Intermediate Champions - 1997

Bonniconlon bridge eleven year gap after late scare

BONNICONLON 2-7

BALLINTUBBER 1-7

Bonniconlon celebrated in style last night following their deserved triumph over wasteful Ballintubber in the county Intermediate football final replay earlier in the day at Gilmartin Park, Kiltimagh.

Luckless Ballintubber-their third final defeat this season- were left to regret a terrible first- half performance which, incredibly included banging a penalty wide of the target, and also the missing of some great chances in the final quarter when in total control after pegging back a seven points deficit down to two points.

It was a big blow to Ballintubber's hopes when place-kicker Lynden Reilly was unable to resume for the second half, having taken a hefty knock in the first half.

Bonniconlon were always the more motivated and determined outfit and after establishing an early dominance with 1-3 it appeared a landslide victory was on the cards.

The new champions-last winners of the title in 1986- played some inspired football in the first period and by the 20th minute were seven points ahead, thanks to a brilliantly taken goal by David Melvin from a pass by team skipper Seamus Foody.

Melvin was one of the heroes in the draw epic two weeks ago and it was his second goal at vital stage of the second half yesterday that delivered a buckling blow to the West Mayo representatives.

However, the West Mayo sides defence must take some of the blame for both goals, having been caught too far from base on both occasions.

Defused

The first goal developed back in their own defence when Ollie Naughton defused a dangerous Ballintubber move by intercepting a pass.

The ball was quickly swept downfield by J.J. Fleming to Seamus Foody who picked out the unmarked David Melvin. The rest was simple.

Melvin's second goal- a timely one for the winners- was again the end result of a sweeping movement involving Niall Loftus and Seamus Foody before Melvin finished it off into an empy net, the goalkeeper having had advanced too far off his line.

Ballintubber, for three-quarters of the way, were only a pale shadow of the side which had dominated the drawn game for long periods.

Noel Finnerty and James Horan unbelievably allowed Bonniconlon acres of room around the middle of the field right through the first thirty minutes and were duly punished for their failure to contest fifty-fifty chances to gain possession.

Niall Loftus and Seamus Glacken dominated the centre for Bonniconlon and from the possession the attack made good use of it, particularly Paschal Tuohy who registered six points over the sixty minutes.

Colm Foody, Fintan 0'Donnell and Brian McDermott were aways a nightmare to the losers defence.

Loftus and Glacken-although Glacken was later replaced- can feel reasonably proud of their contributions against Finnerty and Horan who displayed great improvement over the final twenty minutes.

Ballintubber had to wait until the 13th minute for their first point from play, that coming from Vinnie Keane. Their only other first half contribution to the scoreboard came ten minutes earlier from a free by Reilly.

Indeed it was only when Ballintubber restructured midfield on the restart that some balance of play in that area became established.

The losers were afforded a golden chance to get back into the game in the 18th minute when awarded a penalty after Vinnie Keane, on fielding a Noel Mulroe free in front of the target, was taken down.

However, the experienced Vinnie Keane- who captained Mayo to an All-Ireland junior title last August-attempted to sneak the ball into the net by the left upright but sent it the wrong side of the post instead.

Bonniconlon immediately responded with three points by Paschal Tuohy to leave them 1-6 to 0-2 ahead at the interval.

Improvement

Ballintubber were a completely transformed side on the restart, although playing into the wind.

A Franny Glynn point in the 31st minute ingited the whole side snfd for the next ten minutes of so the Bonniconlon defe nce were working overtime to try and protect a dwindling seven points advantage.

Michael Derrig was a power of strength in the middle for battling Ballintubber, and it was his determined display that had inspired a greater effort from the remainder of the side.

The pacemakers could only watch in horror when two rapid points by Noel Mulroe reduced the deficit down to four points by the 43rd minute. Mulroe also had a free come back off the upright much to the delight of the Bonniconlon defence.

Against the run of play, Bonniconlon struck for their second goal by Melvin, but Ballintubber quickly returned top the attack and a Johnny McGing point left six point separated the teams with eleven miniutes remaining.

The goal chance Ballintubber had work so hard fo finally came in the 46th minute when awarded awarded anoytjet penalty for a foul on Colm Staunton.

Substitute Brian Donnelly-who had just replaced Mulroe- make no mistake from the spot.

Two minutes later the winners three points advantage looked certain ti be wiped out when James Horan-now playing on the '40'- put Keane clean through but his shot screamed past the far upright.

