Ulster Bank (Galway ) 3-7
Hollister (Mayo ) 2-9
The Ulster Bank won their first Connacht title when they defeated Hollister (Mayo ) thanks to a late point by Gerard Heneghan in an exciting final which was played in the Connacht Centre Of Excellence on Monday evening.
Heneghan top-scored for the Galway outfit with (1-4 ) with Jonathan Macken and Pat Lynch also raising the green flag for Ulster Bank.
In a keen opening, it was the Galway side who drew first blood in the opening minute when Keith Rutledge was on target. Heneghan from a placed ball doubled Ulster Bank’s lead minutes later. Hollister were soon back on level terms when Simon Jordan and Tom Horkan were on target.
The Ulster Bank regained their two point lead with scores from Heneghan and Aidan Geraghty. Then came their first goal. A great ball from Keith Ruttledge found Lynch inside who fired home to put the Ulster Bank in the driving seat.
This was to prove to be the Ulster Banks’s final score of the half as Hollister finished the half the stronger. Two Simon Jordan points and a Keith Loftus goal sent the sides in level at half time at 1-4 apiece.
Hollister edged in front early in the second half before the Ulster Bank blitzed the Mayo side with 2-1 to lead by six after 39 minutes.
After a terrific Paul Flaherty run through the heart of the Hollister defence, before feeding Macken who fired home. Lynch added a free before they were awarded a penalty which Heneghan dispatched to leave the Ulster Bank six clear.
However, not for the first time, it was Hollister who responded to the challenge with a goal and two points from sharp shooter Jordan to leave the minimum between the sides with eight minutes remaining. Loftus levelled the contest with a fine score with six minutes remaining. It was end to end stuff in an exciting climax.
After going almost 15 minutes without a score the Ulster Bank responded yet again, Heneghan edging them in front with a fine score out on the left with four minutes remaining. However, Barry Leonard quickly levelled to set up a grandstand finish.
Then came Heneghan’s match winning score. Hollister had a late chance to force extra time but it was the Ulster Bank who held on to claim a historic success.
They now march on to the All-Ireland semi-final with a clash with the Leinster champions in the new year.
Ulster Bank: R Meehan, B Crowe, M Walsh, C Kirrane, J Healy, R Lavelle, S Ruttledge, P Flaherty, A Geraghty (0-1 ), D Joyce, G Heneghan (1-4, pen, 2f ), P Healy, K Ruttledge (0-1 ), J Macken (1-0 ), P Lynch (1-1, 1f ).
Subs: S Killeen.
Hollister: P Munnelly, P Loftus, B Leonard (0-1 ), C Grealish, M Tighe, J Walsh, K Earlis, B Murphy, S O’Malley, M Noone, T Horkan (0-1 ), P Padden, G Maughan, S Jordan (1-6, 5f ), K Loftus (1-1 ).
Subs: S Regan, C Judge, P Walsh.
Referee: G McMahon.