Terrific Tubber power on, Vincents advance too

Cillian goals for Ballintubber

Photo: The Score/INPHO

On the two previous occasions that Ballintubber won the Moclair Cup they failed to make an impact in the Connacht club championship but they sure did today where, at MacHale Park, they brushed aside last year’s All-Ireland champions St Brigid’s of Roscommon on a scoreline of 3-10 to 1-13 to book a first ever Connacht final appearance. They’ll now face Galway champions Corofin in the decider, also at MacHale Park, in a fortnight’s time.

The Tubbermen have developed a happy knack this year for scoring goals at just the right time and today was no exception. Padraic O’Connor bagged their first to put the Mayo champions into the driving seat in the first half and Alan Plunkett kept them on top when he scored their second shortly before half-time.

The Abbeysiders led by three at the break but Brigid’s pegged them back in the second half and when Karol Mannion goaled for them it looked as if the Rossie lads’ big-match experience would see them home from there. Ballintubber have plenty of big men too, though, and none bigger than the talismanic Cillian O’Connor who lashed home his team’s third goal of the afternoon with ten minutes left. Brigid’s battled bravely to the end but the Tubber lads were full value for their three-point margin of victory.

Reports on today’s match at MacHale Park are here – Colm Gannon in the Mayo Advertiser, The Score, RTÉ.

I was at O’Moore Park myself this afternoon to see my local club St Vincents begin their defence of the Leinster club title against Portlaoise. The two sides played out a classic Leinster final last December in Tullamore and so although today’s clash was only a quarter-final tie it was one that would leave the winners on the high road to provincial success this year.

Up until their nervy victory over Plunketts in the Dublin final, Vincents have used the same template for success in this championship campaign, which has involved a flat enough first half showing followed by a turbo-charged third quarter. The Plunketts match on Bank Holiday Monday broke this mould, as the third quarter surge never materialised and Vinnies only just managed to scrape home by the minimum margin. Today, however, the turbo engine was back in action and it blew away the home side’s challenge after the teams emerged from their half-time break.

The defending All-Ireland champions should, in fact, have had this one wrapped up by half-time but they lost their way after a bright opening that had seen them 1-2 to 0-0 up after ten minutes, the goal created by Diarmuid Connolly (who was excellent, yet again, today) and bundled to the net by Mossy Quinn, who also ended in the net with the ball. With Portlaoise on the rack, Vinnies then spurned a number of easy chances for points with the resultant goal attempts not coming off. Eventually the home side roused themselves and cut the gap back to a single point at the break.

There was only one side in it on the resumption, though, and two goals from Shane Carthy effectively killed the game off. The fight pretty much went out of Portlaoise when Carthy walked his second goal into the unguarded net and the Marino lads sauntered to a ten-point win from there, on a scoreline of 3-11 to 0-10.

Final score O'Moore Park

On the same day that Ballintubber square up to Corofin in the Connacht final, Vincents will be meeting Westmeath’s Garrycastle at Parnell Park in the Leinster semi-final, with the winners of that one then up against either Rhode or Moorefield in the final a fortnight after that. There are, I know, a few bridges to be crossed both sides of the Shannon yet but the prospect of another Mayo/Dublin club championship clash (which, if it occurs, will happen at the All-Ireland semi-final stage in February) is once again starting to swing into view. Have they no consideration for me, at all at all?

8 thoughts on “Terrific Tubber power on, Vincents advance too

  1. An excellent display from Ballintubber who at times seemed to have to play the referee as well. This time however somebody seemed to take a different view of things and some of the softest frees were put wide by the Brigid’s men. Can the man above be taking an interest in GAA refereeing? Perhaps exasperated by events in Limerick a few months ago.

  2. I agree with AndyD, some of the referring today was atrocious. The ref who was from Leitrim gave a lot of soft frees to st Bridget’s. Some of his decisions were baffling to say the least.

