Match Reports



March 16th 2019 Kelly Cup Semi-Final

Ballintubber 0-8 Burrishoole 2-7

Our interest in the Kelly Cup was ended by Burrishoole in Islandeady today, with a pair of second half goals from the Clew Bay side proving enough to see them through comfortably. Despite an impressive first-half showing from the Red and White we were well off the pace in the second half, with wet and windy weather conditions doing us no favours. In the end we never came close to turning Burrishoole over as we only pointed twice in the second half.

A quartet of points from the Abbeysiders saw us take a three point lead after 11 minutes. It was in the first half that we played out best football, with young guns Keelan McDonnell and Stephen O’Malley pointing while Ciaran Gavin landed three white flags in his first outing of the season.

With us leading by a point at the break, Burrishoole were a different team in the second half. We were left reeling when they netted a goal after Tom McGing’s punched clearance fell in the direction of their corner-forward who soccer-styled to the back of the net.

From then on, we lost our shape as the men from the barony pointed two more unanswered scores. It wasn’t until the 16th minute that Alan Plunkett pointed our first score of the half before our opponents killed off the game when David Hanley slid a low shot home for their second goal, leaving the scores at 2-7 to 0-7 with less than fifteen minutes remaining.

Facing into a more defensive Burrishoole unit as sleet began to fall, we failed to find a way back into the game, with a solitary point from Padraig O’Connor at the death proving to be the only dent we could make in our opponents lead.

Attentions will no doubt now turn to the opening round of the Mayo Senior League, where we will once again lock horns with Breaffy with an almost full complement of Mayo players available to both sides.

Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Tom McGing (2)Myles Kelly (3)Gary Loftus (4)Finian Bourke (5)Damien Coleman (6)Hugh Geraghty (7)Jarlath Staunton (8)Brian Walsh (9)Ciaran Gavin (0-3, 2f) (10)Keelan McDonnell (0-1) (17)Alan Plunkett (0-1) (12)Noel Geraghty (30)Jamsie Finnerty (14)Padraig O’Connor (0-1) (15)Stephen O’Malley (0-2, 2f)

Substitutions used: Seanie Larkin for Gary Loftus, John Kerrigan for Jarlath Staunton, Darragh McGovern for Jamsie Finnerty, Matthew Fox for Noel Geraghty, Gavin Roache for Keelan McDonnell, Kevin Shannon for Myles Kelly

March 3rd 2019 – Kelly Cup Round 3

March 3rd 2019 – Kelly Cup Round 3

Ballintubber 3-14 Castlebar 1-9

Our seniors claimed their first win of the 2019 season today as we dealt a heavy defeat to a severely under-strength Castlebar Mitchels side. While it was nowhere near the gladiatorial two-game saga we witnessed between these sides back in October, this was nonetheless an entertaining and open affair for most of the afternoon. Despite a sub-par second half display, an emphatic first-half scoring blitz meant that this was a done deal at half-time. If nothing else it was a timely reminder of what we are capable of when we click as Kevin Johnson’s men played some lovely attacking football at times.

Mitchels had initially led briefly at the start when points from Conor Melvin and Eamon Tierney cancelled out Jason Gibbons’ fisted point. Three unanswered points the followed from Keelan McDonnell, Gibbons and Stephen O’Malley before a Michael Plunkett free found Brian Walsh to drill home our first goal. From then on, we were well in front. Four points followed from Noel Geraghty, Stephen O’Malley and Stephen Finnerty before Padraig O’Connor set up Michael Plunkett for the Mayo panellist to fire a low shot into the net.

Mitchel’s weren’t for rolling over though, as they pointed three scores of their own before Conor Melvin beat Brendan Walsh to land the visitors’ only goal. We stretched our lead yet again as Stephen O’Malley and Jason Gibbons landed points as the Red and White began to really put the foot down. When Michael Plunkett raised a second green flag with a low shot after an assist from Brian Walsh, the contest was effectively finished Jason Gibbons pointed his fourth score in what was a very impressive half-hour from the man from Annies, leaving the score at a staggering 3-11 to 1-6 at the break.

