This keenly contested Mayo GAA secondary schools Junior Final produced some magnificent hurling with both teams giving their all at the splendid Ballyvary sports grounds. Rice College started the better and with Aaron Ketterick and Tommy Scahill driving over early points the boys from the shores of Clew Bay took an early lead. Scahill was brilliant from start to finish and his strength, skill and determination in front of goal caused all sorts of problems for the Ballyhaunis defence. After ten minutes Scahill pounced again to riffle a pile-driver into Fiachra Glavey’s net after great work from corner forward Finn McKeown. McKeown worked his socks off all afternoon and created chance after chance for the other five forwards. Jack Deegan rallied Ballyhaunis Community School after sixteen minutes with a great solo effort but three consecutive wides proved costly when the East Mayo side were on top. Four minutes later the deadly accurate inside forward line of Rice College delivered again. Finn McKeown drove his effort across the goal and Scahill reacted first to raise his second green flag of the afternoon. This time his lightning strike send Glavey the wrong way in the Ballyhaunis goal. Two great points from Conal Hession and Diarmuid Philips kept Ballyhaunis Community School in touch before the break but a massive free from centre forward Cian Mulchrone from fifty yards out left the Westport lads 2-05 to 0-3 in front at the short whistle.
Goals win matches and inside one minute of the restart Rice College had landed two more. Tommy Scahill was unstoppable in front of goal and after thirty seconds he jinked around the full back to put more day light between the sides. Man-of-the-match Scahill was out in front again a minute later after a brilliant defence splitting pass from Kevin Gannon and the sharpshooter nailed the sliothar to the bottom right corner of the net for his fourth goal of the afternoon. It was an uphill struggle for an understrength Ballyhaunis Community School after that but to their credit they never gave up. A goal from Ballyhaunis midfielder Declan Henry after ten minutes of the second half narrowed the gap after a great run down the right wing from James Doyle. Scahill however stole-the-show and two further points from his stick pushed Rice College 4-09 to 1-03 in front and fifteen minutes still to play. In the final quarter Ballyhaunis Community School rallied once again and hit 1-04 in the closing stages without reply. Diarmuid Philips batted in a good goal from close range to reel the Westport school in and points from Conal Hession (3) and Jack Doyle kept them in the chase. Wing back Rossa Horgan drove forward in the final seconds to steady the ship for Rice College and he hit the final score of the game from twenty five metres out to leave it Rice College Westport 4-11 Ballyhaunis Community School 2-07 at the finish.
Rice College Westport:
Conor Galvin; Liuyi Chen, Jake Kelly, Declan Horgan; Eoghan Ketterick, Eanna Geraghty, Rossa Horgan (0-1); Padraig Murphy, Aaron Ketterick (0-1); Malcolm McEvilly, Cian Mulchrone (0-1), Keven Gannon (0-1); Finn McKeown (0-2), Tommy Scahill (4-04) Conor Walsh (0-2). Subs: Darragh Slattery for Declan Horgan, Sean Scahill for Lui Yi Chen, Joe Sweet for Finn McKeown.
Ballyhaunis Community School:
Fiachra Glavey; James Dooney, Danny Hill, Cathal Greally; Danny Murray, Sean Morley, Conal Hession (0-4); Declan Henry (1-0), Diarmuid Philips (1-1); Kevin Durkin, Jack Deegan (0-1), Mark Mulkeen; Stephen Cannon, James Doyle (0-1), Nathan Collernan. Subs: Eddie Groarke for Cathal Greally, Eoin Ryan for Stephen Cannon, Micheal Finn Richardson for Fiachra Glavey, Fiachra Glavey for Mark Mulkeen.
Ref: Ml McHale (Ballintubber)
(Report by Adrian Hession)