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Dublin: 5°C Saturday 28 November 2020

Cillian O’Connor influential as Ballintubber claim fifth Mayo title since 2010

Their expertise at closing out a game when it matters came to the fore.

Ballaghaderreen's Cormac Doohan and Myles Kelly of Ballintubber.
Ballaghaderreen's Cormac Doohan and Myles Kelly of Ballintubber.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Ballintubber 1-14

Ballaghaderreen 1-11

Colm Gannon reports from MacHale Park.

BALLINTUBBER’S EXPERTISE at closing out a game when it matters came to the fore down the final quarter in MacHale Park as they claimed their fifth Mayo senior title since 2010 with a three-point win over Ballaghaderreen – with Cillian O’Connor kicking seven points in their 1-14 to 1-11 win.

The sides were level at the break at 1-6 each — thanks to Ballintubber hitting 1-1 in injury time of the first half to haul in a four-point lead that Ballaghaderreen had built up between the 25th and 27th minute.

Ballaghaderreen could have hit the back of the net inside the opening seconds of the game when Shaoize Akram got in behind the cover but Brendan Walsh pulled off a fine save — but they didn’t have to wait long to register their first score with Andy Moran slipping one over the bar a few seconds later.

Cillian O’Connor levelled it up on four minutes after doing well to shake off the attention of David Drake to slot the ball over the bar from 30 meters out, the same man put the defending champions in front for the first time a minute later with a well-taken effort, after he was picked out by Bryan Walsh.

Moran had it all square from a free as the 10-minute mark approached and not long after Ballaghaderreen hit the front again through Luke O’Grady who finished off a fine move started by Akram and worked quickly down the win by Cian Hanley and Cormac Doohan.

Stephen O’Malley fisted the ball over the bar to level it up almost immediately — before Doohan edged his side in front again with a well taken effort a few seconds later. Cillian O’Connor had a chance to make it all square again from a free but pulled it wide of the far post, but he made amends on the 17-minute mark with his next free after he was hauled to the ground by David Drake.

The former Mayo captain got in for a goal chance on the 20 mark, when a long ball in bounced over the Ballagh’ rearguard, O’Connor pulled on the ball, but Owen Jordan got back to block it on the line. Ciaran Gavin pointed a free from the right -and side to put Ballintubber 0-5 to 0-4 up with nine minutes left in the half.

Six minutes from the break, Owen Jordan pulled Ballaghaderreen level with the aid of the post, after they were forced to move the ball over and back the scoring zone for some time.

Two minutes later, the east Mayo men hit the first goal of the game. Darragh Kelly dropped the ball in behind the Ballintubber defence and Cormac Doohan reacted quickly to fire the ball past Brendan Walsh to put Ballagh’ three clear. Moran made the gap four points with a free not long after and it was looking good for Ballaghadeeren as half-time approached.

But Ballintubber showed why they had won four titles since 2010 — Jason Gibbons picked out Michael Plunkett, who went clear through and sidestepped Patrick Sharkey, before finishing to the net.

The goal was quickly followed by Stephen O’Malley’s second point of the day to send the sides in level at 1-6 each at the break.

Cillian O’Connor tapped over a free not long after the resumption to put his side back in front, but Ballagaderreen came back at them and points from David McBrien and Moran had their side in front again with 25 minutes to go.

Stephen O’Malley levelled it up with a well-taken effort on 36 minutes, before Cian Hanley put Ballaghaderreen back into the lead for the last time three minutes later.

Ballintubber sub Keelan McDonnell, who kicked two points after he was introduced, levelled it up on 39 minutes. Three minutes later, Diarmuid O’Connor split the posts to put Ballintubber back into the lead — but Balagh’ weren’t going to go down without a fight and Moran pointed a free to make it 1-10 each.

Cillian O’Connor edged Ballintubber back in front from a free and then within seconds of his introduction, Alan Dillon showed all his experience in winning the ball well and laying it off to McDonnell for his second point of the evening to put Ballintubber 1-12 to 1-10 in front.

A Moran free with five minutes to go cut the gap back to a single point, but Ballintubber-showed all their experience and cuteness to shut up shop after that and hit two injury time scores through Cillian O’Connor to seal the win and their fifth Mayo senior title and second in a row.

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

Ballaghaderreen: Andy Moran (0-6,3f) Cormac Doohan (1-1), Luke O’Grady (0-1), Owen Jordan (0-1), David McBrien (0-1), Cian Hanley (0-1)


1. Brendan Walsh

2. Gary Loftus
3. Brian Murphy
4. Ruaidhri O’Connor

5. Damien Coleman
6. Michael Plunkett
7. Myles Kelly

8. Jason Gibbons
9. Diarmuid O’Connor

10. Ciaran Gavin
11. Cillian O’Connor
12. Bryan Walsh

13. Noel Geraghty
20. Alan Plunkett
15. Stephen O’Malley

Subs: 21. Keelan McDonnell for Alan Plunkett, 14. Alan Dillon for Noel Geraghty, 19. Joe Geraghty for Myles Kelly, 18. Padraic O’Connor for Stephen O’Malley


1. Patrick Sharkey

2. David Drake
3. Seamus Cunniffe
4. Peter Kelly

5. David McBrien
6. Owen Jordan
7. Sharoize Akram

8. Darragh Kelly
9. Ryan Lynch

10. Dylan Feeney
11. Cian Hanley
12. Luke O’Grady

13. Cormac Doohan
14. Andy Mora
15. Kuba Callaghan

Subs: 17. Aaron Lynch for Peter Kelly, 20. Thomas Carmody for Dylan Feeney

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About the author:

Colm Gannon

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