Despite conceding a couple of goals in the second half, Ballymahon Secondary still managed to get the better of local rivals Ballymahon Vocational in the County Post-Primary Schools Senior ‘B’ Football Final with just a solitary point separating the sides in the finish.
A strong wind made it extremely difficult for the players in the O’Beirne Cup decider played in bad weather conditions at Leo Casey Park on Wednesday of last week and the younger Ballymahon VS side really put it up to Ballymahon SS who had to depend on midfielder Shane Kenny and wing back Ben Maxwell to rescue the situation.
Lanesboro lad Kenny and Westmeath native Maxwell clocked up eight points between them, three of which came in the closing stages of the game after Ballymahon VS substitute Justin McCormack had fired home a goal in the 52nd minute to leave his side leading by 2-5 to 0-9.
But Ballymahon SS refused to panic and after Maxwell landed a terrific long range effort, Kenny stepped up to convert a well struck ‘45’ before Maxwell got the disputed winning score in the 58th minute.
It was a cruel defeat for Ballymahon VS who had worked so hard throughout the game to remain in contention while their competent keeper Jack Fox produced a couple of point-blank saves to keep his net intact, particularly the excellent stop to keep out a shot from Ballymahon SS substitute Lee Ross Gill midway through the second half.
Just the minimum of margins separated the sides at the break with Ballymahon Secondary holding a slender 0-5 to 0-4 advantage with their scores (all from play) coming from Ben Maxwell, David Shannon, Lee Coughlan, Ian Coughlan and Shane Kenny.
On target for the gallant losers in the first half were Thomas McGann, Conor Kelly (two frees) and Sean Kelly and while Shannon and B Maxwell fired over a point apiece for Ballymahon SS in the early stages of the second half, the game was thrown wide open when Brendan Wallace latched on to the breaking ball to grab the first goal for Ballymahon VS in the 40th minute.
Back came Ballymahon Secondary with a brace of points from frees converted by Shane Kenny, only for Ballymahon Vocational to battle back with a second goal following a surging run from defender Conor Dillon who created the chance for Justin McCormack to find the back of the net.
But a strong finish by Ballymahon Secondary that yielded three scores without reply was enough to clinch a hard earned O’Beirne Cup triumph.
BALLYMAHON SECONDARY SCHOOL: Gary Kenny; PJ Maxwell, Andrew Cox, John Shea; Ben Maxwell (0-4), Rioch Farrell, Eoin Ryan; Shane Kenny (0-4, 2 frees, 1 ‘45), Shane Bannon; Ian Coughlan (0-1), Daniel Steele, Daniel Howlin; Aidan Carberry, David Shannon (0-2), Lee Coughlan (0-1).
Subs used:- Lee Ross Gill, James Mulleady, Niall Sheehy and Fergus Farrell.
BALLYMAHON VOCATIONAL SCHOOL: Jack Fox; Shane Fox, Michael Cahill, Patrick Egan; James Higgins, Conor Farrell, Conor Dillon; Sean Kelly (0-1), Enda Farrell; Thomas McGann (0-1), Conor Kelly (0-3, all frees), Paddy Hanley; Sean Doherty, Liam Duffy, Brendan Wallace (1-0).
Subs used:- James Skelly, Ben Mulvihill, John Tumelty, Justin McCormack (1-0) and Niall Casey.
Referee: Ger Carberry (Killoe Emmet Og).