Minor C Football Championship Final Saturday October 22nd
Ballintubber 2-10 1-12 Ballaghaderreen
Congrats to our Minor team who left it late to claim the honours in Hollymount on Saturday where a late Stephen O’Malley free turned out to be the difference between 2 well-matched sides. Played in dry,cool and sometimes sunny conditions on a badly cut pitch, the game ebbed and flowed where each team had their purple patches. In the end it turned out to be a few players from the bench that swung the game around along with a game-changing goal from the battling midfielder Hugh Geraghty whose pressure forced the Ballaghaderreen sub-keeper to fumble the ball. The Abbeysiders started brilliantly and were 6 points up inside the opening 10 minutes as right-corner-forward Jamesie Finnerty was unmarkable as he kicked 5 top class points in this spell. At full-forward Noal Geraghty was also proving to be a menace to the Ballagh’ defence as he also got on the scoresheet. Strong play and excellent fielding from Darragh McGovern insured sufficient supply of ball but slowly the East Mayo side got to grips with the marksmen. In fact one of the biggest roars of the day saw Ballaghaderreen full-forward Thomas Dillon race through the Ballintubber defence to hammer a goal past the despairing dive of Niall Staunton. This goal re-invigorated the East Mayo side as the hit a further 4 points to suddenly lead with the interval approaching. However the boys of the ‘tubber settled with late frees from Stephen O’Malley and Jamesie Finnerty ensured a half-time lead of 0-8 to 1-4.
Ballintubber began the second half-brightly as player of the match Jamesie Finnerty used his wizadry to squeeze inside the opposition defence to competently point this time with his right foot. Disappointingly the lead was short-lived as the team in all white took over completely for the next quarter when they kicked over the games next 7 points to lead deservedly 1-11 to 0-9. It was hard to see how Ballintubber were going to get back into the game, however a high ball into the Ballagh’ full-back-line broke to the best sharpshooter on view as Jamesie Finnerty’s goal brought life back into this sides challenge. While a pointed free from Ballaghaderreen full-forward Thomas Dillon did follow, the game seemed to be swaying back to the ‘tubber. Further pressure saw midfielder Hugh Geraghty avail of a goalkeeping fumble to score his sides second goal and turn the game on its head. With the teams now level and time running out, it was up to who wanted it most and the next major incident saw Ballintubber warrant a free where the cool head of Stephen O’Malley kicked over the winning score. While both sides did push for another score it took a brilliant intercept from wing back Jack Jensen to break up the border teams final attack and guarantee the honours for the boys in red. It is good to see young promising talent coming through the ranks again from Minor and follows on from last Saturday’s Under 13’s success. The Ballintubber defence were under the cosh for long periods’ however steady goalkeeping from Niall Staunton along with excellent defending from the likes of Finian Bourke at full-back as well as Sean McNally and Luke Murphy in the corners. Captain Gavin Roache led the way from centre-half-back while the versatile Jack Jensen and Aaron McDonnell made telling contributions as did substitute Cillian Redmond. The midfield partnership of the high-fielding Darragh McGovern along with the physical Hugh Geraghty enjoyed stages of dominance while the games final goal came down to alertness and persistence from the Cortoonbower native. The half-forward line battled also despite spending spells defending where Ciaran Gavin at 10 came good in the closing moments while the unusually subdued Stephen O’Malley got the games most important score with Killian O’Brien getting through a lot of ball especially in the opening half. The full-forward line nailed 1-8 with Jamesie Finnerty looking very sharp any time he was in possession where on occasion he had 2 markers trying to close out his game. However the numer 13 still ended with a return of 1-7 while he worked well with full-forward Noel Geraghty who also was on the scoresheet. At number 15 Louis Hoban did well while his replacement Alan McHale won the vital free that was converted to decide the game. Congrats also to the Management team of Mike Murphy, Pat Barrett, Martin Costello and Alan Larkin who got this team in good shape where hopefully further success will follow in the coming years. Note due to this game along with tomorrow’s County Semi-Final, the West Mayo Junior B Final has been deferred to a later date.
Ballintubber team that lined out – Niall Staunton, Sean McNally, Finian Bourke, Luke Murphy, Jack Jensen, Gavin Roache (Capt), Aaron McDonnell, Darragh McGovern, Hugh Geraghty (1-0), Ciaran Gavin, Stephen O’Malley (0-2,2f), Killian O’Brien, Jamesie Finnerty, 1-7, 1f), Noel Geraghty (0-1), Louis Hoban. Subs used – Cillian Redmond for Luke Murphy, Alan McHale for Louis Hoban, Matthew Fox for Killian O’Brien