Senior Championship Semi-Final Sunday October 23rd
Castlebar Mitchels 1-11 1-5 Ballintubber
Our Senior teams Championship campaign ended tamely in sunny McHale Park on Sunday when a sharper, hungrier Castlebar Mitchels deservedly booked the last final place. On a day where both semi-finals were expected to entertain the large crowd but in truth no game raised anything above mediocre. The Abbeysiders were on the back foot from the opening play where the loss of playmaker Alan Dillon became more and more obvious as the hour developed. The Mitchels led 0-6 to 0-2 at the break and in truth they should have been further out in front as the boys in white took 25 minutes to get on the scoreboard. Mitchels full-forward Neil Douglas led the way inside the opening 20 seconds and he continued to prove a real menace throughout the game while he ended with a total of 0-7 mostly from frees. The movement of the townside throughout the created numerous chances while the predictable short passing of Ballintubber really never opened up the holders defence until the games final score. Even the normally reliable Cillian O’Connor missed a standard free before the interval whistle, however he did score his sides second score courtesy of another free only moments beforehand. It should be also noted that both teams did suffer from the controversial black card as Damien Coleman was the first recipient while Castlebar midfielder Aidan Walsh was the games second receiver.
The expected Ballintubber comeback did get underway when another converted Cillian O’Connor free saw just 3 points although an underhit back pass from Diarmuid O’Connor saw the alert Neil Douglas almost get the games first goal but his attempt just went over. With scoring chances limited to the Ballintubber attack, their last 2 points followed where again Mayo captain Cillian O’Connor converted. Suddenly there were just 2 points between the sides although a harsh black dished out to Ballintubber substitute Declan Larkin turned out to be an opportunity for the boys in their alternative yellow strip. Neil Douglas punished the Abbeysiders again to push his side 0-8 to 0-5 in front but attacks from deep from Donal Newcombe and Ray O’Malley had the game nearly finished. Despite the best efforts of Frank Walsh in the Ballintubber goal, the pressure from the Castlebar attack eventually yielded the games opening goal while a final pointed free from player of the match Neil Douglas had the game over at 1-11 to 0-5. The Abbeysiders started to play the ball a bit more direct in the closing minutes where the hard-working Diarmuid O’Connor’s persistence saw the ball end up with midfielder turned full-forward Danny Geraghty who found the net although the score was nothing but a mere consolation. There was no denying who the better team were but there will be huge disappointment in the Abbeysiders display as this team are worthy of much better.
Ballintubber team that lined out – Frank Walsh, Gary Loftus, Brian Murphy, Myles Kelly, Michael Plunkett, Cathal Hallinan (Capt), Ruaidhri O’Connor, Danny Geraghty (1-0), Jason Gibbons, Damien Coleman, Diarmuid O’Connor, Bryan Walsh, Damien McGing, Cillian O’Connor (0-5, 5f), Alan Plunkett. Subs used – Declan Larkin for Damien Coleman B/C, Stephen Broderick for Damien McGing, Conor Finnerty for Declan Larkin B/C, Padraig O’Connor for Alan Plunkett