The Neale make their point at the death

GAA: Mayo IFC Final; The Neale 1-12 Ballyhaunis 1-11

On the up: The Neale celebrate winning the Mayo Intermediate championship. Photo: Mayo GAA

On the up: The Neale celebrate winning the Mayo Intermediate championship. Photo: Mayo GAA

The bonfires will be burning in south Mayo this weekend after The Neale claimed their first ever Mayo Intermediate Football Championship in dramatic circumstances.

They trailed by four points at the break - but a run of 1-5 between the 35th and 46th minute laid the foundation of a historic win for the south Mayo men.

Ballyhaunis hit the ground running with a point from Jason Collins after a six minutes as both sides started slowly.

Tommy Conroy who had top class game further cementing his place as one of the young guns to watch out for levelled it up three minutes later with a sweet effort from out on the left.

Five minutes later Ballyhaunis had a great chance for a goal when Coyne got in behind the over by the ball was saved by Patrick Hopkins and in the next play Sean Cosgrove hit the first of his seven points over the evening from a free.

However a minute later Ballyhaunis would rattle the back of the south Mayo stoppers net when John Cunnane got in after a quick free by Coyne and put two points between the sides.

Keith Higgins stretched the east Mayo men’s lead out to three points a minute later and another Coyne effort had the lead at four points before Stephen Morrin responded for The Neale.

Ballyhaunis reeled off points from Patrick Kiely and Callum Gardiner to five clear as they looked like they were taking control of the game. Cosgrove kicked a vital point to bring the distance back to four points after Conroy was fouled just before the break.

The scoring started within 15 seconds of the restart with Eamonn Phillips putting Ballyhaunis six clear again - but the contest was going to swing in the favour of south Mayo men.

Cosgrove reeled off three points from frees inside three minutes and then Brian O’Halloran cut the gap back to a single point on 42 minutes.

Just a minute later The Neale hit their goal through Conroy who showed great poise to finish deftly past Adrian Phillips to put his side two points up and a minute later Cosgrove put his side three clear through another pointed free and then Conory stretched their lead out to four and they looked to be heading for the title.

Ballyhaunis weren’t going to bend their knee without a fight though and Phillips kicked two points in quick succession and Coyne cut the gap back to one and as the game moved toward it’s final minute of normal time Phillips levelled it up and a replay looked on the cards.

Hoever The Neale went back down the field and Padraic Walsh edged his side back in front - before Brian O’Neill levelled it back up once more and the next score was going to be vital.

That score went to The Neal - Conroy won the ball back in the middle of the field and he broke for goal and set up Cosgrove who held his nerve and arched the ball over the bar to seal a famous win for the men from The Neale.

Scorers

The Neale: S Cosgrove (0-7 ), T Conroy (1-2 ), S Morrin (0-1 ), P Walsh (0-1 ), B O'Halloran (0-1 )

Ballyhaunis: E Phillips (0-4 ), J Cunnane (1-0 ), Jason Coyne (0-3 ), C Gardiner (0-1 ), K Higgins (0-1 ), B O'Neill (0-1 ), P Kiely (0-1 )

The Neale: P. Hopkins; D Morrin, M Varley, P McGrath; B O'Halloran, S Conroy, S Morrin; D Moran, A O’Sullivan; J. Duffy, F Sweeney, S Cosgrove (0-7 ); O Connolly, P Walsh (0-1 ), T Conroy (1-2 ). Subs: A Varley, D Keane.

Ballyhaunis: A Phillips; B Hunt, J Cunnane (1-0 ), Jack Coyne; C Freeley, K Higgins (0-1 ), J Sutton; K Kirby, K Byrne; C Gardiner (0-1 ), E Collins, P Kiely (0-1 ); L Herr, E Phillips (0-4 ), Jason Coyne (0-3 ). Subs: B O'Neill (0-1 ), M Lyons, D Cunnane, K Gallagher.

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