Kilmaine crowned champions after epic junior decider
TF ROYAL THEATRE MAYO JUNIOR A CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
By Aiden Henry
KILMAINE were crowned Mayo junior champions following their narrow but magnificent one-point victory over a gallant Kilmeena side in the final played Elverys MacHale Park, Castlebar, this evening.
In what was one of the best junior finals in recent times, Kilmaine had to pull out all the stops before seeing off the stern Kilmeena challenge.
It was a great contest from start to finish. Both sides played fast open football and the 200 attendees were treated to many delightful scores by both teams. But in the end, it was Kilmaine’s greater experience that got them over the line.
In the opening half Kilmaine started brightly where they raced into a four-point lead by the 12th minute. Indeed, it looked at this early stage that they might prove too hot to handle for Kilmeena.
However, within two minutes any notion this was going to happen was thrown out of the window after Kilmeena hit their opponents for a goal and a point. It was Joey Smyth who supplied the fine finish after receiving an inch perfect pass from Neil Ryan.
For the remainder of the half both sides enjoyed the lead on different occasions before the west Mayo side finished strongly with two unanswered points to lead by two at the interval, 1-6 to 0-7.
On the resumption Kilmaine came a lot more into the game and dominated the third quarter. After points were exchanged in the opening minutes, Kilmaine were back on level terms by the 40th minute after two Jarlath Mullin points.
Four minutes later Kilmaine had their opposing goalkeeper picking the ball from the back of the net after substitute Michael Hession punched to the net. Indeed, Hession was to prove a great substitution by the Kilmaine management as he followed this goal with two fine points.
It was a real ding-dong affair after the second water break. In this period Kilmeena outscored Kilmaine by five to three. However, they were never able to get back on level terms. They did have one final chance with the last play of the game when a shot by full-back Conor Madden just went the wrong side of the post.
In the end, Kilmaine just about deserved to hold on for a victory that more than made up for last years defeat to Castlebar Mitchels B in the final.
Kilmaine: A. Keady, P. McDonagh, J. McDonagh, D. Mullin, T. Fahey, F. Burke, M. Mullin, M. Keady, O. Mullin (0-1), C. Murphy (0-2), A. Barrett (0-5f), G. Sheridan, C. Hughes (0-1), J. Mullin (0-2), J. Maloney.
Subs used: M. Hession (1-2), T. McDonagh, B. Maloney.
Kilmeena: A. Grealis, R. O’Donnell, C. Madden, P. Keane, N. Feehan (0-1), J. Ryan, J. Keane, J. Carney (0-1), K. Ryder, J. Smyth (1-0), N. Ryan (0-1), K. Joyce (0-1), D. Keaveney (0-4, 0-3f), S. Ryder (0-2), J. McGlynn (0-1m).
Subs used: T. Gill (0-1), S. Staunton, P. Groden.
Referee: C. Reape (Knockmore).