On a night when the lights literally went out in St. Mary’s Park Cloone, Kiltubrid provided more than enough power to over-come Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s for the second time in this year’s Connacht Gold Senior Championship, this time their victory securing their Senior status for 2013.
Played under lights, Kiltubrid over-came both their opponents and a power cut that held up the first half for 18 minutes to score a thoroughly deserved victory against an O’Heslin’s team lacking in confidence but one who still fought nonetheless to the final whistle, Sean Murray coming within inches of a late goal that could have transformed the result.
Yet for all their late efforts, Ballinamore never truly came to terms with the team-work and spirit of a Kiltubrid side who dominated large tracts of the contest, put together some wonderful moves and worked their socks off to ensure a place in next year’s Senior Championship.
Dara McKiernan led the line with real aplomb and the movement of the Kiltubrid men in attack was something O’Heslin’s never came to terms with, James Gill, Mickey Earley, Patrick Whitlow & Christopher McKeon moving with incision and pace.
In defence, an Aidan Bohan led defence first came to terms with Shane Moran at full-forward and did a good job of holding an increasingly frantic Ballinamore who threw everything they could think of at Kiltubrid but little of it came off.
Kiltubrid set the tone early with a goal after just 10 seconds, Mickey Earley gathered a long ball to fire to the net. Two Dara McKiernan points in response to one from Shane McWeeney extended Kiltubrid’s lead before James Gill worked an excellent 1-2 with Mickey Earley to crash home a second goal.
A shell-shocked Ballinamore tried to get back into contention but McKiernan was unlucky to see a goal chance go inches wide while Niall Foley added a point on 13 minutes.
O’Heslin’s did stage a revival with points from Shane Moran and Shane McWeeney (two frees) before the game took an unexpected detour when lights went out on one side of the field, holding the game up for 18 minutes before the teams were able to resume play.
The delay took the heat of increasingly frantic exchanges and it appeared to benefit Kiltubrid as they added two fine points from McKiernan and David McCormack to leave them 2-5 to 0-4 in front at the break.
Shane McWeeney & Niall Foley swapped points before Ballinamore got a lifeline ten minutes into the second half when Paul McLoughlin, moved from midfield into full-forward in a swap with Shane Moran, was fouled and James McWeeney drilled the ball to the net.
The match then switched from end to end with James Gill having a shot blocked and McLoughlin seeing a shot cleared off the line but James Gill steadied Kiltubrid with a fine point. Sub Ronan O’Rourke capped a great Ballinamore move from defence off with a fine point.
The tit for tat continued with McKiernan (2) and Stephen McTague and Shane McWeeney swapping points, the last score of the game coming with more than five minutes left to play. Ballinamore did start to lob everything in at the goal, Paul McLoughlin going close after a fifty.
Ballinamore finally broke through the ranks of the Kiltubrid defence but Noel Gill was on hand to make a full length diving save to deny Sean Murray a goal that might have rescued Ballinamore. But it wasn’t to be and Kiltubrid deservedly survived.
Noel Gill, David McCormack (0-1), Emmet Lee, John McGovern, Niall Foley (0-2), Aidan Bohan, Fergal Meehan, Karol Scollan, Patrick Moolick, Stephen McKeon, James Gill (1-1), Dermot McKeon, Patrick Whitlow, Dara McKiernan (0-5), Mickey Earley (1-0). Subs: Chris McKeon for Whitlow (16 mins), Stephen Guckian for D. McKeon (52 mins), Ronan Geoghegan for Earley (61 mins).
Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s
Philip Farrelly, Philip Murphy, Matthew Murphy, David Duignan, John Fanning, Liam Ferguson, David McLoughlin, Paul McLoughlin, Stephen McTague (0-1), Shane McWeeney (0-5), John McWeeney, Shane Murphy, Sean Murray, Shane Moran (0-1), James McWeeney (1-0). Subs: Anthony McTague for Fanning (8 mins), Ronan O’Rourke (0-1) for D. McLoughlin (HT), Andrew Burns for S. Murphy (52 mins),
Referee: Sean McCartan.