Conan Casey spoke of his delight after Ballymahon Vocational School booked their place in the All-Ireland Senior ‘D’ Football Championship Final with a nine point win over Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh Co. Mayo on Sunday last.
Newtowncashel native Casey, part of the management team with fellow teacher James Galvin (from Castledaly in Co Westmeath), admitted that the scoreline doesn’t reflect the true nature of the game played at the Mayo GAA Centre of Excellence in Ballyhaunis.
“Despite what the scoreline suggests it was a nervy second half. Sancta Maria had chances but defence stood firm throughout as they have been doing all year. Our goalkeeper Jack Fox pulled off a number of good saves while the full-back and half-back line were exceptional, especially in the second half.”
Just like their previous games Ballymahon VS started the game with great intensity and it’s something they have worked on. It was Enda Farrell who opened their account with just minutes gone on the clock. Thomas McGann added on another point before Sancta Maria got their first point from a free.
McGann then set up Conor Dillon minutes later to get the game’s only goal with the Westmeath lad making no mistake in finding the back of the net. It definitely set Ballymahon on their way and Kenagh clubman McGann followed up with an excellent point as did Shane McGoey.
Although Ballymahon VS were in control, Sancta Maria created two goal chances but Ballymahon keeper Jack Fox brought off excellent saves to keep his net intact.
Sean Kelly was then on the mark as Ballymahon VS continued to dominate. Sancta Maria were strong down the middle but Ballymahon had their homework done in getting the better of the Mayo side.
Ballymahon VS had a chance to get their second goal but the Sancta Maria keeper pulled off a good save as the south Longford school went in at the break seven points in front, 1-5 to 0-1.
Despite holding a comfortable lead Casey felt his side could have put more scores on the board in the first half due to them playing with the aid of a strong wind. He said: “It was probably a 10 point wind and we ended up seven points ahead at half-time. We expected an onslaught in the second half and they did put pressure on us. They worked hard but our defence stood up to them.”
John Tumelty got the opening score of the second half to stretch his side’s advantage to eight points. Sancta Maria then had a player black carded as they began to get frustrated with the way the game was going.
Minutes later Sancta Maria’s misery was compounded when they were reduced to 14 players with a straight red card being flashed.
The Louisburgh outfit tried in vain to get scores but were restricted to just one point in the second half with opposing keeper Jack Fox denying them on a few occasions as they went in search of goals.
Conor Dillon and Shane McGoey got late points for Ballymahon VS who now face Ballingarry Presentation School in the All-Ireland title decider. The Co Tipperary school defeated Magherafelt from Co Derry in their semi- final.
BALLYMAHON VS: Jack Fox (Ballymahon/Forgney Gaels); Karl Farrell (Kenagh St Dominic’s), Michael Cahill (Carrick Sarsfields), James Higgins (St Dominic’s); Shane Farrell (St Dominic’s), Conor Farrell (Southern Gaels), Sean Doherty (Carrick Sarsfields); Enda Farrell (Carrick Sarsfields, 0-1), Brendan Wallace (St Dominic’s); Conor Dillon (Milmore Gaels, Westmeath, 1-1), Shane McGoey (Carrick Sarsfields, 0-2), Thomas McGann (St Dominic’s, 0-2); John Tumelty (Tang/Maryland, 0-1), Sean Kelly (Carrrick Sarsfields, 0-1), Justin McCormack (Carrick Sarsfields).
Subs used:- Niall Casey (Southern Gaels) for S Doherty (injured), Thomas Lennon (Tang/Maryland) for J McCormack; J McCormack for J Tumelty (injured).