball was even thrown in, but the injury-ravaged South Mayo men gave as good as they got in terms of effort and physicality.

However, our class and experience were obvious from the outset, and it soon became clear that the injured Cillian O’Connor and Michael Plunkett wouldn’t be needed.

 

There were impressive performances everywhere, particularly in midfield and attack.

David McHale and Jason Gibbons were excellent and played a big part in all six of our starting forwards getting on the scoresheet.

 

Noel Geraghty had us off the mark after only 25 seconds and had the ball in the net after 16 minutes, by which time the writing was on the wall for The Neale.

 

Even against a stiff breeze, Enda Gilvarry’s men worked liked dogs and played some sweet football.

 

The best of these moves came from Noel Geraghty’s goal, which he palmed into the net after Keelan McDonnell passed to the wiley Alan Plunkett, who directed it across the goal for Geraghty to finish.

 

The Neale finished the half strong but didn’t score from play until the second minute of injury time, by which time they were 1-8 to 0-4 down.

 

To their credit, the southerners gave us cause for concern when wing-back Harry Costello beat Frank Walsh to cut the gap to five early in the second half.

 

However, anyone who has watched this Ballintubber team over the years will know that we don’t do ‘panic’.

 

We struck back in quite a fortuitous manner; a Diarmuid O’Connor ’45 which fell short but found its way into the net courtesy of The Neale’s Cian Hughes mishandling the ball.

 

Two minutes later Bryan Walsh showed his county class when he made a beeline for goal before sending a bullet of a shot low and hard into the net.

 

Victory was now all but a fait accompli, but our lads never got ahead of themselves.

Leading by double-digits, we had the luxury of withdrawing Bryan Walsh and Alan Plunkett with just 40 minutes gone.

 

Ciarán Gavin and Stephen Burke arrived in their place and made an instant impact, combining to produce a goal chance which saw Burke denied by a heroic block.

 

Our defence only yielded two points – both frees – in the final twenty minutes, by which time it was only a question of how much we would win by.

 

The sixteen-point win was an accurate reflection of the gulf between the two sides.

However, it is safe to say that any future wins in this season’s championship will be by single digits.

 

Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Frank Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Brian Murphy (4)Jack Walsh (5)Myles Kelly (6)Finian Bourke (7)Hugh Geraghty (8)David McHale (0-2) (9)Jason Gibbons (0-2) (10)Keelan McDonnell (0-2) (11)Diarmuid O’Connor (1-1) (12)Bryan Walsh (1-1) (13)Noel Geraghty (1-1) (14)Stephen O’Malley (0-5, 3f) (15)Alan Plunkett (0-1)

 

Substitutions used: Ciarán Gavin (0-1) for Alan Plunkett (40); Stephen Burke for Bryan Walsh (40); John Kerrigan for Brian Murphy (46 mins); Gavin Roache for Finian Bourke (46 mins); James McGing for Diarmuid O’Connor (58 mins)

Referee: Frank Flynn (Aghamore)

As Reported by Oisin McGovern

U19 Div 3 County Final Ballintubber v Ballinrobe

August 24 2022

Under-19 League Division 3 League Final

Ballintubber 0-12 Ballinrobe 0-13

 

So close, but alas it was not to be.

 

Over an hour of toil, sweat and honest hard work wasn’t enough to see our Under-19s over the line in a game where they lead for nearly 50 minutes.

 

In the end, a one-point win was probably an accurate reflection of the difference between us and Ballinrobe, who produced a strong wind-assisted second half to seize victory in the final ten minutes.

 

One could find little fault in our performance. We weren’t to blame for the fact that we were up against a strong breeze in the second half, or that we were missing Nathan Gibbons and Darragh Joyce.

 

In every other regard, this was a display that did full justice to the red and white jersey that has been handed down to these youngsters by giants of men.

 

The work rate was top-notch, as were our match-ups and our intent on preventing Ballinrobe from breaking at speed.

 

In this regard, Ethan Lyons did a superb job in curtailing Mayo Minor midfielder Diarmuid Duffy, who grew into the game in the second half.

 

We defended in numbers, tackled with vigour, and attacked with purpose, with Josh Mahon and Stephen Burke leading the way on the scoreboard.

 

The senior and junior football experience enjoyed this year by Mahon, Burke, Sean Duffy, Cathal Flannery and Martin Fox stood to them against lads their own age.

 

In the end, Ballinrobe overcame their first half frustration to produce a more composed second half which they won 0-9 0-5.

 

Our defensive setup of massing bodies behind the ball was an unorthodox one, but a plan that worked to perfection for most of the game.

 

Ballinrobe were frequently forced into turnovers by a tigerish ‘Tubber defence, who transitioned defence to attack superbly.

 

Our opponents’ frustration was evident in some of the wild shots they took in the first half, where we were on top in most areas of the field.

