rock the Pundits
Ballycomoyle ab³, and what a deserved championship success for this recently formed club, based on the Westmeath-Meath border! They overcame a strongly fancied Ballinagore outfit in a tremendously competitive clash at Cusack Park last Sunday afternoon.
As the final whistle sounded, there were unbridled scenes of emotion among the large colourful Ballycomoyle attendance, which captured at the moment in time the ethos and spirit of rural gaelic football clubs. The previously concealed emotions of young and old alike gushed forth and signalled clearly the importance of gaelic games as a major focal point in rural parishes.
The occasion which attracted a large crowd to Cusack Park was further enhanced by the great sportsmanship displayed by all the players involved in Sunday’s tussle for ultimate championship honours, and indeed it did not end when the final whistle was blown, as Ballinagore players stayed on the field until Ballycomoyle captain JJ Brody had been presented with the Hugh Daniels cup by Pat Lynagh, Chairman of Westmeath Football Board.
Westmeath football followers have witnessed a feast of good football in 1991 and most of it has been seen in the junior grade, and Sunday’s final lacked nothing in the area of glamour, tension, incident and commitment from both sides.
At the end, Ballycomoyle were not going to be denied, but Ballinagore went down fighting. The weight of the favourites mantle seemed to rest uneasily upon the Brosna men’s shoulders, and despite creating numerous clear cut scoring opportunities, they could never kill off the tenacious Ballycomoyle men who were always threatening. So, congratulations Ballycomoyle, and hard luck to Ballinagore, who gained many new admirers for their great sportsmanship.
John Daniels played exceptionally well and was a great forager, as indeed was Niall McKenna who was full of running right throughout the game and he played a vital role in setting up Seamus Lynch for the insurance point.
Barry Kennedy was excellent when moved to the full forward line and he proved to be an elusive opponent for the previously solid Ballinagore full back line.
Seamus Lynch had a quiet first half but he blossomed in the second half and he exuded class. He was the recipient of the Westmeath Supporters Club man of the match award, but as stated previously this scribe would not altogether agree with that view, and would nominate Pat McGinn for such an award.
Michael John Corrigan was an excellent spearhead to the Ballycomoyle attack and he showed all his experience to stay on his feet and secure the vital goal which sent the North Westmeath supporters into ecstasy. John Fitzsimons was unlucky with some good openings he carved out early on, as indeed was Seamus Leahy, Noel Delaney and Tossy Brady both had their moments when introduced as substitutes.
Ballinagore will undoubtedly bemoan their failure to convert some early chances which were created with good approach work. Stephen Bridell could not be faulted for either of Ballycomoyle’s major scores. The Ballinagore full back line was playing very well until Barry Kennedy was shifted in from the half forward lien, and the half back line were a useful trio with Kieran Daly a very stocky marker, and he contained the threat of the skilful Seamus Lynch very well especially in the first half.
Brendan Robinson and Seán Robinson aided by Norman Maxwell held sway at midfield in the first half, and it was their fade-out in the second half which ultimately proved to be vital, as the Ballycomoyle pairing started to exert their dominance.
In the forward division, only Paul Baker and Jarlath Mahon scored, and it was this lack of scoring power up front which was fatal. Peter Robinson started brightly as indeed did Louis Ennis, and they were involved in some brilliantly executed moves. Norman Maxwell is an excellent player and seems more suited to the midfield position. Jarlath Mahon, Rory O’Brien, and Paul Baker were Ballinagore’s most consistent line, and Baker is a supreme poacher of scores. Rory O’Brien won some great possession and Jarlath Mahon looked very share, and indeed it was a surprise to see Mahon substituted near the end. Gerry Linnane, Jim Mahon and Tony Robinson played with great determination when introduced as substitutes.
Ballycomoyle appeared to have the slight advantage of the side wind, as Ballinagore launched their first attack through Louis Ennis, and when Norman Maxwell flicked on his delivery, Jarlath Mahon’s vicious shot drilled his low shot inches wide in the first half.
John Fitzsimons shot wide and Stephen Bridell cleared from Seamus Lynch, as first Seán Robinson and then Paul Baker sent wide from good positions for Ballinagore.
We had to wait almost seven minutes for the first score, a goal to Ballinagore. Ciaran Daly’s long ball was well fielded by Rory O’Brien and he floated a great through ball which always favoured corner forward Paul Baker in the race for possession with Ballycomoyle keeper Marius Reilly and Baker duly flicked it into the empty met for a tonic goal.
One minute alter Ballycomoyle replied when Michael John Corrigan seized John Lynch’s long clearance and pointed.
John Daniels and Peter Robinson exchanged wides, as Ballinagore backs blocked Michael John Corrigan and Seamus Lynch in turn as Ballycomoyle pressed forward.
In the 14th minute, a good interchange between Peter Robinson and Jarlath Mahon ended with Mahon scoring a neat point.
A good run by Seán Robinson ended wide, and after Brendan Robinson was fouled, Peter Baker’s free was caught by Louis Ennis, but Michael Lynch effected a good clearance. Jarlath Mahon was wide, as Ballinagore forwards fount it difficult to find the target, as John Daniels and Niall McKenna switched positions on the Ballycomoyle team. Paul Baker shot wide from a free in the 18th minute after Rory O’Brien was fouled.
Seán Cox cleared well from MJ Corrigan and after Barry Kennedy was fouled, Seamus Lynch floated the 25 meters free from the stand side over the bar to leave the score 1-1 to 0-2 in Ballinagore’s favour after 21 minutes play.
