Mayo U21 final win 2000

November 7, 2018

Ballinrobe show true grit to overhaul Kilmaine in local derby


Ballinrobe   0-12

Kilmaine     1-7


By Michael Commins


In the soft aftermath glow of this intriguing local derby, the outpouring

of emotions ran high. ‘Mighty’ was a word to some up the feelings of the

Ballinrobe players and supporters as they laid claim to the Mayo U-21 ‘A’

trophy for the first time ever. County honours in any gaelic grade have

been rather rare for Ballinrobe in recent years and this was surely an

occasion to cherish, a time to celebrate, and a day they would remember

with affection for a long time to come.

It was won the hard way, coming from five points in arrears, but one could

also empathise with how the Kilmaine players felt on the day. Two points

ahead with eight minutes of normal time to play, they still looked likely

winners until Ballinrobe’s sprint finish changed the ending.

All week the build-up had been intense. Ballinrobe was decked out in the

club colours while Kilmaine’s support was as loyal as ever on the day.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 people were present for the local derby clash that

had dominated talk in these parts of South Mayo over the last few days.

Roundfort School Band led the parade and soon the action was underway on a

glorious Summer’s day.

At times during the first half when the Ballinrobe flame was in danger of

being quenched, the exploits of Micheal Keane must be recorded for

posterity. Deer-like he darted through the Kilmaine defence, a sense of

expectation accompanying his every move. Dodging and weaving with artistic

skill and sublime pace, Keane managed to steady the Ballinrobe ship as it

made its way through some very choppy waters.

Nor can the arrival of Alan Murphy be overlooked on this special day for

Ballinrobe. Murphy, who has played underage soccer at international level

for Ireland, was terrific when introduced to the action after 20 minutes.

Five points adrift at that stage, he kicked two fabulous points for

Ballinrobe that re-invigorated the team and brought them right back into


 Numerous positional changes marked the start of the game and a lively

opening five minutes saw the teams tied at two points each. Andrew Casey

curved the ball sweetly through the Ballinrobe posts following a fine

delivery from Alan Burke. Mark Walkin pointed from a free and then Harry

Murphy edged Ballinrobe ahead after a pass from Kevin Feerick. But from

once Alan Burke raced through to land the equalizer for Kilmaine, the lads

in the red and green jerseys swung into action and soon Ballinrobe were

reeling under a barrage of swift attacking football as Kilmaine took a grip

on the match.

A measure of their dominance during this spell of the game manifested

itself in the 9th minute with a marvellous move from one end of the field

to the other, instigating by the excellent Donncha McDonagh and carried

along by Alan Burke and Paul Doherty before Andrew Casey was fouled in

front of goal. Casey popped the free over the bar and four minutes later

added a fine point from well out the field.

In between, Ballinrobe were awarded a penalty but Keith McTigue’s effort

was very well saved by Enda Loughlin. Kilmaine, with Pat Kelly giving an

exhibition at midfield and Alan Burke working extremely hard and with

classy performances from a number of players including Donncha McDonagh and

Mark O’Brien, rocked Ballinrobe in the 18th minute when Andrew Casey gave

Paul Tiernan no chance with a great goal following a wonderful move

featuring Brian Maloney, Alan Burke and Paul Doherty.


Ballinrobe spirit


Five points clear and very much on top, Kilmaine looked a good bet at this

chance. But the arrival of Alan Murphy had a profound effect on the

Ballinrobe team. Within minutes, he carved out two marvellous points from

play. Suddenly, you could sense a new spirit in the Ballinrobe team. It was

also aided by some resolute rearguard action, especially by Anthony

O’Toole, Padraig Costello, Ruairi Keane and David Colleran.

Heads were lifted again and Sean Grimes came close to raising a green flag

when his effort from 30 yards cme back off the crossbar. And two fine solo

runs by Liam Butler and ‘Speedy Gonzales’ Keane resulted in the latter

shooting a lovely point. With Kilmaine ahead by 1-4 to 0-5 at the interval,

nobody was going home for the tea.

In retrospection, a timely block down save by Paul Finnerty in the first

minute of the second half was to prove decisive. Pat Kelly had soloed right

through the defence but Finnerty got down to make the crucial block. Still,

Kilmaine bounced back with Kelly again leading the charge and Casey adding

the finish.

