Ballaghderreen get back to the top of the mountain

Mayo GAA SFC Final

Ballaghaderreen 1-9     Ballintubber 0-4

It was only confirmed when Barry Kelly, chipped the ball up to himself six yards out from goal and took a side step to the left before he finished to an empty net to put Ballaghaderreen 1-8 to 0-4 up on 60 minutes. But from the get go in McHale Park on Sunday, it looked like there was going to be only one place that the Paddy Moclair Cup would be resting over the winter, and that wasn't where he spent the past two winters.

Ballaghaderreen had leaders and warriors all over the field, with Stephen Drake leading the charge in the full back line and picking up the man of the match award. Keith Rodgers ran him pretty close for that accolade with his all action style in the lynch pin centre-half-back position. Barry Kelly and James Kilcullen really got into their stride in the second half dominated the game from there, while Barry Regan kicked five points from free's in an impressive first half showing, that set up Sunday's victory.

Ballintubber made two changes from the side selected before hand with Michéal Hoban replacing Alan Plunkett and Diarmuid O'Connor Kevin McGuinness in the starting 15. The men from the borderline opened the scoring in the first minute when Regan drove the ball over the bar form a free out past the 45 meter line. That lead was doubled two minutes later when a cutting move from defence to attack was finished off by Keith Rodgers who charged up the field from his station. Jason Gibbons hit back with a point for Ballintubber after six minutes as the game began to find it's feet. Regan added his second point of the afternoon from another free from the 13 meter line after Michéal Hoban was penalisied for picking the ball up off the ground. The same man was also called to have fouled the ball on the ground out on 45 meter line after 13 minutes and Regan did the dutiful with a booming effort, to put his side 0-4 to 0-1.

Ballaghaderreen were well on top at this stage and if Andy Hanley had taken any of the three scorable chances he missed before half time, they could have been home and hosed well before they were. Damien McGing kicked Ballintubber's second point of the day 17 minutes in, but the eventual victors came straight back at them and Regan added another point from a free a minute later and on 22 minutes he kicked his fifth and final point of the game to put his side 0-6 to 0-2 up. Alan Dillon cut the gap back to only a goal before the break with an trademark finish rolling the ball over the bar with his right boot from the right hand side. But Ballintubber knew, they were going to have to seriously up their performance in the second half if they were going to make it a three in a row success.

Daire Summerville replaced Padraic O'Connor at the break and the sub had an almost immediate impact for his side. A long cross field ball was knocked into his path and put him through on goal, but Ollie Flanagan stood strong and pulled off a fine save to keep him out. The resulting rebound fell to Alan Dillon who clipped it over the bar from close range. That was to be last big impact Dillon would have in the game. He was involved with a clash of heads with Andy Hanley and Peter Kelly in the middle of the field after 34 minutes, both Kilcullen and Dillon had to go off for treatment for blood injuries. But Dillon didn't quite look himself after that incident and was eventually called to shore with 14 minutes left on the clock.

David Drake should have hit a goal for Ballaghaderreen early in the second half, he was on the end of a quick passing move, but his shot crashed off the post and rebounded off Liam Tunny and away for a 45. Neither side troubled the scoreboard again until the 48th minute as both sides kicked wide after wide in succession. Joe Dillon was the man who eventually broke that sequence with a close range effort and was immediately replaced by Rory Conway who was the next man to raise a white flag with 56 minutes gone to put Ballaghaderreen 0-8 to 0-4 up. The game was finally decided when Kelly put the ball to the back of the net with normal time up and the final lick of paint was applied by David Kilcullen who drove over a 45 at the end to seal the win in style

Ballaghaderreen: O Flanagan; S Drake, P Rogers, T Regan; P Kelly, K Rodgers (0-1 ), D Drake; B Kelly (1-0 ), J Kilcullen; D Kilcullen (0-1, 1 45 )', A Hanley, S Finn; O Jordan, B Regan (0-5, 5f ), J Dillon (0-1 )

Subs: M Towey for J Kilcullen (blood sub, 32 mins ) J Kilcullen for M Towey (33 mins ), C Doohan for T Regan (36 mins ), R Conway (0-1 ) for J Dillon (49 mins ), B Solan for S Finn (56 mins ),

Ballintubber: B Walsh; L Tunney, C Hallinan, P Early; M Kelly, T Early, R O'Connor; D Geraghty, J Gibbons; D Coleman, A Dillon, M Hoabn, D McGing, D O'Connor, P O'Connor.

Subs: J Duffy for M Hoban (21 mins ), Summerville for P O'Connor (HT ), A Plunkett for A Dillon (blood sub, 34 mins ) A Dillon for A Plunkett (36 mins ), A Plunkett for A Dillon (46 mins ), K McGuinness for D O'Connor (55 mins )

Ref: K Connelly


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