THE Kilmeena bandwagon rolled out of Mayo Abbey on Sunday with an Intermediate championship semi-final place against Moy Davitts assured.
The West Mayo men were full value for their win after having their mettle seriously tested in the second half when Ballinrobe came from behind to take the lead going down the home straight.
However, last year’s Junior champions side finished the stronger and kicked the last four points of the game to seal a place in the last four. Darragh Keaveney was the star of the show for the winners and the corner-forward kicked eight points (six frees) over the course of the hour.
The first half produced football of a very high quality before Kilmeena went to the dressingroom with a 1-6 to 0-5 lead. The goal arrived after five minutes when Joey Smyth boxed home a high ball from Jack Carney.
Ballinrobe looked nervous at times, and had a minority of possession, but Darren McDonnell was sharp from frees while Evan O’Brien and Kevin Quinn also got on the scoresheet.
At the other end, Keaveney was exceptional – kicking four points, one better than the other as Carney, Kevin Ryder, Liam Moore and Stephen Staunton caught the eye around the middle.
Ballinrobe were more direct and effective after the break and a stunning goal from Quinn three minutes into the new half drew them level.
That should have inspired them to take charge, but Keaveney kept Kilmeena ticking over and the Robesiders didn’t hit the front until the 49th minute when O’Brien kicked them 1-10 to 1-9 clear.
Kilmeena were being tested to the limit at that stage, but John Reilly’s men held their nerve and closing points from Keaveney, John McGlynn and the impressive Joyce sealed a place in the final four for last year’s All-Ireland junior winners.
You can read a full report and reaction in Tuesday’s edition of The Mayo News.
P Groden; J Mulchrone, J Keane, J Ryan; C Hastings, S Staunton, C Kilcoyne; J Carney (0-1), K Ryder (0-1); L Moore (0-1), R O’Donnell, K Joyce (0-1); D Keaveney (0-8, 6fs), J McGlynn (0-1), J Smyth (1-0).
L Jennings; O O’Malley, E Reaney, C Keane; A McDonnell, P Butler, S Flannery; J Murphy, JE Flannelly; L Burke, E O’Brien (0-3, 2fs), E Duffy; Darren McDonnell (0-4, 4fs), J Burke, K Quinn (1-3).
Subs used: C O’Connell, A Flannery, David McDonnell.
Referee: M Daly (Ballyhaunis)