Match Review - FINAL Junior Champ 07 - Mayonews 23/10/07

BRINGING IT BACK HOME Achill captain Colm Gallagher and the legendary John Cooney lift the Petie McDonnell Cup after last Sunday’s Mayo JFC Final. 
Pic: Michael Donnelly

Achill seize the day
Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Achill 2-12
Islandeady 1-8

Mike Finnerty

IT seemed fitting that on the day Achill won their sixth Mayo junior football championship title, the last surviving member of the 1942 side was there to see the Gaeltacht club reclaim the Petie McDonnell Cup in style.

John Cooney played on the Achill team that won the club’s first junior title 65 years ago and brought his medal along to McHale Park last Sunday. His heart will have been warmed by the display the latest generation of his club men produced; full of pace, power and panache, attributes that have long been synonymous with the West Mayo club.

There can be no disputing that the best team won. Micheál McNamara and Hugh McGinty got their tactics and game-plan spot on while the training regime of Colm Cafferkey and Michael Denis McNamara meant Achill were produced in rude health.

Islandeady, to their credit, fought the good fight but were unable to break down a resolute Achill defence often enough and seemed to run out of steam down the home stretch.
They also lacked the guile and invention of the winners and relied far too heavily on the fleet-footed Vinnie Feeney for scores.

Achill won most of the individual battles and Mayo manager John O’Mahony will have taken note, in particular, of the assured display of former Mayo panellist Colm Cafferkey at centre-back.
County minor of the past two years, Donal Gallagher, also turned in a barnstorming display at midfield while Donal Corrigan, a rangy, skilful and accurate wing-forward was the unanimous choice for man of the match.

Corrigan’s work-rate and selfless dedication to the cause epitomised Achill’s collective mindset. No cause seemed lost, no effort seemed too much, and they never looked likely to be beaten.
They took the lead in the opening minute and never fell behind, a Colm Gallagher goal helping them to open up a five-point cushion early in the second half.

Islandeady rallied impressively with a wonderful goal from Stephen Staunton soon after and when William McDonnell left us with a one-point game in the 40th minute, we readied ourselves for a duel to the death.

Instead, Achill upped the ante and laid siege to the Islandeady goal, tacking on 1-5.
They also closed ranks in front of Conor Fadian’s goal, Michael Gallagher, the English brothers and the Cafferkeys forming a green wall that restricted Islandeady to just a couple of points in the last twenty minutes.

The midfield diamond of Colm Cafferkey, Donal Gallagher, Martin Keane and Colm Gallagher provided Achill with a platform for most of their good work and this quartet, along with the outstanding Donal Corrigan, were all to the fore in the final quarter.

Gerry Cafferkey bobbed and weaved his way through to nick a crucial score that doubled Achill’s lead in the 41st minute before the totemic Martin Keane palmed a ball off the crossbar moments later.
A green tide was beginning to flow towards David Hussey’s goal and an inspirational score from Donal Gallagher then eased Achill into a 1-9 to 1-6 lead.

Islandeady refused to bend the knee but despite their best efforts, and no shortage of perspiration, only Vinnie Feeney and Stephen Staunton looked capable of troubling the scorekeepers.
Feeney clipped another point (his fourth) from close range after Richard Moylette’s goalbound shot had been blocked but Islandeady’s scores dried up in the final fifteen minutes.

Achill’s uncompromising defence never wavered and a stunning pointed free from the right wing from the rampant Donal Corrigan was just reward for the team’s efforts.

Again, Vinnie Feeney replied in kind for Islandeady with a rasping shot after sub’ Shane Heraty had created the opening. That score left just two points between the teams but Achill weren’t finished yet.
Donal Corrigan and Colm Gallagher combined to set up Kevin Kilbane for a vital score that gave Achill some breathing space before Corrigan took a pass from Colm Cafferkey and lofted over a beautiful point.

The end was nigh for Islandeady but any doubts were well and truly dispelled when sub’ David Cattigan and Martin English linked up to release Kevin Kilbane for a clinical finish past David Hussey.
A seven-point winning margin seemed just about right in the end. Achill had set the tone from the outset and moved the ball confidently with the boot and hand.

A couple of early scores from Michael Dara Sweeney propelled them in front before Vinnie Feeney hit a brace of frees for Islandeady to level the game in the tenth minute.

Donal Corrigan then served notice of intent with two wonderful points from play from the left wing to leave Achill 0-4 to 0-2 up by the 16th minute.

Vinnie Feeney’s quality shone all through and a Johan Collins pass saw the corner-forward nail a sweet score that kept Islandeady in the hunt.

The second quarter was nip-and-tuck, full of honest effort and endeavour. Achill again made the running, Donal Gallagher and Michael Dara Sweeney (free) smacking over points that eased their side into a 0-6 to 0-3 advantage after 28 minutes.

But Islandeady always seemed ready to play catch-up and could (and should) have been level when Stephen Staunton broke through but his shot flew over Conor Fadian’s bar when a goal seemed certain.
Another point from David O’Brien on the stroke of half-time saw Islandeady head to the dressing-rooms with a spring in their step, but Achill were not for turning.

They had waited twelve years since their last junior championship success and were intent on making up for lost time.

Article taken from, and copyright of the "Mayo News" 23rd October 2007.