Lahardane (Mayo) ........ 1-15
Ballymote (Sligo) ............3-5
MAYO junior football club champions Lahardane McHales were crowned Connacht champions following their deserved four-point victory over Sligo champions, Ballymote, in the final played in Elverys MacHale Park, Castlebar.
Lahardane, who are managed by former Mayo senior manager John Maughan, won their first ever county junior title last month and now have created their own bit of history by adding the Connacht title as well.
Playing into a strong wind, Lahardane played most of the good football in the opening half. However, a combination of some wayward shooting and conceding two goals left them trailing by four points at the interval.
Ballymote got off to a dream start with a goal in the opening minute from Jack Hever. But they played second fiddle to their opponents for the remainder of the half before getting a second goal against the run of play when Lahardane's Barry Leonard knocked a ball which off thepost into his own net. This left Ballymote leading by 2-2 to 0-4 at the interval.
On the resumption, Lahardane who were now aided by the wind, kicked into top gear where they scored six unanswered points to takea two-point lead by the 44th minute.
With midfielders Tony Dever and Gary Naughton lording it at midfield, the Mayo side continued to drive forward with their forwards picking off some delightful points.
Four minutes from the end of normal time, they had the game wrapped up after man of the match and team captain Naughton scored a brilliant goal. Although Ballymote did manage to score a third goal from Niall Brennan in injury time all it did was put a better look on the final scoreline from their perspective..
So, the Lahardane fairytale season continues on and it would be very wrong to write off their chances in the All-Ireland series.
Lahardane: J. Mulhern, B. Leonard, C. Coleman, P. O’Malley, P. Coleman (0-1), M. Queenan, C. Rowland, T. Dever (0-2), G. Naughton (1-1), A. Murphy, A. Leonard (0-5), C. Reilly (0-2), S. Loftus (0-3) J. Maughan (0-1), K. Loftus.
Subs used: M. Noone, G. Mulhern, M. Coleman.
Ballymote: G. Feely, C. McCann, D. Clarke, K. Meehan, R. Flannery, M. Doddy, A. Caffrey, M. Rafferty, C. Byrne, C. Meehan, N Colsh (0-1), S. Ross (1-1), J. Heever (1-0), M. Irwin, P. Lyons (0-3).
Subs used: K. Tigue, N. Brennan (1-0), G. Rafferty, C. Maguire.
Referee: B. Healy (Roscommon).