Goals undo Ballinrobe’s best efforts
Mayo SFC Group 2
The Mayo News
AFTER losing first time out away to Kiltane, Knockmore knew they had to win on Saturday evening if their championship campaign was to get back on track. The faced a Ballinrobe side also needing a victory after a first round defeat to Breaffy. The teams drew in the championship last year but the result on Saturday was beyond doubt by half-time.
Ballinrobe weren’t outplayed in the first period – far from it, in fact. But the concession of three goals which the visitors might deem soft, combined with the sending-off of Adrian Flannery, left them eight points behind at the break, staring into the abyss of another defeat. Never in the second half did anything but any other outcome appear on the cards.
Ballinrobe started fairly well and had more of the ball in the opening quarter. They got the first point of the game with a Ray McGreal free on 11 minutes but Knockmore struck their first goal four minutes later.
Raymond Dempsey’s side had looked a bit ragged in attack up to then, but when Stephen Sweeney hoisted a hopeful ball into the goalmouth, Aidan Kilcoyne reacted best and palmed over Kenneth O’Malley. David McDonnell responded with a fine long-range point but Knockmore struck for their second goal in three minutes straight afterwards.
Ray McGreal was somewhat harshly adjudged to have fouled in the middle of the field. John Brogan’s subsequent free was sent in high. David Killeen and Eugene O’Malley got in each other’s way and Knockmore full-forward James Ruddy was suddenly in on goal. He finished past O’Malley.
Three minutes later Ballinrobe were dealt a hammer blow when Adrian Flannery was sent off. The centre half-forward was fouled by Stephen Sweeney but as he got up, he appeared to stamp on the prone Sweeney and referee Declan Corcoran shared that interpretation and flashed a straight red card.
The impressive Declan Sweeney swung over a fine point from play, as did Aidan Kilcoyne while Ruddy was unlucky not to hit a second goal. Seán Grimes pointed at the other end but in the last play of the half, Knockmore struck their third goal. Donal Vaughan was badly caught in possession by Ruddy 13 metres out from the Ballinrobe goal and the busy full-forward popped to wing forward Brian Timlin, who slotted past O’Malley at his near post.
Eight points was the gap at the break, 3-2 to 0-3 and the second period petered out to its inevitable conclusion.
Declan Sweeney kicked two fantastic long-range points at the start of the half but that was as entertaining as the second period got. Three Mark Walkin points and a fine David Killeen effort, cancelled out only by a solitary Shane McHale point, left Ballinrobe seven behind but the result was never in question.
A free from Kevin O’Neill, making his first start of the year, together with points from Craig Reape, Jarlath O’Hora, John Brogan and Kilcoyne, countered only by a McGreal free, left Knockmore 11 points clear at the finish. They welcome Breaffy in the final round with plenty for both teams to play for, while Ballinrobe must beat Kiltane in Bangor in their last game if they’re to avoid going into the relegation play-offs.
N Canavan; K McLoughlin, S McHale (0-1), K Langan; J O’Hora (0-1), D Sweeney (0-3), D Walsh; A Keane, S Sweeney; D Munnelly, J Brogan (0-1), B Timlin (1-0); K O’Neill (0-1, 1f), J Ruddy (1-0), A Kilcoyne (1-2).
Subs used: C Reape (0-1) for Walsh (44 mins); K Ruttledge for O’Neill (58 mins); S Stadler for S Sweeney (60 mins).
K O’Malley; E O’Malley, D Killeen, C Killeen; J O’Malley, S Grimes (0-1), R McGreal (0-2, 2f); R Macken, D Vaughan; S Burke, A Flannery, C Keane; D McDonnell (0-1), M Walkin (0-3, 1f), M Keane.
Subs: K Murphy for M Keane (44 mins); F Horan for Burke (59 mins).
Referee: D Corcoran (Islandeady)