Knockmore secure first Mayo SFC title in 23 years
Aidan O’Shea’s Breaffy consigned to fourth final defeat in seven years at MacHale Park
Knockmore celebrate their Mayo SFC title win. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Knockmore 1-12 Breaffy 0-13
Knockmore, regarded as the nearly men of club football, finally arrived, winning their first Mayo senior football championship title in 23 years.
The agony continued for Breaffy who lost their fourth final in seven years at a sunny MacHale Park, Castlebar, on Sunday but they can have few complaints having given it their best shot in a highly entertaining and exciting game which was always tight,
Fuelled by four of last year’s county minor winning team, Ray Dempsey got the potent mix of youth and experience spot on as Knockmore started well, were headed for a period but ultimately came from behind in the second half. Veteran Kieran Langan scored a huge point when introduced but the man of the first half was Peter Naughton who finished on three points and found gaps in a Breaffy defence which creaked at times.
Naughton was also instrumental in setting up the only goal of the match for Darren McHale after five minutes to put his side 1-2 ahead with Breaffy yet to score.
As if a switch had been flicked, Breaffy finally arrived when Aidan O’Shea got them off the mark on nine minutes and by half-time they had overtaken the north Mayo side to lead by 0-7 to 1-2, with Conor O’Shea, Matthew Ruane and Tom O’ Reilly leading the charge and Breaffy locking down in defence.
Having lost Aiden Orme to a black card before the break, Orme returned five minutes intothe second half and he, along with Darren McHale, were to play huge roles in getting Knockmore over the winning line, McHale opening the second half with back to back points from play.
Breaffy went for brute force as the game entered the final 15 minutes but not even Aidan O’Shea could break through a teak tough Knockmore defence and the goal they needed to get out of jail never really looked like materialising.
Breaffy still led by a point seven minutes into the second half but with 10 minutes remaining they found themselves three adrift - 1-10 to 0-10 - and they could never got closer than those two points as Knockmore’s greater hunger and drive sustained them to the winning line.
Knockmore: C Reape; S Holmes, David McHale, A Stadler; N Armstrong, K King, C Flynn; K McLoughlin, S McHale; P Ruttledge, Darren McHale (1-4), C Dempsey; P Naughton (0-3, one mark), A Orme (0-2, free), K Ruttledge (0-2). Subs: S Ruttledge for P Ruttledge (45 min), K Langan (0-1) for C Flynn (45), M Parke for N Armstrong (55), C Hopkins for S Homes (61).
Breaffy: R Hennelly (0-1, free); D Cannon, G Dunne, K Mulchrone; D Morrin, S O’Shea, M Hall; M Ruane (0-2), C O’Shea (0-3, one free); R Fadden, J Minogue, T O’Reilly (0-5, two frees); R Martyn, A O Shea (0-1), C Flynn (0-1). Subs: B Murphy for Dunne (38 mins), S McDermott for C Flynn (45m), M Dervan for K Mulchrone (52m).
Referee: J Glavey (Aghamore).