 

Despite having less than half of the possession, our lads took the lead through Stephen Burke in the first minute and didn’t relinquish it until late in the second half.

 

Josh Mahon was excellent on the inside, landing four points in the first half with some eye-catching scores from frees and from play.

 

We defended well, but we also attacked with menace and sophistication.

 

With the wind at our backs, our lads raced 0-7 0-3 ahead and frustrated our opponents to the extent that they had barely left third gear by half-time.

 

Our best goal chance game just before the short whistle when the impressive Stephen Burke saw a rasper of a shot blocked by Ballinrobe’s Stephen O’Connor.

 

Three up at half-time, Ballinrobe’s wind advantage meant we were almost playing against sixteen men in the second half.

 

Still, we stuck to our tried and trusted tactic of big numbers in defence and swift counter attacks.

 

But through a combination of the breeze, better decision making and greater ball retention, Ballinrobe discretely worked their way back into contention.

 

Leading ‘Robe’s charge was their excellent centre-forward Adam Flannery, who kicked some inspirational scores when they were most needed.

 

After a quiet second half, Mayo joint-captain Diarmuid Duffy began to cut loose and was unlucky not to raise at least one green flag.

 

At one point he came within a coat of paint of hitting the back of the net, only to see his shot blast off the post and fly across the goalmouth.

 

On another occasion the able Matthew Coyne was called into action to deny Duffy a goal that would have put Ballinrobe ahead with eleven minutes remaining.

 

The crucial final quarter saw us go twelve minutes without scoring as ‘Robe hit four on the bounce to push themselves two in front.

 

The light of summer was fading, but Ballintubber sprits stilled burned like a beacon of hope.

 

A 59th minute free put us back within a point as we learned there would be two minutes of added time.

 

Every second counted, and not a second was wasted as our lads mounted one valiant final stand as the seconds ticked down in injury time.

 

Our efforts were rewarded when Michael Donnelly won an advanced mark shortly after coming on the pitch, but he directed the free mere inches wide of the post.

 

The final whistle was greeted with disappointment, but also a sense of pride from the Ballintubber faithful who had just seen the next crop spare absolutely nothing in pursuit of victory.

 

Ballintubber squad: Matthew Coyne, Ciaran Heneghan, Darragh Fahey, Ethan Lyons, Martin Fox, Jack Prendergast, Luke Biggins, James King, Cathal Flannery, Sean Duffy Josh Mahon, Sean Hynes, Cillian Joyce, Rory Cunningham, Dean O’Malley, Rory Óg McConnell, Brendan McNally, Stephen Burke, Gavin Murphy, Cathal Walsh, Michael Donnelly, James Ryan, Nathan Gibbons, Darragh Joyce

 

Ballintubber scorers: Josh Mahon (0-6, 4f), Stephen Burke (0-3, 1 ’45), Cathal Flannery (0-2, 1f), Dean O’Malley (0-1)

 

Ballintubber management: Donal Hallinan, Cathal Hallinan, Seanie Larkin, Paul Earley, Colin Derrig

 

Referee: Sean Tolan

Div 1 Relegation Playoff Ballntubber v Louisburgh

August 20 2022

Mayo Senior Football League Division 1 Relegation Play-Off

Ballintubber 1-12 Louisburgh 1-9

 

Division 1 football has been secured for another year as our seniors survived a second half scare to see off Louisburgh, who have been relegated to the second tier of the Mayo Senior Football League.

 

Enda Gilvarry started a highly experienced team that included five-time Moclair Cup winners; Cillian O’Connor, Jason Gibbons, Brendan Walsh, Alan Plunkett and Gary Loftus.

 

Every second of that experience was needed to steer us through the choppy waters created by the men from Clew Bay heading into the final quarter.

 

Playing on a rain-soaked home turf, we dominated our foes in possession and overwhelmed them on the kickout.

 

Solid but not devastating in our play, we ruled the middle third, particularly in the first half.

 

Cillian O’Connor, Stephen O’Malley, Ciarán Gavin and Alan Plunkett were at times telepathic in their link play, hitting all but two of our scores.

 

Former Mayo captain Cillian O’Connor bagged a superb goal while O’Malley and Plunkett once again played with cuteness and accuracy.

 

Our work around the middle was another big positive. On several occasions, Louisburgh attacks were snuffed out before they even got going.

 

With Diarmuid O’Connor tagging his former Mayo Minor teammate Padraig Prendergast, Jason Gibbons won a serious amount of ball at midfield and was at the heart of our best work.

 

Likewise, Keelan McDonnell had a huge amount of possession as we had the middle third to ourselves for long periods.

 

With just three points from play, our opponents simply couldn’t match our strength in depth.

 

The introduction of Bryan Walsh and Brian Murphy was a sign that our squad is almost back to full health ahead of our much-anticipated championship meeting with local rivals Mayo Gaels.

