Davitts and Ballinrobe U-18’s met in the South Mayo A League in Ballindine on Friday night with Davitts winning by 2-10 to 1-7 after a great battle. There were only three teams in the A competition so with Ballinrobe defeating Claremorris by a point in the first game two weeks ago and Claremorris defeating Davitts by seven points last week, Davitts had to win by at least five points to qualify for the final.
Davitts midfielder Fenton Kelly opened the scoring with a second minute point but Ballinrobe shot two points in the 4th and 5th minutes before Jack Melvin goaled for Davitts from close range in the 6th minute. Three minutes later Ballinrobe were awarded a penalty, after the outstanding Micheal Hett fouled a Ballinrobe attacker bearing down on goal. Micheal received a black card and Ballinrobe converted the penalty to regain the lead. We had to wait five minutes for the next score and it was worth the wait with Fenton Kelly finishing off a superb goal after a great move involving himself, Cathal Corless and Jack Melvin.
Dylan Gallagher and Cathal Corless pointed in the 22nd and 25th minutes to extend Davitts lead to four points but Ballinrobe shot two points in the 27th minute before Dylan Gallagher pointed again in the 29th minute to leave the homeside ahead by 2-4 to 1-4 at halftime.
Fenton Kelly and Cathal Corless pointed in the 36th and 37th minutes, Ballinrobe scored one in the 39th minute and Dylan Gallagher pointed just before the second water break to leave Davitts ahead by five points as the game entered the last quarter. Davitts would have to play that final quarter without their inspirational centre back Fionnan Gallagher who went off injured in the 42nd minute.
Two Ballinrobe points in the 48th and 52nd minutes reduced Davitts lead to three points. A superb save by Davitts custodian Dylan O Brien and a few timely interventions particularly from Micheal Hett, Thomas Ronayne and Conor McDermott kept Davitts in the hunt for that final slot. Time was running out for the home side but ice cool Dylan Gallagher though proved to be the hero with points in the 56th minute, 60th minute and again with virtually the last kick of the game to clinch his side’s place in the final.
This was a real team display, and it needed to be, to beat a gallant Ballinrobe side (most of their team are under 18 again next year). The final against Claremorris will probably be played next Friday evening.
Dylan O Brien had a fine game in goals with Brian Og McTigue, Micheal Hett and Sean Keadin forming a strong full back line. Thomas Ronayne, Fionnan Gallagher and Brian Birmingham did sterling work in the half back line with the impressive Conor McDermott having a major impact when introduced in the second half. Fenton Kelly (1-2) and Cathal Corless (0-2) played some brilliant football at midfield. Mark Birmingham, Davy Hennessy and Fionn McLoughlin formed a hard working half forward line, bolstered by the second half introduction of Bon Glynn. Dylan Gallagher (0-6), Jack Melvin (1-0) and Jack Devane were menacing throughout in the full forward line.