Tooreen captain Stephen Coyne holds the trophy aloft after it was presented to him by Jimmy Connors, chairman of the Mayo Hurling Board.

Tooreen complete three-in-a-row in style

Tooreen ............ 0-15

Ballyhaunis ........0-11


TOOREEN retained their Mayo senior club championship title following a hard fought victory over neighbours Ballyhaunis in a decider played at Ballyhaunis today.

Although the final scoreline might suggest this was a comfortable enough victory for Tooreen nothing could be further from the truth as they had to battle very hard right up to the final whistle before seeing off their stern and never-say-die opponents.

Although man of the match, Tooreen's Cathal Freeman opened the scoring in the fourth minute when he floated over a delightful point, it was Ballyhaunis who had the better of the exchanges in the opening quarter. However, their failure to convert some great chances was later to cost them dearly.

Ballyhaunis had registered four wides before they opened their account with a point from play from Brian Hunt in the 10th minute. The same player added a second from a placed ball 60 seconds later to put them into the lead.

The excellent Shane Boland for Tooreen and Keith Higgins for Ballyhaunis exchanged points to still leave the home side one in front at the end of the first quarter, 0-3 to 0-2.

It still remained a one-point game on 19 minutes after points were exchanged on two occasions. However, for the remainder of the half Tooreen took control where they scored five unanswered points and send them in leading by 0-9 to 0-5 at the interval.

On the resumption Ballyhaunis once again regained control and the 40th minute they were back on level terms after scoring four unanswered points, two from Higgins and one each from BrianHunt and Stephen Coyne.

With the home side still holding the upper hand in terms of overall play, they carried a one-point lead into the final quarter and looked to have a great chance of regaining the title.

However, that was as good as it got for Ballyhaunis as Tooreen took control in the final quarter when they outpointed their opponents by six points to one, with Freeman (two), Shane Boland (two) and Fergal Boland and Conor Henry their scorers.

Ballyhaunis's cause was not helped in the 54th minute when they had their county star Keith Higgins harshly red-carded. It was at a time when the game was very much in the melting pot.

Scorers for Tooreen: S. Boland (0-6), C. Freeman (0-3), F. Boland (0-3), S. Kenny (0-2), C. Henry (0-1).

Scorers for Ballyhaunis: B. Hunt (0-4), K. Higgins (0-4), (E. Collins (0-1), A. Lyons (0-1).

Tooreen: S. Lenehan, A. Henry, M. Morley, P. Delaney, S. Morley, S. Coyne, C. Henry, C. Freeman, D. Kenny, S. Boland, B. Morley, S. Kenny, J. Ganley, F. Boland, D. Huane.

Subs: E. Delaney for (Ganley), D. Harrison for (S. Kenny), N. Robinson for (B. Morley).

Ballyhaunis: D. O'Brien, A. Brennan, F. Lyons, Jack Coyne, C. Gardiner, E. Collins, K. Kelly, K. McDermott, A. Lyons, S. Hoban, K. Higgins, P. Kiely, Jason Coyne, A. Phillips, B. Hunt.

Subs: E. Phillips for (Jason Coyne), S. Griffin for (A. Lyons), M. Lyons for (Hoban), M. Phillips for (Kiely).

Referee: C. Collins (Lacken).

Man of the match: Cathal Freeman, Tooreen.