Ballina Stephenites win Connacht SFC club title

Ballina Stephenites (Mayo) 2-8 St Brigid's (Roscommon) 0-12

Ballina Stephenites (Mayo) 2-8 St Brigid's (Roscommon) 0-12

Ballina Stephenites overcame the second-half dismissal of David O'Mahony today to capture their third Connacht Senior Club Football championship and deny Roscommon side St Brigid's back-to-back titles.

The Mayo side led throughout this contest, but withstood a late rally from St Brigid's to ensure that they held out for a two-point win.

Ballina signalled their intentions early on when Stephen Hughes scored a goal for them after just 20 seconds and although Brigid's remained in contention in the opening stages thanks to scores from Cathal McHugh and John Tiernan, the Mayo outfit were always in front.

Senan Kilbride was one of St. Brigid's star players over the course of the hour, scoring some excellent points from play but, at the interval, his side trailed by 2-4 to 0-6 with Pat Harte poaching Ballina's second goal thanks to a 14th-minute penalty kick.

Although four points separated the sides at the break, St Brigid's had been guilty of a lot of missed chances in the first half.

Indeed St Brigid's could have grabbed a goal of their own during the opening half - Gavin Dolan unlucky to miss out in the 19th-minute after a pass from Cathal McHugh.

Frankie Dolan was also guilty of missing some scorable chances, including two close range frees in the closing seven minutes of the half.

St. Brigid's rallied well on the restart to cut the deficit to a point, thanks to fine scores from midfielders Mark O'Carroll and Karol Mannion, while a fourth Senan Kilbride point ensured the minimum separated the sides.

Despite Ballina having David O'Mahony dismissed due to a second yellow card, the Mayo side remained resilient.

Although St Brigid's continued to reduce the gap, a 64th-minute goal effort from O'Carroll failed to hit the back of the net and agonisingly ricocheted off the crossbar to deny St Brigid's a last-gasp winning goal.

Ballina Stephenites: D Clarke; K Golden, M Wynne, D O'Mahony; B Ruane, C Leonard, S Sweeney; R McGarrity, D Brady (0-3); G Brady (0-1), P Harte (1-0, 1-0pen), E Casey; S Hughes (1-1), P McGarry, L Brady (0-3, 3f).

Subs used: S Melia for McGarrity (59 mins), A Kelly for G Brady (61).

St. Brigid's: J Martin; E Ruane, D Donnelly, R Kelly; P Domican, G Aherne, N Grehan; M O'Carroll (0-2), K Mannion (0-1); J Tiernan (0-1), F Dolan (0-2, 2f), G Dolan; D O'Connor, S Kilbride (0-4), C McHugh (0-1).

Subs used: B O'Brien for D O'Connor (39 mins), P Kilcommons (0-1) for Aherne (53).

Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo)

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