Spectators watching the Mayo SFC Final between Knockmore and Belmullet.
Spectators watching the Mayo SFC Final between Knockmore and Belmullet.

Mayo SFC Final: Knockmore retain title

Mayo SFC Final

Knockmore 1-9 Belmullet 0-6

By Colm Gannon at James Stephens Park, Ballina

Knockmore put together back to back Mayo senior titles in Ballina after they saw off the challenge of Belmullet by six points.

Five points from Peter Naughton and a goal from James Ruddy just before the half time break were the key scoring returns that got Ray Dempsey’s men over the line in this north Mayo derby.

At the back Kieran King and captain David McHale combined well to curb the influence of Ryan O’Donoghue and keep their noses in front all afternoon.

A goal just before half time from James Ruddy gave Knockmore the advantage their overall play deserved in the first half.

Ruddy rose high over the head of Conan Connor to claim a ball in from Aiden Orme, he turned and drove towards goal before finishing it low past Shane Nallen in the Belmullet goal.

The defending champions had the majority of the play in the first half, but a number of missed frees from the likes of Aiden Orme and Peter Naughton saw them only have a slender 0-2 to 0-1 lead as the half time break approached.

They opened the scoring through a Naughton free early doors and just before the water break they pushed that out to a two point lead after Pearse Ruttledge slotted over a mark after he was picked out by Kevin McLoughlin.

Belmullet struggled to get going in the game for long periods in the first half and saw a couple of efforts from frees drop short from Shane Nallen and Ryan O’Donoghue. The Mayo man did get his sides first score on 27 minutes from a free and two minutes later he had an effort for a goal blocked down by Shane McHale.

Two points early in the second half for Knockmore from Naughton and Conor Flynn pushed theirs side six clear with 36 minutes gone. But Belmullet battled back three points on the bounce from Eamon McAndrew, O’Donoghue and Shea O’Donoghue had just a goal between the sides at the second water break.

But come the final quarter Knockmore really found their groove on the scoring foot - outscoring their opponents by 0-5 to 0-2 down the home stretch. An outrageous Owen McHale effort had it back to a two point game with 12 left on the clock, but from then on in Knockmore kicked onConor Flynn got his second of the day with a nice effort from a tight angle.

Peter Naughton kicked a free and then Connell Dempsey drove one over the bar after a powerful run. Two more Naughton pointed frees followed with Ryan O’Donoghue pulling one back for Belmullet - but it was Knockmore’s day and the deservedly claimed their second title onthe bounce.

Scores for Knockmore: Peter Naughton (0-5, 4f), James Ruddy (1-0), Conor Flynn (0-2), Pearse Ruttledge (0-1, 1m) Connell Demspey (0-1)

Scorers for Belmullet: Ryan O’Donoghue (0-3, 3f), Shea O’Donoghue (0-1), Owen McHale (0-1), Eamon McAndrew (0-1)

Knockmore: Colm Reape; Marcus Park, David McHale, Sean Holmes; Nathan Armstrong, Kieran King, Conor Flynn; Kevin McLoughlin, Shane McHale; Pearse Ruttledge, Adam Naughton, Connell Dempsey; James Ruddy, Aiden Orme, Peter Naughton.

Subs: Charlie Bourke for Adam Naughton, Keith Ruttledge for Nathan Armstrong, Darren McHale for James Ruddy, Liam Durcan for Charlie Bourke.

Belmlullet: Shane Nallen; Mikey Barrett, Colin Barrett, Conon Connor; James Kelly, Eoin O’Donoghue, Shea O’Donoghue; Owen Healy, Evan Ivors; Owen McHale, Dathaí Cosgrove, Fionan Ryan; Ciaran Conway, Ryan O’Donoghue, Jason Boylan.

Subs: Marty Boylan for Evan Ivors, Eamon McAndrew for Jason Boylan, James O’Donnel for Dathaí Cosgrove, Cathal Barrett for Marty Boylan, Leo Howard for Mikey Barrett.

Referee: Jerome Henry (Castlebar Mitchels).