With management making four changes at half-time, the second half proved to be a much less exciting affair, with Mithels only landing two points while we failed to score from play. Tubber’s young guns showed well during this time, with Darragh McGovern, Gavin Roache, Matthew Fox, Jack Walsh and goalkeeper Niall Staunton all getting game time. Three pointed frees from Noel Geraghty, Stephen O’Malley and Padraig O’Connor were all we chalked up in the last half-hour with the elder O’Connor coming close adding a fourth goal for us at one point.

Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Joe Geraghty (4)Finian Bourke (5)Seanie Larkin (6)Hugh Geraghty (7)Jarlath Staunton (8)Brian Walsh (1-0) (9)Jason Gibbons (0-4) (10)Noel Geraghty (0-3, 2f) (11)Michael Plunkett (2-0) (12)Keelan McDonnell (0-1) (13)Stephen Finnerty (0-1) (14)Padraig O’Connor (0-1, 1f) (15)Stephen O’Malley (0-4, 2f)

Substitutions used: Gavin Roache for Jarlath Staunton, Matthew Fox for Stephen Finnerty, Darragh McGovern for Michael Plunkett, David McHale for Jason Gibbons, Kevin Shannon

for Gary Loftus, Jack Walsh for Finian Bourke, Oran Scully for Hugh Geraghty, Niall Staunto



February 24th 2019

Kelly Cup Round 2

Ballintubber 0-11 Westport 1-9

Our seniors fell short this afternoon against a Westport side that were a fraction sharper and more clinical both on and off the ball. It could’ve gone either way, but our lads lacked a killer edge that might’ve seen us come away with a win today. Stephen O’Malley was our main man up front while last year’s Minor captain Finian Bourke marked his first Senior start with a typical no-nonsense display at corner-back.

It was a brilliantly-taken goal from Westport that proved to be the game’s decisive moment, as it drove a wedge between both teams that we couldn’t plug in the second half. Deprived of the services of three of the O’Connors and Mayo U20s Jamsie Finnerty and Ciarán Gavin, the Red and White will no doubt shift gears in the coming weeks as the Senior League approaches.

With Clogher temporarily decommissioned, Ballintubber Resource Centre hosted Tony Duffy’s up-and-coming Westport team. Playing on a heavy surface, it was the visitors who started stronger. Their tally read 1-6 by the 22nd minute after Westport’s wing-back nestled the ball in the back of the net after firing a bullet of a shot across the goal past the outstretched Tom McGing. Two Noel Geraghty frees were all we accumulated in that period of time before Brian Walsh pointed our first score from play. Points from Alan Plunkett and another Noel Geraghty free followed, brining our half-time tally to 0-5.

Stephen O’Malley was our stand-out player over the sixty minutes, winning plenty of frees in the first half before swinging over his first dead ball shortly after the restart. The former Rice College marksmen pointed a lovely effort from play before the evergreen Alan Dillon kicked a peach of a point from distance shortly after being introduced.

Colm Moran was a constant thorn in our side, kicking a fine score along with midfielder Shane Scott to push the Covies three-points in front again. O’Malley and substitute Stephen Finnerty swung over frees before the end, but an equaliser proved elusive. The fresh legs of Damien Coleman, Jarlath Staunton, and Stephen Finnerty helped us make one last push for a draw, but Westport did not yield. Stephen O’Malley saw a final shot fly wide at the very end, as the whistle blew exactly on the hour mark, leaving Tony Duffy’s side to come away with both points.

Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Tom McGing (2)Gary Loftus (3)Joe Geraghty (4)Finian Bourke (5)Seanie Larkin (6)Hugh Geraghty (7)John Kerrigan (8)David McHale (9)Jason Gibbons (10)Noel Geraghty (0-4, 4f) (11)Brian Walsh (0-1) (12)Keelan McDonnell (13)Alan Plunkett (0-1) (14)Padraig O’Connor (15) Stephen O’Malley (0-3, 2f)

Substitutions used: Alan Dillon (0-1) for David McHale, Damien Coleman for Seanie Larkin, Jarlath Staunton for John Kerrigan, Stephen Finnerty (0-1, 1f) for Alan Plunkett

