Westport GAA

FOOTBALL MAYO MINOR ‘B’ CHAMPIONSHIP- – -Westport bridge a 17-year gap


Westport 2-13
Cill Chomáin 1-10

Austin Garvin

Westport bridge a 17-year gap

OUTSTANDING even though he finished on the losing side. He scored seven points and was consistently good all through.

FORWARDS invariably receive the kudos when honours are handed out in Gaelic football. But those in attendance at MacHale Park on Sunday last would argue that the reverse was the case when assessing the fine win of Westport over Cill Chomáin in the Mayo Minor ‘B’ Football Championship final.
It was the Covies’ first title since 1997, and certainly their impressive tally of 2-13 was highly commendable, but the foundations were laid in their excellent defensive performance. Their rearguard were very impressive in snuffing out the threat of a highly-rated Cill Chomáin attack, as they held them in a vice-like grip from beginning to end.
This was really exemplified in the final quarter during which the North Mayo team enjoyed plenty of the ball without making any appreciable impression on the scoreboard. Nine of Cill Chomáin’s scores came from their two impressive midfielders Darragh Murphy and Seamus Murray, with their attack just scoring 1-1 between them. That tells its own story.
Wind-assisted Westport were quickly out of the traps as they led by three points to no score after eight minutes. Colm Moran opened their account in the first minute, with their goalkeeper Patrick O’Malley landing two pointed frees from distance.
Initial Cill Chomáin forays into Westport territory were met with a disciplined defensive screen that set the pattern for the entire contest. Cill Chomáin eventually opened their account after 10 minutes when Seamus Murray kicked a great point. Midway through the half they had reduced the deficit to two with Murray and Darragh Murphy (free) landing points.
After Fionn McDonagh for Westport and Darragh Murphy (free) exchanged points, the westerners enjoyed a fruitful spell in the ascendancy, culminating in their adding 1-2 without reply. Slack Cill Chomáin defending allowed Ronan Geraghty cross the ball for Seán Brogan to find the net.
Two more points from Ciarán McGovern and Fionn McDonagh saw Westport go 1-9 to 0-4 ahead. However, the trailing side finished the half strongly with points from Seamus Murray and Darragh Murphy (free). This left the score at the interval 1-9 to 0-6.
Cill Chomáin opened the second half impressively with pointed frees from Darragh Murphy. When Justin Healy punched a goal from a Murphy cross after 42 minutes, it was game on. But rather than continue on an upward spiral, Cill Chomáin’s performance stalled due to some poor finishing and stern defending from an improving Westport side.
The West Mayo side killed the game off when Colm Moran buried the ball in the net after Oisín McLoughlin set up the chance. McLoughlin then added a minor leaving the score at 2-11 to 1-8.
When an impressive Darragh Murphy added two points on the trot to narrow the gap to four, an exciting finish looked on the cards. But it never materialised, as the winners displayed an ability to respond when danger threatened culminating in Fionn McDonagh and Colm Moran adding points. McDonagh’s effort could easily have finished under the crossbar but it didn’t matter, as Westport had enough in reserve at the end.
Overall, this was an impressive display by Westport, who bridged a 17-year gap with a little to spare.
Cill Chomáin will be disappointed but they were unable to avail of the chances that came their way leading to their defeat, also they had some weaknesses that were exposed as the game went on.
There were some baffling decisions throughout the game from referee Martin Kennedy, which left players on both sides bewildered.

P O’Malley (0-2, 2f); N McManamon, P Duffy, R Higgins; L Noone, A Dunne, C McGovern (0-1); S O’Donnell, C O’Donnell; D McGreal, R Geraghty, O McLoughlin (0-1); C Moran (1-3), F McDonagh (0-5, 2f), S Brogan (1-1).
Subs used: S Geraghty for A Dunne; D Walsh for R Geraghty; T McHale for D McGreal.

P McHale; P Eschewy, J Mason, S King; J P Healy, O McGrath, M Doocey; D Murphy (0-7, 4f), S Murray (0-2); J Brennan, A Healy, S Moran; J Healy (1-0), G Ruddy (0-1), D Healy.
Subs used: S Moran for J Brennan; M King for D Healy

Referee; M Kennedy (The Neale)