Ballinrobe wait on word from ‘on high’
MAYO GAA LEAGUE
The Mayo News
THE Ballinrobe senior footballers will have to train on for a few more weeks it seems after last weekend’s results left them, Crossmolina and Westport all locked together on points in the second relegation place in Division 1A.
All three teams have eight points from their 10 games, and cannot be separated by either scoring difference or head-to-head results due to two walk-overs during the campaign.
The Mayo GAA CCC (Competitions Control Committee) are due to meet tonight (Tuesday) to discuss the matter but it seems almost certain that a play-off will be required to see who joins Burrishoole in Division 1B next season.
Ironically, if the Senior Leagues are revamped next year — something which is being given serious consideration at the moment — only one team (Burrishoole) will be relegated from Division 1A. However, the play-off will need to go ahead in any event as a decision on restructuring the competition is not due to be taken for some time.
In any event, Burrishoole will be operating in Division 1B after their seventh defeat of a disappointing campaign last Saturday evening.
However, Colm McManamon’s team didn’t go down without a fight and despite starting without the injured James Moran and Pat Mulchrone, and losing Shane McDermott and Adrian McManamon to knocks during the second half, they still pushed Ballinrobe to the pin of their collar.
The locals didn’t make life easy for themselves, once again, and the dismissal of their captain, Donal Vaughan, in the 48th minute meant that the final quarter was uncomfortable, to say the least, for his team-mates.
Norman O’Brien’s team eventually got the win they needed to avoid finishing bottom of the table, but they aren’t out of the woods yet.
Last weekend Ballinrobe very nearly slipped up and lost yet another game that was there for the taking. They led by four points after 37 minutes but it took them another 24 minutes to register their second (and last) point of the second half.
As a result, Burrishoole’s meagre tally of three points, all from Jason Doherty, in the second period (two from frees and one from play in injury-time) was almost good enough to cause an upset.
However, a superb defensive effort by Ballinrobe (especially when they had been reduced to 14 men) proved crucial as Eugene O’Malley, Colm Killeen and Ruairí Keane ran a tight ship in the full-back line.
At the other end, while there was no shortage of effort, the local forwards had great difficulty in breaking down Burrishoole’s mass defensive system with thirteen players, at times, operating behind the ball in the second half.
This meant that Ballinrobe’s scores from Donal Vaughan (37) and Micheál Keane (51) proved priceless in the end.
So too did the only goal of a miserable evening which was scored by Alan Murphy on 26 minutes.
The Galway Utd midfielder had already put in a 90 minute shift 24 hours earlier in the League of Ireland against Shamrock Rovers. However, he showed no sign of fatigue as he tucked away the chance that allowed Ballinrobe to lead by 1-4 to 0-4 at the interval.
The sides were locked together at 0-3 apiece when the sniper struck.
The move started when an old-fashioned ‘up and under’ from Peter Staunton was gathered smartly by Donal Vaughan, and the Mayo defender delivered a precise crossfield pass that split the Burrishoole defence.
Murphy knew exactly what he wanted to do and, one-on-one with Shane Nevin, the corner-forward finished with aplomb.
There was very little between the sides during a slow-burning first half; Michéal Keane and Jason Doherty (free) traded early scores before Padraic McManamon posted a fine score from long-range to edge the visitors in front.
Their lead lasted only sixty seconds, however, as Sean Burke tied the game up before Ballinrobe took the initiative again minutes later when David Killeen and Peter Staunton combined to set up David McDonnell for a well-taken point from distance.
With Liam O’Malley pressing forward repeatedly from wing-back, Burrishoole always looked likely to find gaps but it was a Ballinrobe handling error that handed Padraic McManamon the chance to level the game again on 24 minutes.
The game was delicately poised when Alan Murphy hit the net but there were still time for Micheál Moran and Mark Walkin to exchange frees before the half-time break.
The scores dried up after the restart but the fun was only starting.
And it hasn’t finished yet for Ballinrobe. Watch this space!
K O’Malley; E O’Malley, C Killeen, R Keane; D McDonnell (0-1), S Grimes, R McGreal; D Killeen, R Macken; S Burke (0-1), P Staunton, M Keane (0-2); D Vaughan (0-1), M Walkin (0-1, 1f), A Murphy (1-0).
Subs used: P Finnerty for McDonnell (inj); C Keane for Walkin; A Flannery for Murphy.
S Nevin; D Nevin, S McManamon, D Drumm; Davy Keane, M Joyce, L O’Malley; P McManamon (0-1), P Holmes; D O’Grady, A McManamon, S McDermott; M Moran (0-1, 1f), David Keane, J Doherty (0-4, 3fs).
Sub used: E McManamon for David Keane; 25 for McDermott (inj); 24 for A McManamon (inj).
Referee: E McAndrew (Claremorris)