Cillian O’Connor helps Ballintubber secure back-to-back Mayo titles
Andy Moran’s Ballaghaderreen come off second best at MacHale Park
Cillian O’Connor of Ballintubber gets his shot away despite the attempt to block by Ballaghaderreen’s David Drake during the Mayo SFC Final at Elvery’s MacHale Park in Castlebar. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Ballintubber 1-14 Ballaghaderreen 1-11
Cillian O’Connor kicked two insurance points in added time as Ballintubber defended the Moclair Cup for the second time in their history and denied Andy Moran’s Ballaghaderreen a fourth Mayo title.
O’Connor proved the difference between the teams and kicked seven points in total, including the settling scores after their rivals sought to launch a late comeback at MacHale Park, having led by four points shortly before half-time.
Ballaghaderreen won when these teams met in the 2012 decider but Michael Plunkett’s goal was crucial here and it helped his side draw level at half-time after they had trailed by four just before the interval.
Ballaghaderreen were the dominant force early on but Brendan Walsh produced a super save to deny Shairoze Akram. Moran opened the scoring for Ballaghaderreen, although his former Mayo team-mate Cillian O’Connor did the damage for Ballintubber. O’Connor scored his first point in the fifth minute and then his wonderful second gave Ballintubber their first lead.
Ballintubber forward Stephen O’Malley was shown a yellow card for failing to wear a gum-shield but he scored their third point. In the meantime, Ballaghaderreen went back in front through Moran (free) and Luke O’Grady. Cormac Doohan scored but that was cancelled out by O’Connor’s opening free.
Ciarán Gavin tapped over for Ballintubber and then Jordan got forward from his centre-back berth to score with five minutes of normal time remaining.
Then Ballaghaderreen’s goal arrived. Darragh Kelly drove in a long ball for Doohan to finish high into the Ballintubber net in the 25th minute.
Moran sent over his third point in the 29th minute and Ballaghaderreen held a comfortable 1-6 to 0-5 lead approaching the break, but there was still time for Ballintubber to level matters.
Plunkett found the net following Jason Gibbons’s assist, while O’Malley doubled his personal tally and the teams were tied at the interval. Cillian O’Connor scored on the resumption but that was answered by points from David McBrien and Moran. O’Malley’s third levelled proceedings.
Ballaghaderreen’s Cian Hanley scored in the 40th minute, however, substitute Keelan McDonnell came up with a brilliant leveller again. Diarmuid O’Connor had been quiet but showed all of his experience to score from distance, and give Ballintubber the lead.
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.
BALLINTUBBER: B Walsh; M Kelly, G Loftus, B Murphy; D Coleman, M Plunkett (1-0), R O’Connor; J Gibbons, D O’Connor (0-1); C Gavin (0-1, one free), C O’Connor (0-7, four frees), B Walsh; N Geraghty, A Plunkett, S O’Malley (0-3).
Subs: K McDonnell (0-2) for A Plunkett (38 mins), A Dillon for N Geraghty (52), J Geraghty for Kelly (55), P O’Connor for O’Malley (60).
BALLAGHADERREEN: P Sharkey; S Cunniffe, O Jordan 0-1, P Kelly; S Akram, D Drake, D McBrien (0-1); R Lynch, D Kelly; L O’Grady (0-1), C Hanley (0-1), D Feeney; K Callaghan, A Moran (0-6, four frees), C Doohan (1-1).
Subs: A Lynch for P Kelly (52 mins), T Carmody for Feeney (57).
Referee: J Henry (Castlebar).