    However that couldn’t stop the Boys from the Tubber. Some of the football was fantastic and when u have forwards like the O Connors, Plunkett & Dillon then you will win games. It should be noted that the Ballintubber full forward line scored no less than
    3-07 from play. St Bridget’s full forward line on the other hand only scored 0-1 from play. The defence deserve massive credit for that stat alone as do the midfield of Broderick & Gibbons in particular who were immense.

    Corofin will be tough to beat but after beating the all Ireland club finalists in the county final and beating the 2013 all Ireland champs today, who knows what this team could do….

  3. Great display from Ballintubber,Jason Gibbons and Broderick ruled midfielder, forwards flying,Diarmuid O’Connor was showing up all over the pitch and two cracking points from Alan Dillon when the pressure was on,also thought Kelly had a great game at no.5.Very cute play from Ballintubber in the last few minutes to keep the ball.Some frees given and the only man there that knew what they were for was the ref.Hope they can go all the way now.

  4. The old saying goals wins games certainly was in place in MacHale park, ballintubber took theirs while brigids only took one of their goal chances. Outside of the goals I thought tubbers midfield gave them the platform to win that game. Corofin another hurdle to jump but having beaten the last two Connacht champions I think ballintubber will be up for the challenge.

    Vincent’s laid down the marker with that result they only fell over the line against portloaise last year and now a good spread of scorers which takes the pressure off their two main forwards Quinn Connolly they are without doubt the team to beat.

  5. Cillian is a class player and that was a great goal. Cornfin have county lads to don’t they can’t wait for it.

  6. Great win for Ballintubber alright and I think the Corofin training session against the Leitrim champs will do Ballintubber good. How often have Corofin been tested this year? Indeed when I flicked over to Galway Bay Fm, they were talking about Paddies Day….I think they already think they are there.

  7. God but this was a cracking game – I enjoyed every second of it. An exhilerating win for Ballintubber who never panicked when the chips were down and dug deep to unearth the ruthless streak they’d been missing in Connacht to date.

    It was a great team performance, and I thought Jason Gibbons in particular was superb. He was everywhere – it looked like there were two of him at times. Broderick had that brilliant knack of getting himself into the right position at so many crucial moments.

    I’ve said it a few times here and I’ll say it again, Diarmuid O’Connor is going to be absolutely immense for Mayo – he was superb again yesterday. He is not just a good player, but he’s a really intelligent one, and he is an absolute workhorse. Plus he’s well able to score when it matters. I thought his brother Ruaidhri worked his socks off at no. 7 too, and in my mind he is worth bringing onto the Mayo panel. Dillon – what can I say? Played his heart out as is his way – he was excellent.

    I thought Brigid’s could have made their changes a bit sooner and brining Mannion into FF did make a difference, but ultimately it was the goals that killed them off – I’m very fond of Cake as a player but I have to say I did enjoy seeing three go past him yesterday. And Ballintubber pulled off a crucial save earlier in the game that certainly proved important.

    I’d agree with those objections made about the referee – Brigids got a number of frees that had me scratching my head. Ballintubber played down the clock beautifully though – it brought back memories of the closing minutes of the Dublin – Mayo league game of last March, only this time it was perfectly executed 🙂

    I cannot wait for Sunday week – Corofin will be a big challenge but one Ballintubber with their experience are well up to meeting, and if they bring that confidence back to MacHale Park I think we’re in for another corker.

    A couple of sour notes yesterday were the lengthy queues outside MacHale Park with only minutes to go to throw-in, and a serious shortage of programmes inside. It’s the first game I’ve ever attended that I didn’t get a programme at (actually, if anyone has one they don’t want to hang onto, they might let me know!) It’s a small thing, I know, but it’s also a big deal. The Connacht Council really need to do better next time – not good enough lads.

  8. Well said Ann Marie. I couldn’t argue with any of your post. Ballintubber stepped up and I believe they will again in the Connacht final. Disappointed about the programmes too. I had to queue and I felt sorry for the young guy selling them. It’s wasn’t his fault that the Connacht council didn’t organise the sale of them properly. I’m sure john prenty will have them in abundance for the final!

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