Seniors crash to third defeat

Ballinrobe out of luck against Ballina

Mayo Senior League
Division 1A
Ballina Stephenites 1-8
Ballinrobe 0-10

Billy Horan

BALLINA Stephenites, fortified by a Stephen Hughes goal from a penalty in the 32nd minute, held on tenaciously at Ballyheane on Friday evening as the curtain came down on the first half of Ballinrobe’s league campaign.
Norman O’Brien charges will not be in action in this competition again until August, as they have a bye next weekend.
Their next competitive outing will be in the Mayo senior championship against Breaffy on the weekend of June 11/12.
Unfavourable weather conditions delayed the start for 20 minutes last Friday evening, and while the action was of a full-blooded dimension, the football was rarely of an inventive variety.
Regulars were absent from sides, with the Stephenites the greater sufferers in this area. Interested spectators were some Breaffy observers, obviously assessing Ballinrobe, their first-round championship opponents.
There was never more than two points between the contestants, and failure to utilise scoring opportunities bedevilled both attacks. One of the more redeeming features of the encounter was the excellent goalkeeping of the respective custodians, David Clarke and Kenneth O’Malley.
Midfielder Ronan Macken, positioning himself in the left corner, opened the scoring with a third minute Ballinrobe point. A Stephen Hughes free rendered matters all square inside two minutes, and poor finishing at both ends delayed the advent of the next score until the 12th minute.
Micheál Keane created the opening for Donal Vaughan’s point, but parity prevailed again in the 16th minute, as Adrian Kelly slotted a free over the bar.
Ballinrobe pressure in the ensuing exchanges yielded a brace of points from frees by Seán Burke. But the opposition, regaining control outfield, countered with points from Stephen Hughes (a free) and replacement Stephen Mullins.
The possibility of a goal also loomed in the 24th minute, but a vigilant Kenneth O’Malley nullified the threat posed by Adrian Kelly. Seán Burke was on target from another free in the 30th minute, leaving Ballinrobe marginally clear at the break, 0-5 to 0-4.
Ballinrobe began the second half in a productive vein through a quick Seán Burke point from play, with Donal Vaughan performing the preparatory work.
The sense of satisfaction was of short duration, as a penalty was conceded in the 32nd minute, and Stephen Hughes clinically dispatched the ball into the corner of the net.
Coping bravely with the setback, Ballinrobe had edged in front again by the 34th minute, thanks to points from Ronan Macken (with the support of Donal Vaughan) and Seán Burke (a free).
David Clarke foiled a Seán Burke try for a goal, and with the Ballinrobe impetus losing some of its momentum, Ballina began to dictate matters outfield.
Very much to the fore in effecting this were Patrick McHale, roaming Paul McGarry, Rory Smith, David O’Mahoney and Colm Leonard.
Although Stephen Hughes balanced the scoring in the 39th minute, stubborn Ballinrobe defending made it difficult for Ballina to forge ahead. Two splendid saves by Kenneth O’Malley was the main contributory factor, though the options taken by the Ballina forwards were not always prudent ones.
Martin Burke’s point for Ballinrobe, following an incisive Micheál Keane run, ensured that Ballina had only a point to spare, 1-7 to 0-9, going into the final quarter.
Adrian Kelly added another point from a free in the 46th minute, and Ballinrobe’s best chance of a goal materialised two minutes later. Grabbing the ball from a Kevin Murphy centre, Micheál Keane sped goalwards, but an advancing David Clarke defiantly smothered the shot, and diverted the ball over the line for a 45-metres kick.
Kenneth O’Malley was off beam from the resultant kick, and despite wholehearted endeavour in the remaining segment of the hour, Ballinrobe could only negate Adrian Kelly’s 53rd minute pointed free with Conor Keane’s score from play, six minutes later.
This result leaves Ballinrobe with three points from a possible ten after five rounds of the league; they are currently fourth from bottom in the Division 1A table.

K O’Malley; R Keane, D McDonnell, P Finnerty; C Killeen, S Grimes, D O’Connor; D Vaughan (0-1), R Macken (0-2); K Murphy, A Flannery, S Burke (0-5, 4f); C Keane (0-1), M Keane, M Burke (0-1).
Subs used: D Killeen for D McDonnell; K McTigue for A Flannery.

D Clarke; D Twomey, E Casey, T Doherty; L Healy, A Tighe, B Ruane; C Leonard, S McGarry; R Smith, P McHale, D O’Mahoney; S Hughes (1-3, 1-0 pen, 3fs), P McGarry, A Kelly (0-4, 4fs).
Subs used: S Mullins (0-1) for B Ruane (inj); G Cafferkey for S McGarry (inj); S Barrett for E Casey (inj).

Referee: J Henry (Castlebar Mitchels)