Two minutes from time Horan left two points between the teams but that was as close as they got despite determined efforts.

It was Paschal Tuohy who eventually eased Bonniconlon's worry one minute into added them when lashing over a great point.

Bonniconlon: Ray Gallagher; Paul Reape, Fintan Tuohy, Ollie Naughton; J.J. Fleming, Daniel Ruane, Ollie Murray; Niall Loftus, Seamus Glacken (0-1); Seamus Foody (capt), Colm Foody, David Melvin (2-0); Fintan 0'Donnell, Paschal Tuohy (0-6), Brian McDermott. Subs: Ollie Ginty, Anthony Egan.

Ballintubber: K. McDonagh; Pat Lally, John Feeney, Alan Staunton; P.J. Derrig, Mick Derrig, G. Quinn; Noel Finnerty, James Horan (0-1); Kieran Lally, Vinnie Keane (0-1), Noel Mulroe (0-2); Colm Staunton, Franny Glynn (0-1), Lynden Reilly (0-1. Subs: Joe Glynn, John McGing (0-1), Brian Donnelly (1-0).

Referee: M. Daly (Ballyhaunis).

Bonniconlon GAA Club - Later History

In a rapidly changing environment the Bonniconlon GAA Club realised that in order to be successful on the field then the players need to have the proper facilities at their service. The year 1971 saw the first phase of the park development with the levelling of the pitch. The club then had the foresight to elect a Park Development Committee to implement and carry out a planned programme to build a ball alley, dressing rooms and other amenities. In the autumn of 1977 a special meeting was called to form a Park Development Committee. The following officers were elected; Chairman: John Neary, Secretary: Anne Mangan and Treasurer: Hubert Kearns. Other members included Donal Tuohy, Paul Carey, John Kelly, John Judge, Anthony Egan, John O’Donnell, Sean Loftus, Padraic Gallagher and Olive Tuohy. After getting planning permission for the ball alley and dressing rooms the foundation was laid and work proceeded with the building. The initial plan was to build a ball alley and dressing rooms but upon reflection the committee decided to incorporate a games room over the dressing rooms so that the building would be of uniform height and it would now be but a centre where the community especially the youth could come to play games. Despite the club having many quality players down through the years there was still no county title to show for their efforts. Having suffered a number of defeats in North Mayo Junior Championship finals during the mid seventies the club were now determined to come out victorious in 1978. In the North Mayo Final they beat near rivals Ballina with a second half goal by Noel Judge turning the game in their favour. Yet winning the North Mayo Championship was not enough for these players and manager Jimmy Foody. In the county semi-final against the Neale in Ballyhaunis Bonniconlon managed to scrape a one point win. The team was thankful that goalkeeper Michael O’Malley was in fine form that day. On Sunday 15th October Bonniconlon GAA club competed in its first county final against the West Mayo champions Ballintubber. Another close game ended with a one point win for the North Mayo champions as captain Anthony Egan lifted the cup aloft in front of the club’s loyal supporters. The team in many ways developed from the minor team that lost the North Mayo final in 1973, the under-21 team that lost in 1974 and the junior team that lost finals in 1975 and 1977. 1980 – 1990 The 1980’s was to prove a very fruitful decade in the history of the club. In 1982 the club had a most successful year in under age football with much credit going to Donie Tuohy. The minor team won the North Mayo ‘B’ Championship by beating a highly fancied Ballycastle team. This was the first underage title ever won by the club. Included on the team was Niall Loftus who was a member of the Mayo minor team that year. However it was the Under 14’s who stole the show that year. They were victorious in the North Mayo ‘B’ Final by beating Ballycastle. They then went on to the County Final where their opposition was Parke. In a thrilling first game the team snatched a last minute equaliser. The replay was then the curtain raiser for the Burrishoole versus Tourmakeady Intermediate Final in McHale Park Castlebar. In another exciting game the end result was once again a draw. However it proved to be third time unlucky as two soft goals at vital stages in the replay meant Bonniconlon went home empty handed. Sunday 10th April 1983 was truly a historic day in the life of the Bonniconlon GAA Club. It was the day that the Fr. O’Hara Sports Complex was officially opened by Dr. Mickey Loftus of Crossmolina who was later to hold the office of President of the GAA. To mark the occasion the first inter-county game in Bonniconlon was played between Mayo and the then All Ireland champions Offaly. Mayo won the game with local clubman Anthony Egan captaining the side at full back. Another game was held beforehand with Bonniconlon taking on an All Stars selection which included Padraig Mullarkey, Seamus Weir, Liam O’Neill, Tommy O’Malley and Richie Bell who all played for Mayo at one stage or another. Barnes Murphy of Sligo also togged out for the occasion. Having held their own in the Intermediate grade during the early eighties Bonniconlon sights were now set on winning the Intermediate Championship for the first time in the club’s history. The breakthrough came in 1986 when they beat Achill in the County Final. Fr. Padraig Costello, a former Aughamore player and now parish priest in Bohola managed the team to victory. 