 

It had rained heavily all morning prior to the highly unusual throw-in time of 12 o’clock, creating the kind of conditions that might have suited a bigger team like Louisburgh.

 

Instead, our opponents made unforced errors, struggled to win and retain possession and were unable to get the ball to their danger men.

 

We hit 0-5 without reply in the first ten minutes, but Louisburgh were their own worst enemy on the kickouts.

 

Facing off against arguably the best midfield pairing in the county was never going to be an easy task.

 

But yet, the men of the west kicked an inexcusable amount of ball straight into our hands in the first half.

 

As a result, Gilvarry’s men made hay on a wet day around the middle, with Jason Gibbons catching several marks.

 

We hit five points before Louisburgh even raised a flag, with Cillian O’Connor, Ciarán Gavin and Stephen O’Malley all on the mark.

 

Our men landed a big blow when Cillian caught a lovely ball from Joe Geraghty before spinning away masterfully and rifling the ball into the net – something slightly reminiscent of Joe Canning’s dimension-bending goal against Kilkenny some years ago.

 

Louisburgh eventually 17th minute through a Dylan Prendergast free but didn’t score from play until the 34th.

 

The elder O’Connor hit a lovely free straight over the ‘black spot’ at the end of the first half to put us 1-5 to 0-2 in front at half-time.

 

Without setting the damp Clogher sod alight, we continued to trek along nicely in the second half.

 

Operating effectively at full-forward and centre-forward, Cillian O’Connor nearly put Louisburgh heads dropping when he drove an ambitious shot at Louisburgh goalie Shane Nallen mid-way through the half.

 

Things continued to look good when Diarmuid O’Connor hitting the kind of score that he has struck for Ballintubber and Mayo for many years.

 

We looked safe when the evergreen Alan Plunkett kicked us seven points in front in the 50th minute, but that was when Louisburgh hit their purple patch.

 

The spark was ignited when Martin Ball volleyed a loose ball past Brendan Walsh as the game entered the home stretch.

 

For the first time, Louisburgh were genuinely taking the game to us, but our ability to hold possession under pressure stood to us more than ever.

 

Two massive Louisburgh frees had them within two points of us, but we worked the ball up to Stephen O’Malley won a mark before directing the winning point over the bar in the 62nd minute.

 

All eyes now turn to September 4th, when we welcome our neighbours from Mayo Abbey to Clogher for a not-to-be-missed Round 1 Championship clash.

 

Ballintubber team: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)F Bourke (4)Jack Walsh (5)Keelan McDonnell (0-1) (6)Joe Geraghty (7)Hugh Geraghty (8)Jason Gibbons (9)Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1) (10)Noel Geraghty (11) Cillian O’Connor (1-3, 3f) (12)Stephen Burke (13)Ciarán Gavin (0-2) (14)Stephen O’Malley (0-3, 1 mark) (15)Alan Plunkett (0-2)

 

Substitutions used: Myles Kelly for Hugh Geraghty (42 mins), Brian Murphy for Gary Loftus (47 mins), Josh Mahon for Noel Geraghty (48 mins), David McHale for Jason Gibbons (51 mins), Brian Walsh for Stephen Burke (56 mins)

 

Referee: Sean McAndrew

Under-15 Division 3 League Semi-final

August 2 2022

Under-15 Division 3 League Semi-final

Breaffy 3-8 Ballintubber 2-13

It’s one more county final appearance for our underage footballers, this time at the expense of our local rivals Breaffy.

Less than a month after our neighbours beat us by four points in a shootout in this very venue, our Under-15s had the last laugh in another Western-style gunfight of a game.

Attack was the order of the day, and in that regard both sides obliged.

With seven unique scorers – including five of the forwards – this was a real fifteen-player effort from Tony Duffy, Ronan Mannion, Michael Prendergast and Ciaran Gavin’s men.

Conor Hoban was way out in front of the scoring charts with 2-5 to his name (including three frees) – no small achievement for the youngest player on the panel.

The lad of thirteen summers had two goals, but we could potentially have had three or four before full-time.

Instead, we remained within a point or two of the opposition for the entire game, which certainly preserved the entertainment value.

Having taken the lead through a Hoban goal in the first minute, our concession of three goals in fifteen minutes was almost calamitous.

A well-saved Tiernan Brady penalty also went against us after wing-forward Tom Murray won the spot kick.

Nonetheless, we regain our composure and were back within a point of the opposition before half-time after five points from Conor and William Hoban and midfielder Sean Feerick.

We were spared a fourth goal towards the very end of the half when Breaffy drove a penalty high and wide of the goal.

Trailing 1-6 to 3-1 at half-time, the second half was equally as testing.

Proceedings began brightly when Conor Hoban found the net for a second time before the hard-working half forwards Sean Mannion and Nathan Heneghan got in on the scoring.