Kelly Cup Round 1

Kelly Cup Round 1
February 17th 2019 
Kelly Cup Round 1 
Ballintubber 0-8 Breaffy 0-8 
There’s rarely more than a kick of a ball between these two teams and that was exactly how it panned out today as we shared the points with Breaffy in Ballyheane. In truth, this was true February football as far as the scoreboard and the overall atmosphere was concerned. Nonetheless, a relatively young Ballintubber team showed well for most of the game against a very evenly matched Breaffy team. Senior debuts were handed out to Keelan McDonnell and substitutes Finian Bourke and Matthew Fox, with manager Kevin Johnson no doubt looking to strengthen the depth of his panel in the run-up to the opening round of the championship. 
With both teams lining out without any of their Mayo Senior or U20 players, corner-forward Stephen Finnerty opened the scoring for the Red and White followed by points from team captain Alan Plunkett and Stephen O’Malley. All the while full-back battled diligently with Breaffy danger man Liam Irwin, with the Cartoonbower man ensuring that the former Minor and U21 All-Ireland winner didn’t register a score from play by full time. 
Although we strung together some nice passing moves against the wind, we only registered one more score before the half time whistle through Noel Geraghty as the score read 0-4 a piece at the break. 
With neither team firing on all cylinders, the second half would prove to be a similar low-scoring affair, far removed from the white heat of the championship which we witnessed back in October. A pair of frees from Stephen O’Malley and a single from Alan Plunkett put us a point ahead before Darragh McGovern was red-carded for a high challenge midway through the half. Now with an extra man, the home team pressed forward, threatening the goal on at least two occasions without forcing a save from Brendan Walsh. However, their accuracy was very poor and we went a point in front when substitute Padraic O’Connor pointed after a neat exchange with Alan Plunkett. Breaffy struck an equalizer shortly afterwords but neither team could strike the killer blow in the remaining seven minutes, meaning it was honours even at Jarlath Killeen’s full-time whistle. A home encounter with Mitchels awaits us in Round 2. 
Ballintubber team that lined out: (16)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Joe Geraghty (4)Jarlath Staunton (5)Seanie Larkin (6)Hugh Geraghty (7)John Kerrigan (8)David McHale (9)Brian Walsh (10)Keelan McDonnell (17)Alan Plunkett  (0-2) (12) Noel Geraghty (0-1, 1f) (13)Stephen Finnerty (0-1) (14)Darragh McGovern (15)Stephen O’Malley (0-3, 3f) 
Subs used: Padraic O’Connor (0-1) for Stephen Finnerty, Finian Bourke for Jarlath Staunton, Matthew Fox for Stephen O’Malley, Kevin Shannon for John Kerrigan

