Well, that was a cracking weekend of club football, with thrills, spills, last-second scores, a penalty shootout and history made.
The only place to start is, of course, with the history makers. They’re the women footballers of Burrishoole who, appearing in their first ever LFGA Senior county final, this afternoon at Bekan dethroned champions Knockmore to claim the title.
The wet and windy weather had taken hold ahead of the 4pm throw-in at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence today and the sky darkened to such an extent that the floodlights were needed. It was, though, the women from the west of the county who lit up the gloom as they fought back from a goal down to claim victory by a point.
Burrishoole opened the scoring in today’s decider with an early point but, in a tense, low-scoring game, that was the only score they’d get in the opening half. Knockmore, meanwhile, didn’t get off the mark until the 26th minute – from a Shauna Howley free – but they then struck a significant blow, when Clodagh Keane shot to the net.
Little by little, Burrishoole clawed their way back into the game after the break. Clodagh McManamon pointed to cut the gap to two before a goal chance failed to produce a major but the point that was secured was welcome all the same.
With fifteen minutes to go, the match was all square but a second Shauna Howley free six minutes from time edged the champions back in front once again. Knockmore held that lead into injury time but then the challengers drew level again and soon after were awarded a free in a good position.
The free still had to be converted, however, but up stepped Maria Cannon to write her team’s name into the history books by popping it over to seal a dramatic 0-6 to 1-2 win. There’ll be fulsome celebrations out west tonight and proper order too. Well done to them.
Match report from the Mayo News is here.
There’s also set to be a fair bit of celebration going on in the east of the county tonight. This is because Charlestown Sarsfields won the LGFA Intermediate county title, beating Louisburgh by 2-9 to 0-14 in what was another dramatic decider, and Ballyhaunis got the better of Aghamore by 3-7 to 2-5 in the Junior final.
Here are the results of the other LGFA games contested there over the last few days:
- Senior Shield final: Castlebar Mitchels 2-8 Hollymount 2-6
- Senior relegation play-off: Kilmovee Shamrocks 5-11 Moy Davitts 4-8
- Intermediate Shield final: Kilmoremoy 1-6 Davitts 1-1
- Junior A Shield final: Parke Keelogues Crimlin 4-9 The Neale 0-6
- Junior B Cup final: Kilmeena 5-8 Tourmakeady 1-6
- Junior B Shield final: Carnacon B 3-21 Claremorris B 1-2
Onto the lads, where the drama was, if anything, even more gripping.
Both of this afternoon’s Moclair Cup semi-finals at MacHale Park were well-contested battles, with the two of them going down to the wire. In the end it was Ballina Stephenites and Westport who made it through to the county final, as they edged out Ballintubber and Castlebar Mitchels respectively.
It was the more experienced Tubbermen who made the running early on in the game’s opening match. They briefly led by three points in the opening half but when Evan Regan bagged the opening goal of the game, following a bad mix-up in the Ballintubber backline, the trajectory of the contest was immediately altered and the Stephenites always looked the likelier winners from there.
Ballina took a two-point lead into the second half. When Frank Irwin goaled on the second attempt following a penalty award they were well on their way. Victory looked assured when Luke Doherty poked home their third goal.
To their credit, though, Ballintubber fought back. Cillian O’Connor set up brother Diarmuid, who, as he’s done so often for the county team, was perfectly positioned to meet a long ball in, stretching to palm it past David Clarke and into the net. That set up an exciting finish but Stephenites held on to win by three on a scoreline of 3-10 to 1-13.
Match report from the Mayo News is here and match highlights are here:
The second semi-final was an even more enthralling contest, capped by an utterly bonkers finish. Westport made most of the running throughout – leading by two at the break – but a deep-lying Castlebar Mitchels outfit stuck with them in a game where scores proved hard enough to come by.
When Westport extended their lead to four points with five minutes to go, a first Senior final appearance since 1991 started to come into view. Mitchels hit back, though, with three points on the spin, to leave just single point between them as the game went into injury time.
When Mitchels were awarded a penalty, expertly converted by Ethan Gibbons, it looked as if Westport had left a match they always had the winning of behind them. Then, down at the other end, this happened:
GOAL!— StreamSport.ie (@StreamsportI) October 16, 2022
What a goal by Shane Scott to win it for @westportgaa.
Through a sea of bodies he fi @MayoGAA SFC on a 1-11 to 1-10 scoreline.
They progress by the narrowest of margins.
Heartbreak for @MitchelsGaa. pic.twitter.com/so432yQb7s
Sub Shane Scott wasn’t on the field all that long but the piledriver he crashed into the roof of the net meant that he’s sure to be the toast of the town tonight. That late, late goal saw Westport home by 1-11 to 1-10.
There’s a Mayo News match report here and here are the match highlights:
That wasn’t all the drama at Senior level either. Over at the Saucer, The Neale – hammered out the gate by Westport in their opening group game a few weeks back and their injury-ravaged team odds-on for relegation ever since – held their nerve to beat Davitts 3-2 in a first-ever Mayo club Championship penalty shootout, after their relegation decider finished level, 1-8 to 0-11, after extra-time. The result ends a ten-year stay at the top level for Davitts.
Replacing them in the Senior ranks next year will be Ballyhaunis or Kilmeena. Ballyhaunis, beaten in the IFC decider both last year and in 2019, made it back to the Sweeney Cup final today when they beat Hollymount/Carramore by 1-12 to 0-9.
Joining them in the final will be Kilmeena, as the West Mayo team’s rise continues apace. The current All-Ireland Junior football champions were too good for Bohola Moy Davitts earlier today, winning by 1-13 to 0-13 and so the club that were playing their trade in the Junior ranks last year are now just an hour away from potential promotion to Senior.
Heading in the other direction are Lahardane MacHales. They lost out yesterday to Ardnaree Sarsfields by a single point in a closely contested relegation decider, a match that ended 1-11 to 1-10. Match report from the Mayo News on that one is here.
The Junior A semi-finals were won by Cill Chomáin, who beat Achill after extra-time by 3-12 to 1-15 (Mayo News match report here), and Islandeady who got the better of Shrule/Glencorrib by 0-13 to 0-11.
In Junior B, the semi-finals were won by Achill, who beat Ballycroy by 0-12 to 0-9, and Moygownagh, who beat Ballycroy by 1-1o to 0-12.
That’s the lot, I think. As I said at the top, what a weekend of club action it was.