Lynch and Niall McKenna combined to set up John Fitzsimons, but he shot badly
wide when well placed and after Michael Dermody’s long free hit the post,
Fitzsimons was off target with the rebound.
Michael Lynch fouled Rory O’Brien, Paul Baker was on target from the 38 metre
free in the 24th minute to restore Ballinagore’s goal advantage, as
Noel Delaney replaced John Fitzsimons on the Ballycomoyle team, and Norman
Maxwell and Brendan Robinson directly swapped positions on the Ballinagore team.
McKenna shot wide after Michael John Corrigan deflected the ball into his path,
and as half time approached Paul Baker and Norman Maxwell shot wide for
Ballinagore. At the interval
Ballinagore had the goal advantage, 1-2 to 0-2.
McGinn replaced Seamus Leahy on the Ballycomoyle team and took up position at
midfield. From the throw in, Norman
Maxwell deflected the ball through to Paul Baker and he burrowed his way through
to score a great point for Ballinagore.
Kennedy was penalised for over holding, as Ballycomoyle seemed to be getting on
top in the midfield area, and they were rewarded in the 6th minute
when Des Carter found Pat McGinn and he side footed to Seamus Lynch and his high
ball was expertly met by Barry Kennedy who hand flicked it to the net to leave
the score 1-3 to 1-2 in Ballinagore’s favour.
minutes later a sideline kick from Seán Robinson broke to Norman Maxwell and he
placed Paul Baker who pointed to restore Ballinagore’s two point advantage.
Pat McGinn cross was gathered by MJ Corrigan and he turned well but his parting
effort drifted wide. Seán Cox
cleared well for Ballycomoyle, as Gerry Linnane replaced Peter Robinson on the
Ballinagore team. Niall McKenna
shot wide in the 13th minute for Ballycomoyle, but Barry Kennedy made
no mistake one minute later after Des Carter had set up Seamus Lynch.
Lynch who was growing in confidence set up John Daniels but his effort
for the equalizer finished wide.
score all Ballycomoyle supporters were waiting for finally arrived in the 16th
minute, when Pat McGinn floated a side line kick to JM Corrigan and he set up
Seamus Lynch for an excellent equaliser.
Bridell rescued Ballinagore when he advanced smartly to prevent Noel Delaney
scoring a goal, and after JJ Brody fouled Paul Baker, the big Ballinagore
man’s effort from the 46 metre free sailed just wide.
Robinson was whistled up for over holding, and in the 19th minute
Rory O’Brien caught a great ball and after being fouled, Paul Baker pointed
the 38metre free to leave Ballinagore just one point in front on the score 1-5
the 21st minute Jim Mahon replaced Brendan Robinson and Tony Robinson
replaced Jarlath Mahon on the Ballinagore team.
John Daniels effort was cleared by Stephen Bridell, as Tossy Brady replaced Noel
Delaney on the Ballycomoyle team.
the 25th minute Ballycomoyle equalised for the second time in the
match, when Pat McGinn fed Seamus Lynch who ran on well and after being fouled,
his delicately struck free fount the target at the complex end.
Ciaran Cullen fouled Rory O’Brien, Paul Baker missed the target from the 30
metre free and what a crucial miss this was to prove to be subsequently.
quick free by Michael Dermody found Niall McKenna and he punted forward to Barry
Kennedy. Kennedy curled over a
hanging centre, and the ball was well caught by MJ Corrigan. The experienced blondie forward appeared to have been fouled
in the small square, but he kept his feet and his heat to turn expertly and
rocket the ball to the net. The
Ballycomoyle supporters erupted with delirium, as they knew this was a vital
score with little over two minutes remaining, leaving Ballycomoyle one goal in
front on the score 2-5 to 1-5.
Dermody effected a great rescue job, and he jabbed forward to Niall McKenna.
Despite great pressure the Mullingar based accountant kept his head and
placed Seamus Lynch who shot an excellent point.
Ballinagore were not finished and after Jim Mahon fisted a pass to Rory
O’Brien, his parting effort was deflected for a 45.
The resultant 45 was sent to Jim Mahon and he again placed Rory O’Brien
but this time his effort sailed wide.
final whistle sounded with Norman Maxwell on the attack for Ballinagore, with
the score 2-6 to 1-5.
captain JJ Brody who received the cup from Pat Lynagh, Chairman of the Football
Board acknowledged the contribution of team trainer Eamon Moore and wished
Castlepollard the best of luck in the Senior Hurling final next Sunday.
The Ballycomoyle team then set off on a lap of honour around the pitch.
Marius Reilly, Michael Lynch, JJ Brody (captain) Seán Cox, Kieran Cullen, John
Lynch, Des Carter, Niall McKenna, Michael Dermody, John Daniels, Seamus Lynch
0-5, Barry Kennedy 1-1, John Fitzsimons, Michael John Corrigan 1-1, Seamus
Leahy. Subs: Noel Delaney for John Fitzsimons, Pat McGinn for Seamus Leahy,
Tossy Brady for Noel Delaney
Stephen Bridell, Seán Claffey, John Durkan, Pat Seery, Jimmy Marshall
(captain), Kieran Daly, Gerry Claffey, Brendan Robinson, Seán Robinson, Peter
Robinson, Norman Maxwell, Louis Ennis, Jarlath Mahon 0-1, Rory O’Brien, Paul
Baker 1-4. Subs: Gerry Linnane for Peter Robinson, Jim Mahon for Brendan
Robinson, Tony Robinson for Jarlath Mahon
Des Maguire, Bunbrosna