The great Hollmount-Carramore All Ireland adventure came to an end in Croke Park on Saturday night, where the south Mayo men came up just short against an impressive St Mary’s, Cahersiveen side in the All Ireland final.
There’s one thing for sure that didn’t lose this final for Hollymount-Carramore and that was lack of heart, the Mayo boys gave everything they had on the pitch and never bent the knee even when things went against them.
Early in the first half they found themselves 0-4 to 0-1 down and the Kerrymen threatening to run away with the game as they settled into their surrounds with more ease than Hollymount-Carramore, but the Tom Connelly’s men dug in and found their feat and reeled off the next five points on the bounce, some them scores that were fit to grace even bigger days in GAA headquarters. In the second half they also closed an eight point gap that looked to have the game one back to four points at one stage leaving everything to play for as the contest went down the home straight.
The game started with the Kerry side hitting the front right from the off with Paul O’Donoghue lofting over a fine score from out under the Cusack stand side of the field. Hollymount-Carramore responded straight away with Ian Costello finishing from close range to bring the first roar from the south Mayo faithful in the lower deck of the Hogan Stand.
But over the next nine minutes St Mary’s kicked three points on the bounce to open up a lead, the scores coming from Conor O’Shea who launched one over from well out the park, O’Donoghue grabbed his second with another excellent score into the Hill 16 end and their own Kerry superstar Bryan Sheehan slotted over a free to raise the white flag.
But fears that the Cahersiveen men were about to run riot were soon put to bed by the Connelly’s men. Ian Costello hoisted one over the bar from tight to the sideline on the Hogan Stand side of the field into the old Canal End with the outside of his boot. Darren Coen tapped over a close range free to get his team back to within a point not long after. Coen’s battle with Brian Curran on the field was one of the key contests of the day, with unfortunately for the Mayo outfit, Curran coming out on top and winning the man-of-the-match award for his efforts.
Hollymount-Carramore’s drive back into the contest was given a serious blow just after the quarter of an hour mark when Dermot Costello was shown a black card by the referee which seemed to be a very harsh decision on second viewing. But that didn’t deter them and two points from Conor Keane along with one from wing back Barry Sheridan had them 0-6 to 0-4 up with eight minutes to go to the break. One man who was inspirational in that scoring drive was wing-back Pádraig Ferrick who was used very well by Hollymount-Carramore on their own kick-out and unsettling the St Mary’s middle section on their restart.
However, the Mayo men couldn’t hold on to their advantage in the closing stages of the half as St Mary’s reeled them in with scores from Dianel Daly and Bryan Sheehan leaving things all square at the short whistle.
Hollymount-Carramore needed a big start in the second half to try and pull into a lead as they had expended a lot of energy in the first half as they worked themselves to the bone all over the field. But it was the Kerry men who got the start that Holly-Carra’ craved and in fact by the time that the Mayo champions registered their first score of the second half they were already eight points down.
Five minutes after the break, a Hollymount-Carramore attack broke down on the St Mary’s 21m line and the Kerry men broke at pace with the ball eventually ending up with Bryan Sheehan who fed it on to Anthony Cournane, he picked out Daniel Daly who put the ball past Niall Campbell for the first three-pointer of the day. The Kerrymen added on two more points over the next few minutes and then 19 minutes from time their second goal which killed off the game arrived. A long punt in was misjudged by the Hollymount-Carramore defence and Anthony Cournane was on hand to flick it to the net from close range.
Hollymount- Carramore did rally and kick the next four points to close the gap, but they always looked like the needed a goal to give themselves a real chance and that didn’t arrive and the Kerry men tagged on two more scores before the end just to make sure.
It’s a disappointing way for the year to end, but the Hollymount-Carramore players have had a special adventure that will bond them for years to come and they’ve brought some great moments of joy to their south Mayo outposts and it’s an adventure they can be incredibly proud of being part of.
Hollymount- Carramore: D Coen (0-3,2fs ); I Costello (0-2 ), C Keane (0-2 ) R Molloy (0-1 ), B Sheridan (0-1 ), K Costello (0-1 )
St Marys: D Daly (1-1 ), B Sheehan (0-3,1f ), A Cournane (1-0 ), P O’Donoghue (0-2 ), C O’Shea (0-1 ), S Cournane (0-1, 1f ), L O’Connell (0-1 ), D Casey (0-1 )
Hollymount- Carramore: N Campbell, R Connolly, D McHugh, D Feerick, P Feerick, R Molloy, B Sheridan, K McNamara, S Coen, K Feerick, I Costello, K Costello, C Keane, D Coen, D Costello. Subs: B Maloney for D Costello (19 ), C Heneghan for K Feerick (40 ), D Kelly for Keane (45 ), L Macken for Connolly (56 ), C Connolly for I Costello (59 ), A Fahey for McNamara (60+1 )
St Mary’s: A Constable, I Casey, B Curran, L Sheehan, D O’Sullivan, C O’Shea, C Quirke, B Sheehan, D SDaly A Wash, N O’Driscoll, P O’Donghue, S Cournane, D Daly, A Cournane. Subs: D Casey for O’Driscoll (48 ), L O’Connell for Quirke (52 ), D Keating for Walsh (60 )
Ref: J Hickey (Carlow )