1995 Achill vs Lacken


Achill, 1-9; Lacken, 0-8

North Mayo champions, Lacken must wait for another day before a county junior title is to make its way to the parish. For Achill, however, it was their fifth title. The game itself never rose to any amazing heights and there were far too many mistakes on either side that contributed to the mediocrity of the proceedings. 

But, and we have often stated this before, finals are about results, with quality performances, while welcome, coming a poor second to the outcome. The record books will state that Achill won the 1995 County Junior Football Championship and no reference will be made to the quality of the game.
But let us not give the impression that there was no quality on display. One man who will not forget that day in a hurry is twenty year old Raymond McNamara who was voted man of the match. Just over a year ago Raymond was lying on his back in Merlin Hospital after suffering a broken leg while playing soccer. It has taken a lot of hard work by the Dublin based student to play again but all the effort was worth it on Sunday evening.
At the other end of the experience strata is Gerry Hasset who postponed his holiday to play in the final. It was a good decision. Gerry kicked five points from frees and his general play contributed in no small way to the Achill victory.
Few would have predicted an Achill victory if Seán Grealis was held scoreless. But that is what happened and that is a very important pointer for Achill.
What does the future hold then for Achill and its development as a team? No one doubts that the talent is on the island but it has to be harnassed properly. Next year is important for the team. With one or two exceptions it is still a young team and there is no reason, why, with the proper preparation that the team cannot make an impact on the Intermediate Championship. For the right example they need look no further than to their own West Mayo rivals, Kilmeena and Louisburgh, both of whom captured the junior title and went on then to greater things. The ball is firmly in the court of the Achill club. It will be interesting to see how they hop it.
Gerry Hasset was on target after a minute from a free to give Achill the perfect start against the strong wind that was blowing in their faces but shortly after the Lacken centre-half forward, John Lavin, levelled. Achill used the ball better than Lacken and despite facing the wind they brought the game to Lacken. Hasset pointed again after five minutes from a free.
There is a turning point in every game and after ten minutes a rocket of a shot for Des Loughney cracked off the cross-bar when a goal looked likely. Charlie Collins did score a point from the rebound but it was poor consolation for a fine move. Raymond McNamara looked to be through for a goal a minute later at the other end but his shot was blocked on the line. Lacken took the lead for the first time after 14 minutes through Des Loughney and three minutes later the lead was increased by an Oliver Clarke point.
But Achill bounced back and two points before the break, a free from Gerry Hasset and a superb point from play by Ray McNamara, had them level after 20 minutes. The former Mayo player Michael Collins was clean through for a goal after 23 minutes but stand-in keeper, Maurice O’Keeffe, deputising for the honeymooning Edward Grealis, pulled off a fine save and as often happens in such situations, the play moved to the other end where Ray McNamara goaled after being put through by an incisive pass from Fergal Kilbane. Lacken responded before the break with two points from half-forward John Clarke to leave the half-time score, Achill 1-4, Lacken 0-7.
Achill were by far the more creative team in the second half. Their use of the ball was much better than Lacken and even though they had to play the last ten minutes without centre-half back, Darren Lavelle, after he was dismissed by referree, Willie Feeley.
Lacken only scored one point in that second period, an effort from Johnny Lavin after six minutes. They had a fair supply of the ball but they failed miserably to make use of it and once the influential Ray McNamara pointed within a minute of the restart there was only going to be one winner. Further Achill points came via Adrian McLoughlin, Gerry Hasset (0-2) and the first of Paul McNamara, not a bad feat considering that the captain and club chairman played for most of the game with two broken fingers.
Best for Achill were Maurice O’Keeffe, Marty Mangan, Pádraig Molloy, Tom Grealis, Paul McNamara, Raymond McNamara, Seán Grealis and Gerry Hasset.
Scores for Achill: Raymond McNamara (1-2); Gerry Hasset (0-5); Adrian McLoughlin (0-1); Paul McNamara (0-1).
Achill: Maurice O’Keeffe; Marty Mangan; Pádraig Molloy; Brian Joyce; Michael Gallagher; Darren Lavelle; Tom Grealis; Paul McNamara (Capt.); Declan O’Malley; Raymond McNamara; Adrian McLoughlin; Seán Grealis; Fergal Kilbane; Noel Cooney, Gerry Hasset. Subs used: Brendan Keane for B. Joyce; Noel English for N. Cooney.