The impressive Heneghan kicked us in front for the fourth time when he landed his second score in the 42nd minute.

However, the opposition still had a lot of fight in them and were in contention right until the final whistle.

We could have ridden off into the sunset but for two fantastic saves from the Breaffy goalie to deny Keith Malone and Tiernan Brady in the final minutes.

Scores from Tom Duffy and Tom Murray in the vital closing stages were enough to see us through by two points.

We meet The Neale in the final, which is currently fixed for Tuesday August 9.

 

Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Luke Prendergast (2)Padraig Kilcoyne (3)Jack Diffily (4)Finian Brady (5)Timmy Quinn (6)William Hoban (0-1) (7)Oran Murphy (8)Keith Malone (9)Sean Feerick (0-2, 2f) (10)Sean Mannion (0-1) (11)Nathan Heneghan (0-2) (12)Tom Murray (0-1) (13)Conor Hoban (2-5, 3f) (14)Tom Duffy (0-1) (15)Tiernan Brady

Referee: Jimmy Feeney

Ballintubber v Castlebar Mitchels Rd 7 League Div 1

Ballintubber v Castlebar Mitchels Rd 7 League Div 1

July 30 2020

Mayo Senior Football League Round 7
Ballintubber 0-5 Castlebar Mitchels 3-9
Our seniors have finished second from bottom of Division 1B of the Mayo Senior Football League after failing to score from play in a thirteen-point defeat to Castlebar Mitchels.
There have been so many ferocious, highly competitive clashes between ourselves and Mitchels over the years, but this wasn’t one of them.
The absence of several key players caught up with us more than ever as a near-full strength Mitchels had the game won at half-time.
Operating with fifteen men behind the ball at times, Mitchels were nearly impossible to break down in wet, greasy conditions that made the ball like an indestructible water balloon.
David Stenson, Ethan Gibbons and James Durcan were all to the fore in the Castlebar forward line as we struggled to get the ball into the danger zone, almost to the point of failure.
It took thirteen minutes for this game to produce any kind of a score when David Stenson kicked his first before the opposition landed their first goal two minutes later.
This blow was met with a positive reply from Cillian O’Connor, who’s low shot forced an excellent save form Mitchels goalie Rory Byrne.
It was all of 24 minutes before a long-range O’Connor free finally got us off the mark, but by then we were four points behind.
The half ended on a complete downer when the flying James Durcan blasted over the bar after aiming for the goal.
But the worst came five minutes later when Durcan caught a wet ball brilliantly before turning and forcing a great block from Finian Bourke, but neither Finian nor Frank Walsh could keep out Durcan’s rebound.
Little changed regarding the run of play in the second half - Mitchels continued to defend in big numbers and we were unable to find a way though the yellow phalanx.
The visitors made it 2-4 to 0-1 within a minute of the throw in before David Stenson ended the contest when he raised a green flag in the 32nd minute.
Any score we did get over the next half hour came from frees, which were mere bandages on a gaping wound.
This turned the second half into a rain-sodden procession, which ended with Mitchels topping the league and our seniors finishing second from bottom.

Ballintubber team that lined out: (1) Frank Walsh (2) Gary Loftus (3) John Kerrigan (4) Finian Bourke (5) Jack Walsh (6) Joe Geraghty (7) Hugh Geraghty (8) David McHale (9) Ciaran Gavin (0-1, 1 mark) (10) Josh Mahon (11) Alan Plunkett (12) Keelan McDonnell (13) Noel Geraghty (14) Cillian O’Connor (0-4, 3f, 1 mark)
Substitutions used: Nathan Gibbons for Noel Geraghty (55), Cathal Flannerty for Matthew Fox (60), Martin Fox for Gary Loftus (60)
Referee: John Glavey

U13 Division 1 League Final vs Westport

U13 Division 1 League Final vs Westport
July 21 2022

Mayo Under-13 League Division 1 Final


Ballintubber 1-12 Westport 1-8


Days like these are to be treasured.


Long before we danced under the bright lights of MacHale Park on those golden autumn days of 2010, 2011, 2014, 2018 and 2019, we had days like these.
Years before our county stars went toe-to-toe with Goliath - be it in MacHale Park or Croke Park – they were slaying Goliath at underage level, far away from flashing cameras and television screens.


Our Under-13s did this for the second time in seven days when they toppled the mighty Westport en route to a historic four-point county final win/
Not a week after they beat Castlebar Mitchels in a classic in Ballintubber, our young cadets have now conquered the club with the third-biggest pick in the county.


It was truly a comprehensive, assured and skilful display by this group, who have been under the capable stewardship of club stalwart Michéal Hoban and his dedicated lieutenants. Renowned as a midfield general in his playing days, Hoban’s soldiers were armed and equipped with all the skills, fitness and talent you need to compete at such a high level.


