North Mayo Junior Final (Sunday 2-Oct-76)
Lahardane Win First North Crown
Unlikely Lahardane achieved what must have seemed for the most the impossible dream on Sunday last when they overwhelmed the might of Ballina Stephenites to take their first junior divisional title since the club was re-established ten years ago. At St. Tiernan's Park, Crossmolina there was but a single point seperating the sides after a further hour's exacting fare in the replay but their was no denying Lahardane's right to the title.
Their youth and enthusiasm proved too much for the Ballina side and in midfielder Tommy Leonard they had a match winner who carried too much fire power for anyone Ballina could provide to match against him.
But it was by no means a one man show. Lahardane had control of most sectors and if they lacked anything it was the experience that would have seen them convert their outfield superiority into scores.
The game was thirteen minutes old before either side found their scoring boots and appropriately enough it was Lahardane that drew first blood with a Tommy Leonard point.
Leonard was on the mark again after ten minutes from a free before Ballina launched their first really serious assault on the Lahardane pedestal but Stanley Rowe, Tommy O'Boyle and P.J. Loughney were badly off target with their attempts.
Leonard and Dessie Barrett swapped points before the break to leave the sides standing 0-3 to 0-1 at the interval. The writing was on the wall for Ballina at this stage and it appeared that Lahardane had only to maintain the impetus to annex the honours.
They started off the second period as they had played the first - in control. Marksman Leonard was again on the mark with a point before substitute Kevin Rowland made it five points to one in favour of Lahardane.
Belatedly Ballina attempted to stymie the efforts of Leonard and his partner Jimmy McGreevey by introducing Eddie Melvin to the sector but it took him some time to make his presence felt in the sector, and Lahardane added to their score through Pat Rowland.
This increased the lead to five points but now the supply routes being opened up by the foraging of Melvin at centre field showed signs of reaping dividends.
Melvin and Rowe pointed to leave the losers a goal behind but one of Tom Leonard's "specials" really put it up to the Stephenites.
Leonard saved the day in the drawn game and he did so again on Sunday with a beautifully taken free from the left sideline.
As events transpired it turned out to be a valuable score. It saved Lahardane from having to endure the agony of extra time when Ballina's greater experience might have made the difference.
With three minutes left on the clock Ballina began a last gasp build up at centre field and the ball was flashed through to Melvin and he slotted the leather into the right corner where Brian McGreevey fumbled and Noel O'Dowd was in like a flash to fist the ball to the net.
The minutes that followed must have seemed like hours for Lahardane. Stanley Rowe collected from a break and seemed certain to point but his shot went wide. It was Ballina's dying kick.
Jimmy McGreevey, Tom Leonard, John Devanney, Eamon Rowland, Brian McGreevey, goalie Gilger, Joe Kelly, Kevin Leonard, Fr. Gerry Gillespie, Pat Rowland..... all heroes for bringing honour to a club reformed only ten years ago.
Their forwards can improve a lot and the team as a whole would do well to realise that Tom Leonard in the centre is only human and will tire.
A sad end for the Stephenites this. Marks for perseverence though to Jim McGarry, Michael Kilkenny, Noel O'Dowd and netminder Joe Foody. Star of the hour was undoubtedly Eddie Melvin who injected a lot of necessary pace after his introduction.
Scorers -- Lahardane: T. Leonard 0-5, K. Rowland and P. Rowland 0-1 each. Ballina: N. O'Dowd 1-1, D. Barrett and S. Rowe 0-1 each.
Lahardane: P.Gilger, M. Barrett, J. McHale, B. McGreevey, E. Rowland, J. Rowland, J. Devanney, J. McGreevey, T. Leonard, M. Jordan, J. Kelly, K. Leonard, G. Gillespie, W. Gilger, P. Rowland. Subs.: K. Rowland (for Jordan).
Referee: Sean Keary (Crossmolina).<<Back
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