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Aug

6

Tonra Cup Final

By admin

By: Michael Gallagher in Milebush Park, Castlebar

Tonra Cup Final

KILLALA AFC 2 BALLYGLASS 1

THE rain may have taken up permanent residence in our sky during this summer season and our coastal scenery may have been shrouded by clinging fog, but the seaside was the place to be last Sunday evening when Killala brought home the Tonra Cup.

The beach boys were in celebratory mood following their exploits in Castlebar earlier in the day and the silverware in their midst was rich reward for a fine display.

Killala had started the final impressively and seemed to be coasting to a comfortable win when two goals clear midway through the second half before Ballyglass launched an almighty comeback that almost forced extra-time.

The first half had been largely uneventful despite fine play and commendable effort from both sides. Killala deservedly took a one-goal lead to the break, and smashed home a second early in the new half before missing a penalty, conceding a goal and living on their nerves until the final whistle unleashed scenes of wild celebration.

The first quarter was largely devoid of goalscoring opportunities and the more prominent players were Killala’s Rory Gallagher, who looked lively and decisive, and Brian Keane from Ballyglass, who produced superb deliveries from setpieces.

Killala almost opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Gallagher and Ian McNulty had shots blocked by desperate defenders and Gallagher sent a screamer just wide five minutes later as the Blue and Gold poured forward.

The North-Mayo men made the breakthrough in the 31st when Gallagher made his own sweet music by clipping the ball over Ballyglass goalkeeper, Paul Mannion and into the corner of the net.

The beach boys took that advantage to the break and went in search of another goal immediately on the resumption. Ian McNulty sent a shot screaming by the butt of the upright in the 47th and three minutes later he was on hand to send a screamer into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.

It was a superb goal and seemed to have secured the silverware because Ballyglass had shown very little attacking flair up to that point. The leaders had a wonderful chance to extend their lead even further when they were awarded a penalty in the 63rd minute.

A long ball over the Ballyglass defence was chased down by John Clarke. Paul Mannion raced off his line and seemed to get to the ball before Clarke barged into him but the goalkeeper was penalized and a spot kick was signaled. Kevin Whyte stepped forward but Mannion produced a great save to keep his side in the game.

That seemed to inspire the Red and White and they hit the net five minutes later. Daniel Burke made ground down the left and when his cross arrived at the back post, Dean Connolly was on hand to rattle the ball to the roof of the net.

Suddenly, the whole atmosphere of the game changed as Ballyglass sensed a comeback and Killala became a little nervous. The chasers pushed forward incessantly and caused panic in the leaders’ goal-mouth but they couldn’t find a way past Sean McHale.

The closest they came to an equaliser arrived in the 85th minute when Johnny Morrin gained possession 20-yards from goal and laid the ball into the path of Kevin Burke. The midfielder drove a first-time shot towards the roof of the net but McHale pulled off an acrobatic save to divert it over the bar.

Both sides had half chances to alter the scoreline in the closing moments but all came to nothing as the Seasiders readied themselves to celebrate a famous victory.

KILLALA: Sean McHale, Matt Webb, Kevin Whyte, Eamon Knox, Aidan Ferguson, Ian McNulty, Mark McDonnell, Brendan Ryan, Rory Gallagher, Micheal Noone, John Clarke. Subs: David Lowther (for McDonnell 37-inj), Alan Murphy (for McNulty 76).

BALLYGLASS: Paul Mannion, Keith Brett, PJ Gibbons, Darragh Ruane, Daniel Burke, Kevin Burke, Dean Connolly, Niall Sheridan, Alan Plunkett, John Noonan, Brian Keane. Subs: Gerard Mahon (for Keane 50), Gary Loftus (for Plunkett 51), Johnny Morrin (for Sheridan 74).

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