Only once did we trail in the entire game, when we leaked a free to in the third minute. After that, we controlled every aspect. Restricted to one hop and one solo, we moved the ball with skill, pace, purpose and precision. We were fair and uncompromising in the tackle, constantly looking for the player in the better position, and ruthless in our score-taking.
There was never going to be a runaway victory here.


Much like our gallant Castlebar Mitchels opponents, Westport rocked up to Castlebar with no shortage of talent. However, an outstanding display by our middle eight snuffed out most enemy attacks before they got going.
We were made to work for every single score, and that we duly did.


The uncharacteristic concession of a goal in the fourteen minute was a real stone in the shoe for our lads - e kept on running but couldn’t get far enough ahead for comfort. It wasn’t until Finian Brady crashed a rocket into the net with five minutes to go that we were able to breath and anticipate the sweet taste of county glory.
The goal was a long, long time in the making.


We got the basics right from the very start, getting off the mark in the seventh minute when Brady tipped over two points. Minutes later Noah Donnelly sent over a point from an angle Ciaran McDonald would not have attempted. Despite having all the possession and dominating every inch of the vast, carpet-like MacHale Park surface, we still shipped a rather unlucky goal just before the water break.


A high, hopeful ball fell to the right man, in the right place, who swung a leg at it and stuck it in the net, putting Westport a point up. Our discipline and fitness ensured that no panic ensued. Slowly but surely, we worked our way back in front, with our inspirational captain Conor Hoban leading the way.


He hit two points – one of which was a free that bounced over the bar á la Colm Coyle in 1996 – keeping the ‘Tubber in contention. Hoban swapped frees with Westport danger man Fiachra O’ Cinnseala to leave us 0-6 to 1-2 ahead at half-time. We should have been further ahead at this stage, but that early goal would keep our opponents in the game for a long time to come. There was no let up in our display at the resumption.


Conor Hoban released a warning shot when he drove up the middle and blasted a shot on goal narrowly wide. Westport levelled three minutes after the restart before Finian Brady kicked us back in front after being well set up by Adam Burton.


Target man Dermot Kelly doubled our lead with his fist as the Westport defence was given a stern stress test. We were denied the chance to go five points up when the outstanding Richie Finnerty had a shot saved by Westport’s impressive goalie Jack Collins. A pair of Conor Hoban frees but us five up, but there was more to come.


Westport reminded us that they had not gone away as they kicked the next three scores to tee up the kind of final quarter that every Mayo supporter can relate to.
But Michéal Hoban’s warriors weren’t going to leave it late. Our captain Conor Hoban hit his sixth point of the afternoon to put us two ahead with eight minutes remaining before we produced the coup de grace.


Having been unable to sit still for more than 50 minutes, supporters leapt in adulation and relief when Rory McGreal sent a kick-pass from heaven into Finian Brady, who showed equal skill and conspire in finishing an excellent goal.
Hoban added his seventh and final score, but Westport fought on to narrow the gap back to four.


But deep down, everyone knew that our boys were never going to be beaten.
Within seconds of the full-time whistle, the green sod of MacHale Park was bedecked with Red and White. Smiles of delight were etched onto every face of all those who had just seen out club win Division 1 underage silverware for the first time in nearly a decade.


Hands were shaken, tears were shed and hugs were exchanged before our best and brightest young footballers ascended the stand with their chests out and their heads held high. Conor Hoban from Errew delivered an acceptance speech with the eloquence and maturity of someone twice his age, and one that John Feeney, Tom Early, Jason Gibbons and Damien Coleman would have been proud of.


Former chairman, county stars, current and ex-club players and small army of mammies and daddies were among those who lingered, chatted and dissected what had just transpired for ten or fifteen minutes after all was said and done.
From there, a Red and White convoy assembled at the car park before making the short victory parade back to the kingdom that stretches from Errew to Kilawalla and back to Annies.


A feast of pizza and sweets was held in our Clogher clubhouse for a fine group that will be at the top table of Mayo football for some years to come.


Days like these are to be treasured.


It’s likely that these boys will have plenty more of them.


Ballintubber scorers: Conor Hoban (0-7, 5f), Finian Brady (1-3, 1f), Noah Donnelly (0-1), Dermot Kelly (0-1)


Ballintubber squad: Christopher Feeney, Cian Brady, Tiarnan Walsh, Eoghan Lyons, Cillian Donnelly, Finian Brady, Noah Donnelly, Conor Hoban (captain), Darragh Breslin, Rory McGreal, Cillian Reilly Richie Finnerty, Conor Fahey, Dermot Kelly, Niall Spellman, Ryan Summerville, Noah Murphy, Adam Burton, Ethan Clarke, Ethan Nally, Jack Loftus, Sean Prendergast, Matthew Corbett, Mattias Dolan, James Staunton, Conor McDonagh, Ross Malone, Cian McDonagh, Daithi Feerick, Ryan McDonnell, Ciaran Early, Darragh Kay, Aaron Foley


Ballintubber Under-13 team management: Michéal Hoban, Cathal Hallinan, Eamon Thomas, Lyndon Reilly, James Corbett, Iver Loftus, Steven Clarke, Micheal Prendergast


Referee: Walter Doherty
Photos by Tom Quinn

U13 League Div 1 Semi Final v Castlebar Mitchels

July 14 2022

U-13 League Division 1 League Semi-Final

Ballintubber 2-11 Castlebar Mitchels 2-9

 

An Under-13 team full of future Ballintubber stars booked their place in the Under-13 Division 1 Final after an enthralling victory over Castlebar Mitchels on Thursday evening.

