O'Connor on form for champions


Ballintubber 0-13

Shrule Glencorrib 1-7

The defending county senior champions Ballintubber overcame a potentially tricky encounter with Shrule Glencorrib to ensure that their title defence will last until at least the semi final stage of the competition. The three point gap on the scoreboard at the end of the tie, might give the impression that this was a close encounter, but in reality Ballintubber were well worthy winners and only a late Eoin Ronaldson goal in injury time put some gloss on the scoreboard for the south Mayo side.

Both sides had one change from the teams they named for the program early in the week, with Paul Early for Ballintubber and David Geraghty for Shrule Glencorrib not starting the game. Myles Kelly replaced Early for the champions while Shane Hennelly came in for the border club. Cillian O'Connor was the star performer over the 60 minutes kicking eight points for his side, three of them from play. His eight scores matched the total number of scores that Shrule could muster in response to his sides challenge. O'Connor was dangerous every-time he got the ball and gave Dermot Geraghty a tough afternoon, dragging him all over the Shrule Glencorrib defence.

By the 18th minute, Ballintubber were leading by 0-4 to 0-2 thanks to four O'Connor points with Shrule replying through points from Mark Ronaldson and Conor Mortimer. Mortimer who is working his way back to fitness looked to be in good shape during the game and finished the contest with five points over the 60 minutes, but Shrule Glencorrib failed to create enough in front of the posts to trouble Anthony McGarry's side. Ballintubber went in leading by 0-7 to 0-2 at the break, with Micheál Hoban the only other man to score for the champions with two points in the opening 30 minutes. The game threatened to boil over on a few occasions in the first half as tempers frayed and referee Michael Daly could have shown a few red cards on a couple of occasions after some flare ups.

Shrule Glencorrib really needed to get a goal early in the second half if they were going to have any chance of pulling a victory from the jaws of defeat. But it was Ballintubber who pushed on early in the half to lead by 0-10 to 0-3 after 38 minutes. In the 40th minute the south Mayo men did get that chance when Conor Mortimer got in behind the Ballintubber defence for the only time in the game. A long ball from Trevor Mortimer bounced in front of Cathal Hallinan and over his head, Mortimer was lurking in behind and made a beeline for the goal, but he wasn't able to keep his shot down and blazed the ball over the bar when it was a goal his side really needed.

Ballintubber kept plugging away and never really had to get out of third gear and kept adding scores to the board with Alan Plunkett and Alan Dillon getting in on the act, before Shrule's late goal caused a few nervous moments before the final whistle was blown.

Ballintubber will be happy to have got over this game without really having to full exert themselves and will be confident that they have plenty in reserve for the next hurdle in the championship.

Ballintubber: B Walsh; G Loftus, C Hallinan, M Kelly; T Early, D Geraghty, G Dillon; M Hoban (0-2 ), J Gibbons; A Dillon (0-1 ), A Plunkett (0-2 ), M Nestor; P O'Connor, K McGuinness, C O'Connor (0-8, 5f ). Subs: D Coleman, D McGing.

Shrule Glencorrib: P Conroy; D Geraghty, C O'Dowd, R Walsh; D McTighe, T Mortimer, J Naughton; K Conroy, J Lohan; E Ronaldson (1-0 ), B Murphy (0-1 ), M Ronaldson (0-1 ), K Walsh, S Hennelly, C Mortimer (0-5, 3f ). Subs: D Geraghty, L Garvey, N Sullivan

Ref: M Daly (Ballyhaunis )


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