Report from 2000 Mayo Intermediate Final Win

November 7, 2018

Ballinrobe 1-21

Ballaghaderreen 0-6

Report by Stephen O’Grady

A PARADISE on earth is found for the footballers of Ballinrobe who have bridged a 21-year gap to rekindle a golden age for the club.

Fr. Gibbons Park was transformed to an Elysian Field of dreams as Peter Forde’s side gloriously completed its intermediate renaissance in

Claremorris on Sunday.

Static Ballaghaderreen were mesmerised as the South Mayo protagonists spun a magical web of sensational football during an opening half which will

live long in the memory of supporters of pure football.

The movement, the anticipation, the cohesion and the fluidity which marked their play throughout the first thirty minutes precipitated a 1-9 to 0-0

lead after twenty minutes and even though Gary Conway struck Ballaghaderreen’s opening score one minute later, it was already clear that  the East Mayo side had reached the point of no return.

Ballinrobe’s blistering start put and end to this Supermac’s final long before it started.  Less than ten minutes after Vincent Neary commenced proceedings on a noticeably soft turf, Ballaghaderreen were gasping for breath as their desperate attempts to gain a foothold in their first final since 1991 proved utterly futile.

Already their play was pockmarked by some inept passing, late tackles,uncertain handling and a fraying discipline which might have brought greater censure for Nathy Towey when he swung out at Adrian Flannery after just three minutes.

The alarm bells were triggered by Ballinrobe brilliance.  From the off, Seán Grimes and Fergal O’Loughlin bossed midfield, while the immense presence of Fergal Costello at centre-back merely augmented their dominance.

O’Loughlin sat between the 45 metre lines, minding a near impregnable house, while Grimes was unleashed on Ballaghaderreen’s already stretched defence.

The interplay between Grimes, Aidan Golden, Tony Walkin, Ruairí Keane and a revitalised Maurice Horan was, at times, truly immense.  The timing between run and pass approached telepathic levels, while the man on the ball inevitably made the right decision at the right time.  It was that kind of day for Ballinrobe.

It is especially impossible to ignore the influence of wing-forward, Adrian Flannery, and speedy corner forward, Micheál Keane, in the establishment of such supremacy.

Purposeful in his anticipation, Flannery consistently picked up loose possession around midfield to kick-start another rapier-like movement, while Keane’s voracity for possession and his speed off the mark gave Thomas Regan a headache from the outset.

Keane opened the scoring after only nineteen seconds.  Flannery drove over the second three minutes later as the pattern was imposed early on. Seán Grimes, linking first with Walkin and then with Keane, added two, and Maurice Horan benefitted from the efforts of Aidan Golden and Ruairí Keane to open his account, before his 11th minute goal.

This score evolved forty yards from goal where Tony Walkin superbly intercepted Richie Conway’s attempted pass and delivered long and early inside Kevin Cahill.  Horan collected and from eight yards saw his half-hit shot trickle past Pat Towey into the bottom corner.

Grimes, Walkin, Flannery and Micheál Keane compounded Ballaghaderreen misery with a string of points to open a 1-9 to 0-0 margin.

Paul McHugh and Christy McCann – Ballaghaderreen’s management team – responded by switching Luke Geever with David McKenzie, and when that move failed to reap any benefit by introducing club captain, James Mitchell.

Kevin Cahill moved out to pick up Tony Walkin first, and then Adrian Flannery. Ballaghaderreen lost the last ten minutes of the first half by 0-3 to 0-4

as the pride which one associates with the club began to reveal itself in their play.

To the forefront in this respect was excellent corner forward, Gary Conway, who fired over two fine points.  Barry McKenzie added the other, a wonderful effort from the left corner, as the efforts of Maurice O’Gara, James Mitchell and Kevin Cahill were rewarded.

The goal they so badly needed just wouldn’t come, however, although the vigilance of Donal Costello was required to clear Jimmy Quinn’s shot off the line in the 23rd minute.

Ballinrobe remained in control.  Fergal Costello, Tony Walkin and Micheál Keane all hit the target before a magnificent move involving the same three players culminated in a Ballinrobe penalty after Keith McTigue was unceremoniously chopped down by Ballaghaderreen keeper, Patrick Towey.

Towey – who produced a top drawer reflex save to deny Micheál Keane in the 25th minute – sustained a fractured shin-bone in the clash to be replaced by Barry Conway.  Conway watched Walkin’s penalty graze the top of the crossbar for another point and Ballinrobe led 1-13 to 0-3 at the break.

The trend endured in the second half as Grimes, Horan, Costello, McTigue, Walkin and substitute, Pat Kennedy, supplemented the winners’ tally.

They could afford the luxury of ten second half wides as Adrian Flannery, Grimes, Harry Murphy, Micheál Keane and Horan all spurned decent opportunities.

An exhausted James Mitchell kicked Ballaghaderreen’s only wide in the 40th minute.  For Ballaghaderreen, Conway remained a menace and often troubled Colm Jennings, while Mitchell was immense in the face of much adversity.

Campbell Brennan also came off the bench to good effect but Ballaghaderreen were more concerned about damage limitation at that stage. The East Mayo side were never allowed to perform anywhere near their potential by a side who clicked to perfection in the final hour of Peter Forde’s magical management spell.

Ballinrobe: Paul Tiernan; Colm Jennings, Paul Finnerty, Donal Costello; Ruairí Keane, Fergal Costello (0-2), Harry Murphy; Seán Grimes (0-5), Fergal O’Loughlin; Aidan Golden, Tony Walkin (0-4), Adrian Flannery (0-2); Keith McTigue (0-1), Maurice Horan (1-3), Micheál Keane (0-3).  Subs.: Pat Malone for M. Keane, Alan Flannery for C. Jennings, Peter Walkin for P. Tiernan, Pat Kennedy (0-1) for A. Golden, Anthony O’Toole for D. Costello.

Ballaghaderreen: Pat Towey; Luke Dillon, Kevin Cahill, Thomas Regan; Declan McHugh, Nathy Towey, Richie Conway; David McKenzie, Barry Colleran; Jimmy Quinn, Maurice O’Gara, Luke Geever; Gary Conway (0-2), Barry McKenzie (0-1), Barry Ryan.  Subs.: James Mitchell (0-3) for B. Colleran, Barry Conway for P. Towey, Philip O’Grady for N. Towey, Campbell Brennan for B. Ryan, Gerry Carmody for Quinn.

Referee: Vincent Neary (Bonniconlon).