 

With arguably the two best teams in the competition going head-to-head, this was always going to be a thrilling affair.

 

Michéal Hoban's side were made to work for every inch of ground against an impressive Castlebar Mitchels team, who kept the game tight until the bitter end.

 

Páidí Ó Sé’s iconic phrase ‘a grain of rice is going to tip the scale’ would have been a sage assessment when the teams were tied 2-7 apiece at the second-half water break.

 

Mitchels pointed shortly after the restart before the excellent Conor Hoban kicked three inspirational scores, including a boomer from distance and a screamer from the right wing.

 

From then on, the momentum was firmly with the Red and White, who kicked the winning point through centre-back Finian Brady.

 

Overall, this game looked less like a weighing scale and more like a two highly energetic ten-year-olds on a see-saw.

 

Rarely did more than two points separate these two teams, who matched each other for skill, speed and fitness.

 

The mighty Mitchels announced their arrival almost immediately when they opened the scoring with a goal less than two minutes in.

 

To lesser team, being dealt such an early blow would have prompted a slackening of shoulders and a bowing of heads.

 

Not so with this determined and talented bunch, who responded with a point from Dermot Kelly before Cillian Donnelly volleyed in a goal after Conor Hoban dropped a dangerous ball into the danger zone.

 

Mitchels pressed on with the fire and ruthlessness that has characterised their underage teams for many years.

 

The lads from the county town kicked three more before Conor Hoban ended the drought with a free in the 18th minute, just after the water break.

 

Another Mitchels point was nullified by a good long-range effort from Hoban before Cillian Reilly knocked over his first, leaving the scores at 1-4 each at half-time.

 

Only a brave man would have called a winner at this stage, for a similar arm-wrestle ensued at the resumption.

 

Richie Finnerty hit the first score of the half before Mitchels hit three on the bounce.

Adam Burton proved inspirational when he reached for the sky to punch the ball into the net after another well-directed Conor Hoban free.

 

Having narrowly missed the target with a daisy cutter just seconds earlier, Burton made had amends by kicking one of the most pivotal scores in the game.

 

Our opponents reminded us once again that they weren’t going to be beaten until the final whistle when they produced Goal Number Two.

 

Cillian Reilly’s second point levelled the game for the fourth time just before Mel Kenny blew for the second-half water break.

 

The sos uisce allowed our lads to regroup, reorganise and ultimately plan a Conor Hoban-inspired counterattack that would see them out with two points.

Ballintubber now meet Westport in the Division 1 League Final, whom we overcame 3-8 to 0-10 in our last meeting in Westport.

 

Ballintubber team that lined out: Christopher Feeney; Cian Brady, Tiernan Walsh, Eoghan Lyons; James Staunton, Finian Brady (0-1), Noah Donnelly; Conor Hoban (0-6, 3f), Darragh Breslin; Conor Fahey, Cillian Reilly (0-2), Richie Finnerty (0-1); Cillian Donnelly (1-0), Dermot Kelly (0-1), Niall Spellman

Substitutions used: Adam Burton (1-1)

 

Referee: Mel Kenny

 

Photos by Oisín McGovern and Tom Quinn

 

Senior League Div 1B v Ballinrobe

July 17 2022

Mayo Senior Football League Division 1B

Ballintubber 2-11 Ballinrobe 2-7

 

Our seniors took their first league win from five games as we overcame Intermediate side Ballinrobe in sweltering conditions on Sunday.

 

Diarmuid O’Connor’s return to the red and white jersey could not have come at a better time, for he was instrumental in us snatching two valuable league points.

 

Coming in on the back of a 20-point hammering against Westport, Ballinrobe were well in contention for most of this encounter.

 

The South Mayo men hit a goal in each half, but a much improved second half steered the ship home for our men with four points to spare.

 

At the helm was Diarmuid O’Connor, who consistently reminded us of just how much we missed him through two well-taken points and his influence on general play.

 

Likewise, Alan Plunkett played like a man of far less than 37 summers and continues to age like an old fiddle.

 

Similarly, Ciaran Gavin really came into game in the second half and was a genuine threat at full-forward.

 

Lining out without several key players, we got off to a fairly decent start in the 25-degree heat.