1990 – 2000 The early nineties were relatively quite in terms of footballing success on the field. Off the field however the club received a major boost when Anthony Egan was appointed the Mayo senior football team manager in 1995. For Anthony, who had been a selector for the previous two years under the reign of Kerry legend Jack O’Shea, it was a great personal honour. Also during the nineties many of the players of the club played for Mayo at certain age levels from U-16, Minor, Under-21, Junior and Over 40’s. The year 1997 was another great year in the history of the club. With their last success in the Intermediate grade coming in 1986 Bonniconlon’s new generation of players were eager to repeat the achievement of eleven years previous. They made it all the way to the final in October and their opponents in that final were Ballintubber. Although Ballintubber enjoyed dominance for most of the drawn game Pascal Tuohy’s two late points ensured Bonniconlon lived to fight another day. In the replay fixed for Bank Holiday Monday it was David Melvin who was hero of the hour for Bonniconlon as his two goals ensured that the Sweeney Cup headed to North Mayo. Jubilant scenes were witnessed among Bonniconlon supporters that day in Gilmartin Park Kiltimagh as captain Seamus Foody held aloft the Sweeney Cup. Seamus’ brother Colm was awarded the Man of the Match after a fine performance. With Bonniconlon now competing in the Senior Championship the objective was to stay playing senior football by getting promotion from Division Two up to the top division. This they did and an added bonus was achieved by beating Breaffy in the Division Two League Final in Foxford in September. The side was captained by Padraig Reape. Their senior championship campaign was ended early but not before they were beaten in a replay by Claremorris. The same year also saw the first National Schools county title come to Bonniconlon when Bonniconlon National School won the Division Three Final of the Cumann na mBunscoil competition. On Friday 5th June in McHale Park Castlebar the St. Joseph’s school side from Bonniconlon captained by Nigel Meer beat Bunnacurry NS from Achill in a closely contested match. Great credit must go the management team of Anthony Egan, Raymond Devine, Johnny Durcan and Fr. Tommy Towey who was at that time Chairman of the Mayo GAA Coaching & Games Development Committee. Bonniconlon NS panel of players Rory Lynch, Nigel Meer, James Rafter, Damien Egan, Alan Egan, Liam McGowan, Niall Durcan, Alan Dempsey, Sean Kelly, Gary Devine, Joseph Mullarkey, Denise Smith, Fiona Foody In 1999 another milestone was reached when the club officially opened their new stand. The stand is dedicated to the memory of the late John Neary, former President and a lifelong member of the club. After the blessing and official opening of the stand performed by Mayo County Board Chairman P.J. McGrath, the Mayo county team played Sligo in a senior football challenge referred by John’s son Vincent who is a well known referee in Mayo circles. The new millennium The start of the new millennium has not been the best of times for Bonniconlon. Having lost their senior status they were then to lose their intermediate status being relegated from Division Two. With the tradition of the club and with all due respect to the other junior clubs Bonniconlon should not be plying their trade in the junior championship. The team is in a transitional period with a new generation of players coming up and in a few years time they should return to where they belong. Yet it hasn’t all been bad times as in 2001 the first underage county title was won by the U-16 team who beat Parke/Keelogues/Crimlin in the County U-16 ‘B’ Championship Final. In the final played in Gilmartin Park in Kiltimagh Bonniconlon’s greater hunger was enough to beat the newly formed Parke club. Bonniconlon’s goalkeeper Rory Lynch captained the side while Anthony Egan, Michael McKenzie and John Meers were all involved in managing the team. A year later the U-21 team made it to the final in the ‘C’ Championship but were beaten by a better Islandeady side in Foxford. With all this underage talent coming up the future certainly looks bright for the Bonniconlon club.