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2013 O'Mara Cup, Ballinrobe 2:12 Mayo Gaels 1:05

Our senior team played their first game of 2013 on Friday night, March 1st under lights in Flanagan Park, Ballinrobe. Unfortunately for us it was a losing start to the O'Mara Cup campaign as we went down to a scoreline of 2:12 to 1:05.
While there were 6 or 7 regular starters missing from our squad, due to injury or Mayo GAA commitments, a few of our younger lads upped their game and acquitted themselves very well. In particular Alan Morris and, when he came on at half-time, Liam Duggan.

We failed to make any impact in the 1st half, only scoring two points from free kicks.  The first from Niall Brett in the first minute and the other from Mally Byrne in the 13th minute.  Our best chance to make in impact came in the 18th minute when a high ball from Niall Brett came back off the post and dropped into the square.  Brian Flynn pounced to poke it home but was fouled in his attempt.  The resulting penalty by Mally Byrne was saved. 
In the meantime, during the half Ballinrobe rampaged through to score two goals in the 6th and 14th minutes while notching up four points from play and one from a free kick.  Another feature of this first half was the referees eagerness to dish out yellow cards with Martin Connor, James McGing and Shane Vahey all picking up cards in a game that was played in a very sporting manner.  At least most of us watching couldn't fathom his thinking.

The start of the 2nd half saw The Gaels make a number of changes.  James Fallon moved from goal to midfield with Allyn Brett moving into goal.  Shane Lyons replaced James McGing and Liam Duggan replaced John Sloyan.
We started the 2nd half like the 1st with a point from a free by Niall Brett.  Then in the 4th minute our "dodgy" referee red-carded Aiden Jennings for a shoulder charge and Ballinrobe pointed the free kick.  A Neill McGurrin point from play was followed by two further Ballinrobe points.  At this stage John Sloyan was re-introduced for Neill McGurrin and James McGing for Brian Flynn.  It proved an inspired move as a slick pass from Alan Morris put John Sloyan through on goal and he made no mistake. 
With the score now at 1:04 to 2:08, the Gaels were just starting to string some moves together when the referee struck again.  Martin Connor received a 2nd yellow for an innocuous tackle and had to walk.  Ballinrobe then dominated the remaining 10 minutes slotting over four unanswered points with Niall Brett bagging the last score with a point from a free on the 28th minute.

With the lack of some of their regular players and having to deal with a bad referee, The Gaels will not be too upset with this first game of the season. 
Still plenty of work to do before the next game against Claremorris on St Patrick's Day.

Team; James Fallon, Allyn Brett, Adrian Heneghan, Aiden Jennings, John Sloyan (1:00), Martin Connor, Brian Heneghan, Paul Walsh, James McGing, Neill McGurrin (0:01), Niall Brett (0:03), Alan Morris, Brian Flynn, Shane Vahey, Mally Byrne (0:01).
Subs; Shane Lyons for James McGing, Liam Duggan for John Sloyan, John Sloyan for Neill McGurrin, James McGing for Brian Flynn.