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A day for good darts as Ballintubber win


GOALMOUTH SCRAMBLE Ballintubber’s Jason Gibbons goes to ground in the square against Aughawillan last Sunday with Alan Plunkett (12), Cillian O’Connor and Bryan Walsh appealing for a penalty. Pic: Leitrim Observer


Mike Finnerty

AS excuses go for missing out on a Connacht club championship semi-final, Ruaidhri O’Connor’s was pretty impressive last Sunday.
We were told before the game that the Ballintubber wing-back was unable to line out against Aughawillan in Carrick-on-Shannon due to ‘work commitments’.
But did you know that those ‘work commitments’ involved his day job as an Associate Producer with Sky Sports in England?
And where was the intrepid ‘AP’ working last weekend? At the Grand Slam of darts in Wolverhampton, that’s where!
So while his brothers in arms (including his actual brothers) were trying to get the better of ‘The Willies’ in Carrick, Ruaidhri was preparing Sky’s coverage of ‘Voltage’ taking on ‘The Dreammaker’. Honestly, he was!
A man of many talents is the former Mayo TV reporter.
So you can imagine the great relief all around Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton when Ruaidhri discovered that Ballintubber had taken care of business, and booked their place in the Connacht Final against Corofin.
He’ll have to treat Jamsie Finnerty to a pint of Miwadi in Corley’s the next time he sees him too, after the 19 year-old came off the bench to score two vital goals.
The teenager’s first goal was scored with his first touch, a toe-poked effort from a few yards out from the empty Aughawillan net. And he tucked away the second nicely too.
Judging by Jamsie’s interview on RTE Radio 1 after the match, he doesn’t lack anything in confidence.
“I said going on that I was going to score two goals,” he said. “Because I wanted to make a name for myself.”
If he repeats the trick against Corofin the next day maybe we could get him a nickname like the lads at the darts. .
What about ‘Jackpot’ Jamsie?
The young Ballintubber forward was certainly in better form on Sunday than the Leitrim punter who got the bad news during the first half that they had left the lights on in their car.
Johnny Hopkins from The Neale, who is the PRO of the Connacht GAA Council, was the man on the microphone at Pairc Seán, broke the bad news as gently as he could.
If only Rob Cross aka ‘Voltage’ had been at the match. . .
As for the game itself, there was a real air of inevitability about the outcome all day.
Beforehand we heard one of the locals mention the fact that Aughawillan hadn’t beaten a Mayo team in the provincial championship since they turned over Hollymount in 1994.
And ‘The Willies’ never looked like ambushing ‘The Tubber’ at any stage, especially after the goals started flying in during the second half.
After the match the big Ballintubber crowd mingled on the pitch, with a gang of children forming an orderly queue to have their picture taken with Cillian O’Connor.
We can’t be sure whether or not he was pretending to be his older brother, but we couldn’t help but notice that Cillian was wearing Padraic’s top with ‘POC’ emblazoned on the front when we caught up with him.
We can only assume that ‘POC’ had some class of a top to wear home to Ballintubber — maybe Ruaidhri will bring back one of ‘Snakebite Wright’s’ shirts for him from the darts.
By the way, ‘Big Robbo’ beat Shaggy on Sunday night in Wolverhampton. But maybe it’s ‘Jackpot’ Jamsie we should be watching out for!