U21 B Championship

December 2nd 2018

Mayo U21 ‘B’ Championship Group 3

Kilmeena 4-9 Ballintubber 0-17

Our interest in the U21 ‘B’ Championship was ended in Ballintubber this afternoon at the hands of a battling Kilmeena outfit. Having beaten us at home in this competition last year, an audacious four-goal smash ‘n’ grab in the second half was enough to see the lads from Clew Bay run out four-point winners. 
Despite falling short at the group stages today without the services of the inured Stephen O’Malley and Finian Bourke, this group has certainly shown some promise under the mentorship of Damien Coleman, Cathal Hallinan, Stephen Broderick and Seanie Larkin. All but a few of those that featured today will be eligible for this grade next year, and will no doubt feature heavily for our Juniors and Seniors in the near future.
Played out in wet, slippery conditions, we pointed in the first minute through Parke native Jack Doocey, who gave an excellent display at midfield today in his adopted Red and White jersey. Kilmeena then rattled off five unanswered scores, with danger man Jack Carney leading the way in the scoring. Matthew Fox and Hugh Geraghty then pointed before Noel Geraghty took his point when a goal was on. Three frees from Senior regular Ciarán Gavin and a neat point from Jamsie Finnerty left us us 0-8 0-6 ahead at the break.
We shifted up a gear after the throw-in, with Jack Doocey, Cillian Redmond, Darragh McGovern and Keelan McDonnell all pointing to give us a commanding seven-point lead. The white flag had barely been raised to signal Keelan McDonnell’s score when a slick passing move from the visitors saw Jack Carney firing home their first goal. We were hit another right hook a minute later when a high ball was fielded on the end line by a Kilmeena player who passed to his midfield partner Ryan McGonigle to raise a second green flag.
A point from Jamsie Finnerty stretched our lead back to two as we headed into the final ten minutes, but Kilmeena were very much now smelling blood. Disaster struck in the twenty-fifth minute when a high ball was mishandled by ‘Tubber shot-stopper Niall Staunton before being bundled into the net by an alert Kilmeena player.
Having been seven points ahead earlier on in the half, we now found ourselves trailing a rampant opposition by a point. Despite our best efforts, Kilmeena were now very much in the driver’s seat as Jack Carney fired over a single. We were then clinically finished off when one of the visitors’ subs drove a piledriver of a shot past Aaron Mannion towards the end of normal time.
Not content to accept our fate, we pushed hard in injury time for a draw that may have seen us through to the knock-out stages. Jamsie Finnerty fired over the last score of 2018 by a Ballintubber player to bring the deficit back to four, but it made little difference to a Kilmeena outfit that ran out deserved winners in the end.
Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Niall Staunton (2)Jack Walsh (4)Luke Murphy (5)Aaron Lally (6)Hugh Geraghty (0-1) (7)Ciarán Gavin (0-5, 5f) (8)Jack Doocey (0-2) (9)Keelan McDonnell (0-1) (10)Matthew Fox (0-2, 1f) (11)Noel Geraghty (0-1) (12)Cillian Redmond (0-1) (13)Jamsie Finnerty (0-3) (15)Darragh McGovern (0-1)
Substitutions used: Alan McHale for Matthew Fox, Paddy Burke for Darragh McGovern, Gavin Roache for Aaron Lally, Louis Hoban for Noel Geraghty


Connacht SFC Final

Connacht SFC Final

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U21 B Championship

Ballintubber GAA
Published by Mike Murphy23 hrs

November 18th 2018
Mayo U21 “B” Championship 
Ballintubber 2-9 Burrishoole 1-12
Our U21 team had to be satisfied with a draw in Newport today as Burrishoole came from behind to salvage a point. Despite being deprived of some of our best players in Senior panellists Ciaran Gavin, Jamsie Finnerty and the injured Stephen O’Malley, our lads gave a good account of themselves on their first day out as team.
Having lead by seven points at one stage, our scoring came to a complete halt for the rest of the game. This gave the home side enough time to level matters though a Fintan McManamon free which proved to be their final kick of the game.
Playing with the breeze underneath glorious sunshine, we were undoubtedly the better team in the first half. The influence of senior regulars Damien Coleman and Cathal Hallinan certainly appeared to rub off on their young side, judging by the manner in which we contested and won several 50/50 balls. 
Leading the line at full-forward, Darragh McGovern pointed our first score with scarcely thirty seconds played. Points followed from Alan McHale and Noel Geraghty before Burrishoole’s scorer-in-chief Fintan McManamon pointed his first free. We then strung together six successive scores, including three superb efforts from Hugh Geraghty and Keelan McDonnell. 
With us leading 0-9 to 0-4 at the start of the second half, Fintan McManamon fired the home side firmly back into contention with a free before finding the net after seeing his initial shot saved by Niall Staunton.
However, his green flag was cancelled out promptly when Darragh McGovern won a penalty for us in the seventh minute. There was no better man to dispatch the spot kick than Ballyglass FC regular Keelan McDonnell, who blasted it hard and low to put us four points in front again.
We added a second goal two minutes later when Darragh McGovern lashed the ball into an empty goalmouth after a beautiful exchange of long and short passes between himself, Noel Geraghty and Alan McHale. 
The All-Ireland winner with Ballinrobe Community School nearly got a second goal when Alan McHales’s pass across the goal proved a touch too high for the man from Rinaneel. 
From then on the scores dried up as Burrishoole began to take control. The Lilly Whites pointed seven without reply as we simply couldn’t find the decisive score. Shortly after Fintan McManamon had pointed the equaliser Mel Kenny blew the final whistle, meaning we had to be content with a point.
While there was plenty of good to take from this performance, we were ultimately left to rue some poor missed chances in both halves which would have seen us through comfortably. With Ballinrobe having withdrawn from the competition, a win against Kilmeena ought to see Damien Coleman, Cathal Hallinan and Seanie Larkin’s charges progressing into the knockout stages.

Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Niall Staunton (2)Jack Walsh (12)Finian Bourke (4)Luke Murphy (5)Cillian Redmond (6)Hugh Geraghty (0-2, 1f) (7)Aaron Lally (8)Keelan McDonnell (1-1, 1P) (18)Jack Doocey (10)Alan McHale (0-1) (11)Noel Geraghty (0-4, 1f) (17)Matthew Fox (15)Darragh McGovern (1-1) 
Substitutions used: Gavin Roache for Aaron Lally, Louis Hoban for Matthew Fox

Report by Oisín McGovern

Connacht Semi Final v Aughawillan

Connacht Semi Final v Aughawillan

November 11th 2018 
Connacht Club Senior Football Championship Semi-final
Ballintubber 3-11 Aughawillan 1-8 
Four years on from our all-conquering 2014 season our senior team are back in the Connacht Club Senior Football Final after a convincing victory over Leitrim champions Aughawillan. Having overcame Castlebar, Breaffy, and Tourlestrane by only a single point, our lads had this one wrapped up long before the final whistle when we netted three-goals in less than ten minutes mid-way through the second half. While a brave Aughawillan side did claw back a goal later on, a comfortable nine-point winning margin meant that this one was certainly easier on the nerves than the four cagey encounters which preceded it!
It did take a while for both teams to get going. A Cillian O’Connor free was the game’s solitary score after ten minutes of play, during which time we clocked up at least five wides. In this time the Mayo captain nearly raised a green flag when he rattled the crossbar with an audacious attempt in the ninth minute. Another superb dead ball from distance by the Cranmore marksman was responded to by a pair of scores from brothers Gary and Mark Plunkett, levelling scores for the first time.
Our Alan Plunkett then conspired to push us back in front, pointing two scores of his own before winning a free in front of the goal for Cillian O’Connor to dispatch. Our captain Damien Coleman got on the score sheet with a point from wing-back while Brian Walsh split the posts from a very tight angle. A fourth Cillian O’Connor free saw us lead by three in the half-time, with a spirited Aughawillan still well within touching distance.
We flew out of the traps at start of the second half with Alan Plunkett’s third point and a pair of Cillian O’Connor frees. Our usually sturdy defensive line had something of a systems failure six minute in when Aughawillan’s Sean Flanagan almost walked through us before fizzing a low shot to the right and wide of Brendan Walsh. 
A free from Gary Plunkett reduced our lead to five points before Kevin Johnson sprung Jamsie Finnerty from the bench. Scarcely a minute on the pitch, Finnerty soccer-styled into the back of the net after the tireless Diamuid O’Connor carried the ball into the danger zone before the ball ricocheted of a number of players, with the opportunistic Finnerty eventually volleying it home.
The youngster from Ballintubber village bagged a second goal in the twenty-first minute when Brian Walsh turned over a ball before off-loading to Cillian O’Connor, who found Finnerty with a lateral hand pass which he palmed into the net. 
Finnerty then turned provider less than a minute later when he set up Alan Plunkett to fire home our third three-pointer after a signature attacking run by Diarmuid O’Connor.
Leading by thirteen with ten minutes to go, the job was all but done. A brave and battling Aughawillan kept the heads up and didn’t yield another score to us in the time that remained. Their star man Gary Plunkett fired over a super point before beating Brendan Walsh with a low shot after getting on the end of a high ball.
Somewhat unusually given the nature of our last few games, the final whistle came as a formality rather than a relief, as we won out in impressive fashion against a courageous and determined Aughawillan side. 
The greatest challenge in our 108-year history now lies ahead in the Connacht final in the form of All-Ireland champions Corofin. A shot at our first ever Connacht title against our old nemesis beckons once more on the November 25th. Baile an Tobair Abú!

Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Cathal Hallinan (4)Brian Murphy (5)Damien Coleman (0-1) (6)Michael Plunkett (7)Myles Kelly (8)Jason Gibbons (9)Diarmuid O’Connor (10)Ciaran Gavin (11)Alan Dillon (12)Alan Plunkett (1-3) (13)Brian Walsh (0-1) (14)Cillian O’Connor (0-6, 6f) (15)Stephen O’Malley
Substitutions used: Jamsie Finnerty (2-0) for Stephen O’Malley, Joe Geraghty for Gary Loftus, Padraig O’Connor for Cillian O’Connor, Declan Larkin for Myles Kelly, Noel Geraghty for Alan Dillon, John Kerrigan for Damien Coleman


Connacht Quarter Final

November 4th 2018 
Connacht Senior Club Championship Preliminary Round

Ballintubber 0-6 Tourlestrane 0-5

Well then... it certainly wasn’t one for the “purists”, whoever they may be.
In the end though our lads got the job done against a Tourlestrane outfit which could well guard Castlerea Prison with such an airtight defensive setup as was displayed today. Five frees from Cillian O’Connor and a solitary point from play from brother Diarmuid was enough to see us through to the semi-finals of the Connacht Senior Club Championship next Sunday.
Playing with an Atlantic breeze at our backs, Kevin Johnson’s home club put at least thirteen men behind the ball when we were in possession. What transpired was an intense but frustrating war of attrition which saw us spend the entire game trying to poke holes in the Tourlestrane blanket.
In a game which demanded such patient build-up play, Alan Dillon, Diarmuid O’Connor, Jason Gibbons and Michael Plunkett were excellent in holding and winning possession around the middle eight.
Our first point game came two minutes in when Cillian O’Connor landed the first of his five frees. Diarmuid then pointed our only score from play in the tenth minute, doubling our lead. 
Another converted free from Cillian in the twentieth minute extended our lead to three, as Eamon O’Hara’s men had still yet to get a score of any description. Their only point of the half did come eventually when their centre-forward Cathal Henry swung over a lovely effort with the outside of the boot on the stroke of half-time.
With many neutrals bemoaning the poor footballing spectacle which had transpired, the score read 0-3 to 0-1 in our favour at the break.
With the breeze dying down, Cathal Henry pointed the first point of the second half from a free one minute in. This was cancelled out by a free which Cillian O’Connor struck from the ground in the ninth minute. Tourlestrane then landed two points either side of another Cillian O’Connor free, leaving us 0-5 0-4 ahead mid-way through the half.
The Sligo champions then had a man sent off for a high challenge on Ruadhri O’Connor, but we still couldn’t push ourselves comfortably in front. Our only real goal chance saw Cillian O’Connor’s close-range pile driver blocked after being set up by our captain Damien Coleman. The Mayo captain then pointed our final score in the twentieth minute with a free off his left boot.
The final ten minutes were very cagey for the Red and White as Tourlestrane’s Cathal Henry reduced the deficit to a single score with three minutes remaining. A few testing balls sent towards the danger zone kept our full-back line on their toes as injury time loomed.
While we never landed a clinching score, we held on to the football in injury time long enough to prevail by a single point.
It was a day to forget for the game of football, but we got the job done. Up next are Aughawillan in Carrick-on-Shannon. Baile an Tobair Abú!

Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Cathal Hallinan (4)Brian Murphy (5)Damien Coleman (6)Michael Plunkett (7)Ruadhri O’Connor (8)Jason Gibbons (9)Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1) (10)Ciarán Gavin (11)Alan Dillon (12)Alan Plunkett (13)Bryan Walsh (14)Cillian O’Connor (0-5, 5f) (15)Stephen O’Malley
Substitutions used: Jamsie Finnerty for Stephen O’Malley, Padraic O’Connor for Ciarán Gavin, Myles Kelly for Gary Loftus



October 20th 2018

Mayo Senior Championship Final

Ballintubber 0-12 Breaffy 1-8

A season which began with a three-point Kelly Cup win over Breaffy in Arctic conditions in Clogher on February 25th climaxed in McHale Park this evening as we clenched the Paddy Moclair Cup after a hard-fought but thoroughly deserved win over the same opposition. After a championship campaign which at times pushed the skills, fitness, character, and mental and physical strength of our senior team right to the very limit, victory was no more than this group of men deserved.