Ballinrobe responded with what was to be a critical score, a great piece of

work involving Harry Murphy, Alan Murphy and Micheal Keane with Keane

shooting a crafty point. No surprise to find that it was Keane who

registered their next point too from an incredibly tight angle. The

Kilmaine forwards dissipated a number of good scoring chances at this vital

stage of the game when a little more accuracy may have tilted the scales in

an irreversible manner.

David Colleran and the splendid Anthony O’Toole tore down the field and

Alan Murphy once again displayed his versatility when swinging over his

third point of the afternoon and Ballinrobe were now back on level terms

with thirteen minutes left on the clock.

When Paul Doherty from play and Andrew Casey from a free put Kilmaine two

points clear, Ballinrobe’s resolve was tested to the limit. But with

whole-hearted spirit they fought back. Micheal Keane laid a nice pass out

to Ronan Macken and he did very well to hit the target with his first

attempt. And with just three minutes of normal time to play, Sean Grimes

moved the ball to the flying Micheal Keane who swerved briskly into space

and planted the equaliser.

Another day out looked the most likely outcome but Ballinrobe pressed again

and when Alan Murphy was fouled, Mark Walkin converted the free. Kilmaine

had a glorious chance to snatch victory a minute later when a long delivery

from Patrick Kelly found Joey Maloney well placed and as he rounded Paul

Tiernan his drive for goal crashed into the side-netting and wide. Two

minutes later, Aiden Golden provided the pass for Sean Grimes to extend the

lead and Ballinrobe cheers echoed around Hollymount as referee Vincent

Neary sounded the full-time whistle.

Anthony O’Toole and Padraig Costello turned in strong performances in the

Ballinrobe fullback line with Paul Finnerty coming much more into the game

during the second half. Paul Tiernan was a very competent goal. Ruairi

Keane and David Colleran also coped admirably with the challenge of the

Kilmaine half forward line. Sean Grimes and Harry Murphy had a real duel

with their Kilmaine opponents and this was a very evenly contested sector.

Micheal Keane was truly outstanding while Alan Murphy was the kind of sub

that any team would love to bring into the action. His contribution was

central to the Ballinrobe success story. Liam Butler was another to turn in

a solid performance while Aidan Golden, Mark Walkin, Keith McTigue and

Ronan Macken also had good spells during the afternoon.

Patrick Kelly and Alan Burke served Kilmaine exceptionally well at

centrefield and made a huge contribution to the team. So do did the

great-hearted Donncha McDonagh while Mark O’Brien was consistent from start

to finish. Andrew Casey and Paul Doherty were the most effective players in

the Kilmaine attack. Enda Loughlin did well as goalie, John Donnellan

worked hard in the defence while Johnny McDonagh, Declan Heneghan and Conor

Maloney were others to the fore.

Amid much excitement, the Cup was presented to Sean Grimes by P.J. McGrath,

chairman of the Mayo GAA Board. The U-21championship was sponsored by

Supermacs. Sean Grimes is a lucky captain … he was also at the helm when

Ballinrobe Community School won the All-Ireland Colleges ‘B’ Final in 1999.

Full credit to both teams for what was a very sporting occasion and it was

clear there was a great sense of respect among the players of both teams

for each other.

Ballinrobe: P. Tiernan, P. Costello, P. Finnerty, A. O’Toole, C. Killeen,

R. Keane, D. Colleran, S. Grimes (0-1), H. Murphy (0-1), L. Butler, A.

Golden, M. Walkin (0-2), K. Feerick, M. Keane (0-4), K. McTigue. Subs: A.

Murphy (0-3) for K. Feerick, R. Macken (0-1) for C. Killeen.

Kilmaine: E. Loughlin, J. Donnellan, D. Murphy, D. McDonagh, K. Coyne, M.

O’Brien, J. McDonagh, P. Kelly, A. Burke (0-1), C. Maloney, B. Maloney, D.

Coyne, D. Heneghan, A. Casey (1-5), P. Doherty (0-1). Sub: D. O’Dea for D.

Murphy, J. Maloney for D. Coyne.

Referee: Vincent Neary (Bonniconlon).