Champions prove too strong
Mayo Senior League
A POOR second half display saw the Ballinrobe seniors crash to their second defeat in three league games as the county champions, Ballintubber, proved too strong in glorious sunshine in Clogher.
The visitors seemed to be well in contention at half-time, trailing by 0-5 to 0-7, and playing some good football.
However, Ballintubber picked up the pace during the third quarter, shooting six points to surge ahead by 0-13 to 0-6 after 50 minutes.
Late points from Ballinrobe goalkeeper Kenneth O’Malley (a 45 metre kick) and Sean Burke (two frees) proved too little, too late.
It was a disappointing end to a day that had started really well for Ballinrobe.
Donal Vaughan returned from an eight month lay-off with a serious groin injury to line out at midfield and put in a typically industrious, energetic and hard-running display.
The Mayo panellist was a central figure in Ballinrobe’s good start as they went into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead with excellent scores from Sean Burke, Sean Grimes and Kevin Murphy.
Micheál Keane also stole in for a good goal chance inside the first minute as Ballintubber found themselves pinned back by the visitors.
The county champions gradually settled though, and despite further scores from Mark Walkin and Martin Burke before half-time, Ballinrobe trailed by two points at half-time.
In the absence of the injured Alan Dillon, Cillian O’Connor popped over a string of frees to punish some Ballinrobe indiscipline.
Norman O’Brien’s lads were well in contention as the teams turned round for the second half but a ‘systems failure’ around the middle of the field, in terms of breaking ball, cost them dearly.
Ballintubber ruled the roost in this sector during the third quarter as Jason Gibbons and Micheál Hoban linked up well with a powerful half-back line.
Five points from Padraic O’Connor, who was in scintillating form, broke Ballinrobe’s hearts and they could find no way through ‘Tubber’s tight-marking and tenacious defence at the other end.
Ballintubber had Cillian O’Connor sent off late on after he picked up his second yellow card but it came too late to deflect his team-mates from the task-at-hand.
Ballinrobe’s best performers were Paul Finnerty, Adrian Flannery, Donal Vaughan and Kevin Murphy while Ruairí Keane, David Killeen and Micheál Keane had their moments in the first half.
Among the positives for the Ballinrobe fans to ponder on the journey home was the return of Donie Vaughan, Ronan Macken and James O’Malley from injuries, and they will be badly needed when Westport come to visit next Saturday evening.
K O’Malley (0-2, 2 ‘45s); E O’Malley, C Killeen, P Finnerty; R Keane, A Flannery, D O’Connor; D Vaughan, D Killeen; S Grimes (0-1), S Burke (0-3, 2fs), K Murphy (0-1); M Burke (0-1), M Walkin (0-1), M Keane.
Subs used: J O’Malley for O’Connor; R Macken for Killeen; K McTigue for M Burke.
B Walsh; L Tunney, M Nestor, C Hallinan; M Kelly, D Geraghty, R O’Connor; M Hoban (0-2), J Gibbons; G Dillon, A Plunkett (0-1), D Summerville; P O’Connor (0-6, 5fs), K McGuinness, C O’Connor (0-4, 3fs).
Subs used: T Earley for McGuinness; J Duffy for Dillon.
Referee: M Daly (Ballyhaunis)