 

We showed well early on, with Diarmuid O’Connor and Alan Plunkett striking three times in the first ten minutes.

 

However, things went badly wrong when Ballinrobe midfielder Ewan Duffy caught a kick-out before sprinting and then teeing up Liam Burke for Ballinrobe’s first goal.

 

An easy Ciaran Gavin free levelled the game mid-way though the first half, but Ballinrobe continued to win a fair bit of ball around with middle and really tested out defence.

 

Before the half was over Hugh Geraghty drove over a point while Gary Loftus drove up the field to hit a badly needed leveller with a minute ‘till half-time.

 

The first half ended 1-3 to 0-6, shortly after Jason Gibbons limped off with a hamstring injury.

 

The heat may well have exacerbated the slow tempo, as both teams continued to make basic errors in the second half.

 

But ‘Tubber ignited after ten minutes or so when Ciaran Gavin set up young Josh Mahon for a goal in the 42nd minute.

 

From then on, we played far more like the team that won five county titles in a decade.

 

One man who was there for every one of them, Alan Plunkett, was simply superb.

Time and again, Pudsy’s game intelligence complimented a Ballintubber attack that made hay off quick, direct ball.

 

When Pudsy and Diarmuid later combined to set up Ciaran Gavin for the goal that ultimately sealed the game.

 

Another Plunkett point followed by a scorcher from Noel Geraghty had us sailing eight points ahead.

 

Ballinrobe clawed back a goal when Ryan Corcoran sent a daisy cutter passed Brendan Wlash, but it wasn’t enough to put them back in contention

 

Enda Gilvarry’s men face another absolute must-win league game against Mayo Gaels this weekend.

 

Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (0-1) (3)John Kerrigan (4)Finian Bourke (5)Myles Kelly (6)Joe Geraghty (7)Stephen Burke (8)Jason Gibbons (9)Hugh Geraghty (0-1) (10)Keelan McDonnell (11)Noel Geraghty (0-3, 1f) (12)Diarmuid O’Connor (0-2, 1 ’45) (13)Josh Mahon (1-0) (14)Ciaran Gavin (1-2, 1f) (15)Alan Plunkett (0-2)

 

Substitutions used: David McHale for Jason Gibbons (30, inj.); Gavin Roache for Gary Loftus (35, inj.), Matthew Fox for Stephen Burke (45), Nathan Gibbons for Alan Plunkett (58), James McGing for Josh Mahon (62 mins)

 

Referee: Kieran Barnicle (Breaffy)

 Report by Oisin McGovern

Photos by Tom Quinn

Senior League Rd 3 Ballintubber v Westport

MATCH REPORT

June 18 2022

Mayo Senior League Round 3

Westport 1-11 Ballintubber 0-12

 

Our seniors have suffered their third defeat in three Mayo Senior League games despite a spirited comeback against Westport yesterday evening.

Despite falling seven points behind at three different stages, our lads fought back as only they can to push the Covies all the way until the end.

Ultimately, it was a second half goal from Conal Dawson which made the difference, a goal which came from one of several turnovers we conceded.

Still without the O’Connors, Bryan Walsh, Michael Plunkett, Brian Murphy and Damien Coleman, we once again place out bets on youth and experience.

We had some good flashes of play, but we still yielded far too many turnovers and saw too many of our attacks come a cropper.

We have Frank Walsh to thank for keeping us in the game with a number of impressive saves.

Likewise, the experience of Alan Plunkett, Jason Gibbons and Gary Loftus wasn’t found wanting when the heat came on.

Stephen O’Malley’s six points, including one super effort late in the second half, made him our top scorer once again.

However, the had his work cut out with the amount that we conceded in the first half.

After ‘Pudsy’ opened our account in the third minute, Westport hit eight points without reply over the next 22 minutes.

Shane Scott was a real handful at full-forward, hitting three points before moving to midfield in the second half where he also excelled.

Frank Walsh stopped one of his goal attempts with his legs while another shot flew narrowly over his crossbar.

Westport could have been way out of sight by the time Stephen O’Malley broke a 25-minute scoring drought with a free.

Trailing 0-9 0-2 at the break, we began the second half positively with scores from O’Malley and Noel Geraghty.

Frank then came to our rescue yet again when he stopped Paul Lambert’s attempt after Finbarr McLaughlin turnover over the ball near our goal.

We responded with three points in a row, including one tasty over-the-shoulder effort from ‘Bales’.

We restricted Westport to one score from play in the second half, but it was the score that would win them the game.

With 46 minutes gone, corner-forward Finbarr McLaughlin won the ball back before it had cleared ‘Tubber’s 20-yard line and handed it off to Conal Dawson.

Not even Frank Walsh could keep out the finish from young Dawson, who was one of Westport’s best performers.

