Super sub Hession seals junior joy for Kilmaine

GAA: Mayo GAA Junior Football Championship Final; Kilmaine 1-13 Kilmeena 1-12

Up with the cup: Kilmaine claimed the Mayo GAA JFC title with a one point win over Kilmeena. Photo: Mayo GAA

Up with the cup: Kilmaine claimed the Mayo GAA JFC title with a one point win over Kilmeena. Photo: Mayo GAA

When Conor Madden decided to be the man to take on the last chance for Kilmeena to draw level almost seven minutes into injury time, every Kilmaine and Kilmeena supporter inside and outside the ground had their hearts in their mouths.

The big full back took aim from under the stand into the Bacon Factory end, he connected well the ball was heading in the right direction and looked like it might be, could be heading over the bar.

But it went the near side of the post and wide - the roar from the Kilmaine support was fulsome and ferocious as they knew then that they had claimed the Mayo junior title.

The south Mayo men were the warmest of warm favourites before the championship even started this year and on a sparkling sun speckled evening in MacHale Park - that heat could have gotten to them, but they had enough to get over the line.

Michael Hession introduced a sub early in the second half will be the hero - he finished up his evenings work with 1-2 to his name and game defining moment to remember, when he threw his body towards the ground and got a fist on the ball that had been blocked off an Oisin Mullin shot to the net and put his side three clear, just before the second half water break.

The game started in brightly for Kilmaine who found themselves four points to the good inside the opening 11 minutes with an Adam Barrett free and Oisin Mullin, Colin Hughes and Cathal Murphy also raising the white flag.

Kilmeena were struggling to get to the pace of the game early on, but a long range effort from Neil Ryan steadied their nerves and goal from Joey Smyth who twisted and turned to create the space after fielding a ball in from Ryan had them level on 14 minutes. Kilmaine did manage to edge back in front before the water break thanks to a Barrett free on a score of 0-5 to 1-1.

The second quarter of the game was all Kilmeena as the west Mayo men showed they were here to compete and fancied their chances of taking the scalp of the favourites. The outscored Kilmaine 0-5 to 0-2 before the break with Jack Carney, John McGlynn, Sean Ryder, Niall Feehan and Keith Joyce all getting points with Kilmaine registering two pointed frees from Barrett to before the short whistle to send the West Mayo men in leading 1-6 to 0-7 at the break.

Cathal Murphy got things going in the second half with a well taken point and that was quickly responded to by a Darragh Keaveney score - but it was the 1-2 that Kilmaine hit between the 11th and 15th minute of the second half that proved crucial - Jarlath Mullin popped up with two great scores before Hessions goal and that had his side leading 1-10 to 1-7 at the second half water break and their confidence up.

The opening exchanges of the final quarter went tit for tat on the scorboard and as the game entered injury time there was just one point between the sides the scoreboard with Kilmaine leading 1-11 to 1-10 but a brace of points from the south Mayo men through Barrett and Hession looked to have them home and hosed with three of the four minutes of injury time announced gone.

But there was the same amount of time to be played still and points from Sean Ryder and Keaveney had it back to a single score and it all came down to the final play of the day.


Kilmaine: M Hession (1-2 ), A Barrett (0-5, 5f ), C Murphy (0-2 ), J Mullin (0-2 ), O Mullin (0-1 ), C Hughes (0-1 )

Kilmeena: D Keaveny (0-4, 3f ), J Smyth (1-0 ), S Ryder (0-2 ), J McGlynn (0-1, 1m ), N Ryan (0-1 ), J Carney (0-1 ), N Feehan (0-1 ), T Gill (0-1 )

Kilmaine: A Kennedy; P McDonagh, J McDonagh, D Mullin; T Fahy, F Burke, M Mullin; M Keady, O Mullin; C Murphy, A Barrett, G Sheridan; C Hughes, J Mullin, J Maloney. Subs: M Hession, T McDonagh, B Maloney

Kilmeena: A Grealis; R O’Donnell, C Madden, P Keane; N Feehan, J Ryan, J Keane; J Carney, K Ryder; J Smyth, N Ryan, K Joyce; D Keaveney, S Ryder, J McGlynn. Subs: T Gill, S Staunton, P Groden

Ref: C Reape (Knockmore )


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