It may not have been pretty at times, but if Kevin Johnson’s men have proved anything this year it’s that they will never be found wanting in terms of heart and determination when donning the Red and White jersey. After a titanic 160-minute battle with the mighty Castlebar Mitchels and then claiming the scalp of a hugely talented Breaffy outfit this evening, this particular County Title will be remembered as a testament to the character as much as to the footballing ability of this special group.

In the face of a defensive Breaffy unit, our lads had that little bit extra in every area of the field. Jason Gibbons and Diarmuid O’Connor had the edge at midfield while Cathal Hallinan, Brian Murphy and Gary Loftus were rock solid in containing the threat of Conor and Aidan O’Shea in the full-forward line. Up front Alan Dillon was once again our main creative spark and never wasted a single ball while Cillian O’Connor was simply a class act, kicking the bulk of our scores including two monster second half frees.

We initially were dealt a sucker punch only two minutes into a slow-burning first half when Aidan O’Shea caught a high ball at full-forward before charging towards goal where he was fouled by Cathal Hallinan. Referee Vincent Neary awarded a penalty which midfielder Peter Dravins dispatched past Brendan Walsh for the opening score.

Undeterred we responded when corner-forward Stephen O’Malley kicked our opening point five minutes in before Cillian O’Connor added two frees. Breaffy’s Gareth Dunne then kicked their only point from open play of the entire first half before captain Damien Coleman pointed. Two more Cillian O’Connor frees were responded to by a single free from Conor O’Shea, leaving the score at 0-6 to 1-2 at half time.

With Breaffy often massing thirteen or fourteen men behind the ball, the free-taking of Cillian O’Connor proved more valuable than ever as the Cranmore man landed a brilliant dead ball from distance for the opening score of the half. The ever-dependable Alan Dillon got his name on the score sheet with a point in the fourth minute before Cillian landed another screamer of a point a minute later.

All the while, our neighbours kept pace with points from Tommie O’Reilly and Robbie Fadden. Robbie Hennelly also added a ’45 but kicked at least three other dead balls wide, a statistic which ultimately proved very decisive in such a relatively low-scoring contest.

Cillian O’Connor landed yet another free from way out the field which Robbie Hennelly could only tip over the bar, pushing us two points ahead midway through the half. Tommie O’Reilly then pointed his second for his side before Stephen O’Malley kicked our eleventh point, even though one more pass could well have seen Cillian O’Connor rattle the Breaffy net.

Two Conor O’Shea frees levelled matters with five minutes remaining as our third game in a row went right down to the wire. In team abundant with leaders, it was the irrepressible Diarmuid O’Connor who produced one his signature booming strikes to swing over a fabulous left-footed effort to bag what would prove to be the winning score in the fifty-eight minute.

The five minutes of additional time which followed must’ve felt like an eternity to the lads on the pitch, with Aidan O’Shea hitting what would’ve been the equalizing free wide from out near the sideline.

The chance to seal the deal went a begging when Stephen O’Malley fired a point attempt wide, setting up some nerve-shattering final moments. Peter Ford’s men mounted one last attack, eventually getting a shot away which Brendan Walsh parried into space. After a mad scramble among five or six bodies the ball eventually found its way into Ballintubber hands. The glorious shriek of the final whistle followed seconds later, sending Paddy Moclair to spend the winter in the Abbey for only the fourth time in our history.


Ballintubber team that lined out: (1)Brendan Walsh (2)Gary Loftus (3)Cathal Hallinan (4)Brian Murphy (5)Damien Coleman (C) (0-1) (6)Michael Plunkett (7)Ruaidhri O’Connor (8)Jason Gibbons (9)Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1) (10)Ciaran Gavin (11)Alan Dillon (0-1) (12)Alan Plunkett (13)Bryan Walsh (14)Cillian O’Connor (0-7, 6f) (15)Stephen O’Malley (0-2)

Substitutions used: Jamsie Finnerty for Alan Plunkett, Myles Kelly for Gary Loftus, Padraig O’Connor for Ciaran Gavin, Joe Geraghty for Ruaidhri O’Connor