HIGH FIVE Ballintubber midfielder Jason Gibbons is eyeing a Connacht Club title after recently winning his fifth Moclair Cup. Pic: Michael Donnelly
ANYONE familiar with Jason Gibbons knows that he’s a man who prefers to let his football do the talking.
In Ballintubber’s recent County Final victory over Ballaghaderreen, the 30 year-old showed once again why he could be considered the best midfielder in the club game, with a performance filled with his usual array of dazzling high catches, hard tackling and deadly accurate distribution.
On the big days Gibbons is always at his loudest and he has shown that consistently throughout the last Ballintubber dominated decade, which has resulted in him winning five Moclair Cups.
For whatever reason Gibbons hasn’t had quite the romantic relationship with his inter-county career, which he says was filled with disappointment, but club has always been his number one and those hard days are soon forgotten on nights like Saturday two weeks ago.
“I love togging out on nights like these,” the Annies native told The Mayo News after the County Final. “I suppose I had a difficult few years with the Mayo panel – it just didn’t go well for me. But it’s nights like these that make up for all the hard times that I had and days that I wasn’t included in.
But look, the county takes a back burner after winning another county title like we did tonight, so I’m going to enjoy this.”
Back in 2010 when Ballintubber won their maiden Moclair Cup, Gibbons was only 21 years-old but still anchoring the middle third to the effect like he did this season.
Throughout the last decade he’s battled some of the best midfielders in the club game and has had more than one intriguing dual with Castlebar Mitchels Barry Moran.
During Castlebar Mitchels early dominance in the second half of this decade which saw them win the three-in-a-row, it appeared the jury was out on Ballintubber’s challenge at the senior title. But Gibbons says there was a huge belief in the squad that their days of winning Moclair Cups weren’t numbered yet.
“We won two at the start of the decade and lost to Ballagh’ in 2012,” he recalled. “Then Castlebar came strong for a couple of years. We knew we had the people but it was also hard to keep lads. To be honest at that stage I never thought I’d be standing here after winning five county titles, it’s hard to put into words.
“We’ve always had good people around us, but something wasn’t clicking. In the end, I think a lot of us realised that our years are coming up and we haven’t long left, so we went at it hard. In fairness, I don’t know if it was the training, or the mentality, but something has clicked [with Kevin Johnson] and thankfully we’ve won back-to-back titles now.”
Yet there’s still one piece of silverware missing from Gibbons’ mantlepiece and that’s a Connacht Club title. He feels Ballintubber now have a point to prove.
“Castlebar have won two and we don’t have any,” he said. “We have the Leitrim champions, Glencar/Manorhamilton, in two or three weeks time and we’ll see what happens after that, we could even be [knocked] out.
“But we need to prove a point in Connacht now. We can’t be going out and taking it for granted. We need a big heavy few weeks and I’m looking forward to it.”
Connacht Senior Club Championship quarter-final
Ballintubber v Glencar/Manorhamilton
Sunday, November 3 in MacHale Park 2pm