The 2019 season began in early January. The management team of John Reilly, Darren Madden and David Feehan remained in place to continue with the team’s progression from 2018. This season Pat Grady was added to the management. In his role as a member of the sideline support team, the ever-present James Keane – as “maor uisce” – ensured the team always performed at their best. Sean Ryder continued his duties as captain for the Kilmeena team for 2019.
Division 3 League
The league got off to a rocky start for the Kilmeena lads. First losing badly at home to Lahardane. Whereas a group we did not play anywhere near our potential. The next game away to Davitts was a heartbreak to come away empty-handed. This game highlighted how this player group has improved, showcasing their ability to play expansive but attrition football. Eventually losing out by a point to a team that would eventually make the senior championship quarter-finals. Kilmeena won their next three games. The first win came against Swinford away. Kilmeena controlled this game from start to finished and continued with their expansive brand of football. The second win was a comprehensive destruction of Achill in St. Brendan’s Park. Kilmeena were ruthless and hit Achill for six goals. The third win away to Castlebar Mitchells was in contrast to the previous two games. Kilmeena had to grind this one out as Mitchells attempted to snuff out Kilmeena’s attacking play.
Kilmeena then hit a mixed patch of form when losing to Ballyhaunis at home by four points; getting a last-gasp leveller to draw with Bonniconlon; beating Parke by four points by controlling the football in the second half; and coming back from an eight-point deficit in Shrule to leave with a one-point win.
Our final two games did not go well for us, losing out to The Neale, the eventual league and intermediate champions by four points and getting well beaten by Mayo Gaels in Mayo Abbey to round off the league.
Kilmeena finished fifth overall in the league and look to developing year on year in this league.
Division 6 League
A second-place finish in the league and a semi-final spot is what awaits this group of players at the season’s end. The first outing of the year was an away draw with Knockmore, an excellent game of football demonstrating the talent that is developing within the Club. Kilmeena went on to beat Ballaghaderreen and Westport, but then losing out to Islandeady at home. The next two games will stand out for this playing group; an away win in Moygownagh will go down as a great day for the Club because earlier in the day the junior championship team had to run out against Kilmovee, meaning 41 men togged out for the Club that day. The win against Bonnicolon was a real Friday night-lights affair with the win going down to the last play.
Kilmeena played Breaffy in the league semi-final of Division 6; anyone who witnessed that game would agree that the standard of football was far beyond the level of Division 6. Sadly Kilmeena lost out in the end by four points to the team who would eventually win it out, The Neale.
Kilmeena received a bye into the final to play Westport’s junior team. Westport hit the ground running and controlled the game from the off. Kilmeena were down six points at half time; a further two points by Westport put Kilmeena eight points in arrears. That’s when the show came to town!
Kilmeena ramped through the gears and put three goals and seven points on Westport in a 20-minute scoring spell. With that, Kilmeena retained the Cusack Cup for the second year in succession.
Michael Walsh League
Kilmeena made the Michael Walsh league final, having easily topped their league and dealt with Ardagh in the semi-final. The final was played on a Baltic cold Sunday afternoon in Knockmore. Little could separate the sides, and after extra time, penalties decided the result. Cill Chomáin were the victors of the shoot-out, with Kilmeena left to rue the many missed scoring chances in normal and extra time.
Kilmeena made it to the West Mayo Junior B semi-final after beating a fancied Breaffy team on their home patch. Facing Parke in the final, however, did not go our way. Parke eventually won out as comfortable winners to lift the Keane Cup for the first time in their history.
Kilmeena topped their group of Ballycroy, Ballina “B” and KIlmovee having dispatched all three by an average score of 22 points. Those victories put Kilmeena in a confident mood going into the quarter-final.
Cill Chomáin were our next opponents. The game played in Knockmore and was a well-attended affair by both travelling supporters. Cill Chomáin lead by two points at the interval, but in the second half Kilmeena yet again showed there attacking endeavour and hit them for two goals and six points to run out comfortable winners by five points in the end.
Next up was a showdown against Kilmaine in the County semi-final. This game has gone down as one of the games of the 2019 championship at all levels. Kilmeena really showed their attacking game, hitting Kilmaine for 17 points and were within touching distance of a County Final. Sadly, Kilmaine found the know-how from somewhere and managed to take the game by two points in the end.
A massive disappointment for Kilmeena.
Under 21 Championship
Kilmeena won the U-21 “D” County Championship of 2019. En route to the final, Kilmeena dispatched three senior clubs in the process – Hollymount/Carramore, Moy Davitts, Erris Saint Patricks (Kiltane and Ballycroy). In the final, Kilmeena faced of against Ardmoy, an amalgamation of three parishes (Lahardane, Ardagh and Moygownagh). Kilmeena started the game by hitting four unanswered points. Ardmoy pulled themselves back into the match, but Kilmeena led by two points at the break. The start of the second half Kilmeena controlled and went ahead by five points. Ardmoy got back into the game and levelled it. Kilmeena had the final say however and hit the final score of the game to take the win. 2019 was an eventful season for this group of players. In total, 41 players lined out for the senior squad and a further 25 for the U-21 team. The future is bright for this squad of players. Training will begin again in early January 2020.