Michael Plunkett netted a goal for Ballintubber at Elverys MacHale Park.
Michael Plunkett netted a goal for Ballintubber at Elverys MacHale Park.

Mayo SFC Final: Ballintubber retain title

Mayo SFC Final


By Daragh Small at Elverys MacHale Park

Cillian O’Connor scored 0-7 as Ballintubber retained their Mayo SFC title with a three-point victory over Ballaghaderreen at MacHale Park in Castlebar.

Kevin Johnson’s men have now claimed their fifth Moclair Cup this decade, more than any other team in the county.

In a rematch of the 2012 decider, which Ballaghaderreen won, Ballintubber were too strong in the closing stages and O’Connor showed the cutting edge up front with two added-time points to settle his side.

Ballaghaderreen captain Seamus Cunniffe won the toss, and with the wind behind them in the opening half, they started fast.

Shairoze Akram forced a save from Brendan Walsh but Andy Moran opened the scoring for one minute later. And while Moran was the danger man up front for Ballaghaderreen, his former Mayo teammate kicked two points in a row for Ballintubber.

Cillian O’Connor slotted his first point and then with little room to manoeuvre struck a delightful second in the sixth minute.

The lead didn’t last long, and after Ballintubber’s Stephen O’Malley was shown a yellow card for not wearing a gum-shield, Moran scored his second point.

Luke O’Grady and Cormac Doohan scored two outstanding points either side of O’Malley’s leveller. The rain began to fall as Ballintubber got back level when O’Connor scored his third point.

Ciaran Gavin reclaimed the lead for Ballintubber (free) but it could have been a goal. Cillian O’Connor was quickest to a breaking ball near the Ballaghaderreen goalmouth and his shot beat goalkeeper Patrick Sharkey, but Owen Jordan got back to make the goal-line clearance.

The Ballaghaderreen centre-back went up the other end and scored their next point and their goal arrived in the 25th minute. Darragh Kelly’s long ball evaded the clutches of Andy Moran but Doohan was on hand to finish into the roof of the Ballintubber net.

David Drake blocked Noel Geraghty’s next shot on the Ballaghaderreen goal and Moran was ruthless with his third successful free.

But the deficit was back to the minimum on the half-hour mark. Jason Gibbons’ ball split the Ballaghaderreen defence and Michael Plunkett finished to the net. There was still time for O’Malley to score his second point and the teams were level at half-time.

Cillian O’Connor scored the first point of the second half, but that was answered by points from David McBrien and Moran. O’Malley’s third point levelled proceedings.

Ballaghaderreen’s Cian Hanley got on the scoreboard in the 40th minute, however, substitute Keelan McDonnell came up with a brilliant leveller again.

Diarmuid O’Connor had been quiet all evening but showed all of his experience to score from distance, and give Ballintubber the lead again.

Moran and O’Connor traded points but McDonnell gave Ballintubber a two-point lead in the 54th minute. Moran hit back, but Cillian O’Connor sealed the win late on.

Scorers for Ballintubber: Cillian O’Connor 0-7 (4fs), Michael Plunkett 1-0, Stephen O’Malley 0-3, Keelan McDonnell 0-2, Ciaran Gavin 0-1 (f), Diarmuid O’Connor 0-1.

Scorers for Ballaghaderreen: Andy Moran 0-6 (4fs), Cormac Doohan 1-1, Luke O’Grady 0-1, Owen Jordan 0-1, David McBrien 0-1, Cian Hanley 0-1

BALLINTUBBER: Brendan Walsh; Myles Kelly, Gary Loftus, Brian Murphy; Damien Coleman, Michael Plunkett, Ruaidhri O’Connor; Jason Gibbons, Diarmuid O’Connor; Ciaran Gavin, Cillian O’Connor, Bryan Walsh; Noel Geraghty, Alan Plunkett, Stephen O’Malley.

Subs: K McDonnell for Alan Plunkett (38), Alan Dillon for Noel Geraghty (52), Joe Geraghty for Myles Kelly (55), Padraig O’Connor for O’Malley (60).

BALLAGHADERREEN: Patrick Sharkey; Seamus Cunniffe, Owen Jordan, Peter Kelly; Shairoze Akram, David Drake, David McBrien; Ryan Lynch, Darragh Kelly; Luke O’Grady, Cian Hanley, Dylan Feeney; Kuba Callaghan, Andy Moran, Cormac Doohan.

Subs: Aaron Lynch for Peter Kelly (52), Thomas Carmody for Dylan Feeney (57).

REFEREE: Jerome Henry (Casltebar).