True to the spirit that won five county titles, our men pressed on and hit the game’s last five scores through Plunkett, Noel Geraghty and O’Malley before Gibbons kicked our twelfth.

If we had more time, we might well have squeezed out the two-point gap. But it was not to be, and we remain winless at the bottom of Division 1B.

 

Ballintubber team that lined out: Frank Walsh; Gavin Roache, John Kerrigan, Jack Walsh; Stephen Burke, Finian Bourke, Myles Kelly; Hugh Geraghty, Jason Gibbons (0-1), Ciarán Gavin, Alan McHale, Keelan McDonnell; Noel Geraghty (0-3, 3f), Stephen O’Malley (0-6, 4f), Alan Plunkett (0-2)

 

Substitutions: Gary Loftus for Myles Kelly (39), Martin Fox for Stephen Burke (49), Matthew Fox for Ciarán Gavin (54), David McHale for Hugh Geraghty (55)

 

Referee: Shane Corcoran (Islandeady)

KELLY CUP RD 1 2022

26 March 2022

Kelly Cup Round 1

Ballintubber 2-14 Louisburgh 0-7

 

Our seniors kick-started their season with a comprehensive and convincing away win over Louisburgh on an evening where the sun shone its heavenly rays on Clew Bay.

 

Enda Gilvarry’s young side, nearly all under the age of 30, were a step about their opponents in every area of the field and had the game wrapped up at half time.

 

It was an altogether different performance to what we produced when the Clew Bay men defeated us convincingly in Clogher last year.

 

Our superior fitness and conditioning yielded dividends in the amount of possession, turnovers and scores we created throughout the sixty minutes.

 

Our use of the kick pass was particularly incisive, allowing Ciaran Gavin and Stephen O’Malley to cause all sorts of problems for a Louisburgh full-back line that was a yard or two off the pace.

 

There was little sign of any early season cobwebs as we tackled well, passed the ball impressively and kicked some fine scores along the way.

 

The opening fifteen minutes were fairly even, with Louisburgh’s big men Oisín Lally and Padraic Prendergast looking like they might cause some trouble for a Ballintubber defence that was missing Gary Loftus.

 

However, with Kevin Gibbons and Dylan Prendergast missing for the West Mayo men, our full-backs didn’t have much to trouble them for most of the game.

 

Our opponents’ poor passing was easily mopped up by a ‘Tubber defence that was sharp and tenacious all evening.

 

Frank Walsh’s only major action was to produce a save after Padraic Prendergast put a powerful fist to an innocuous looking high ball.

We began to properly rock and roll mid-way through the second half when Stephen Burke – lining out at wing-back for the first time – sent a beautiful pass into Stephen O’Malley, who took his mark before kicking us 0-4 0-3 ahead.

 

Then began a period of play which in which we left our opponents reeling by kicking 1-8 before half-time.

 

Ciaran Gavin, Keelan McDonnell, Jason Gibbons and Stephen Burke all got in on the scoring act was we began to totally dominate proceedings.

 

We were eight points to the good just before half-time when Hugh Geraghty played in Gavin, who raised a green flag with a powerful shot into the bottom of the net.

 

Come half-time we were in cruise control, with the scoreboard reading 1-12 to 0-4.

 

Large parts of the second half were a non-event.

 

The gap between senior and intermediate was magnified as a frustrated Louisburgh side looked devoid of ideas and completely outplayed by our men.

 

The hosts would not find the posts until the 55th minute when Oisín Lally knocked over a monster score from out near the butt of Croagh Patrick.

 

Likewise, our lads didn’t produce anywhere near the same number of scores as they did in the first half.

 

The loss of the game’s top scorer Stephen O’Malley to a second yellow card blunted our attack, but we were still a long way in front.  

For a long time, it appeared as if an O’Malley free and a point from Alan McHale would be our only scores of the second half.

 

Undeterred, we conjured a lovely move at the end which ended in Hugh Geraghty hand passing across the goal mouth for Ciaran Gavin to palm home.

 

Louisburgh hit the last three scores of the evening, but it was far too little, far too late for the intermediate outfit.

Onwards an upwards!

 

Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Frank Walsh (2)Jack Walsh (3)John Kerrigan (4)Finian Bourke (5)Stephen Burke (0-1) (6)Joe Geraghty (7)Gavin Roache (8)Jason Gibbons (0-1) (9)David McHale (10)Darragh McGovern (11)Keelan McDonnell (0-1) (12)Hugh Geraghty (0-1) (13)Ciaran Gavin (2-3, 1f) (14)Stephen O’Malley (0-6, 3f, 2 mark) (15) Aaron Lally (0-1)

 

Substitutions used: Alan McHale for Keelan McDonnell (39), Cillian Joyce for Gavin Roache (42), Tom McGing for Frank Walsh (52), Aaron Lally for Dean Loftus (55), Sean McEvilly (56)

 

Referee: Brian Kilkelly

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