Another historic day for Lahardane beckons

GAA: All Ireland JFC Semi Final

Guiding hand: John Maughan will be looking to lead Lahardane to the All Ireland final. Photo: Michael Donnelly

Guiding hand: John Maughan will be looking to lead Lahardane to the All Ireland final. Photo: Michael Donnelly

In a season of firsts the men from the shadow of Nephin, are looking to create another first on Saturday - when they play for a place in the All Ireland Club Championship junior final. Lahardane have gone from outsiders for the junior championship in Mayo to, not only Mayo, but Connacht junior champions in the space of a brilliant few months last summer. Now they are just an hour away from Croke Park and a tilt at something that will never be forgotten.

Lahardane is probably best known outside Mayo for being part of the parish of Addergoole from which 11 of 14 locals who boarded the Titanic lost their lives in that disaster, and in the heart of the village stands the Addergoole Titanic Memorial Park. As is with plenty small clubs, emigration has always been part of the process and they will welcome back to their ranks Cormac Reilly and Matthew Queenan from New York for tomorrow's meeting with Westmeath and Leinster champions Multyfarnham.

The man patrolling the sideline for them, John Maughan, has been in this situation many times before with both club and county, family ties brought him back to his mother's home place and now he is within touching distance of another All Ireland final and a chance to put some of the hurt from those losses behind him.

The Lahardane lads have been on ice for 63 days since their Connacht final win over Ballymote, a game where they came from 2-2 to 0-4 down at the short whistle to outscore their opponents 1-11 to 1-3 in the second half and run out 1-15 to 3-5 winners to set up tomorrow afternoon's show down in Hyde Park, whereas they got through six games in 135 days to win the Mayo title. Maughan will be hoping that any ring rustiness has been worked out of their systems over the past few weeks and they will be ready for action come Saturday.

In their last competitive outing the Lahardane outfit really clicked, with four of their starting six forwards contributing 11 of their 15 points, with Adrian Leonard leading the line with five points, while corner forward Shane Loftus chipped in with three points and Cormac Reilly tagged on two of his own. Team captain Gary Naughton and Tony Dever are a serious midfield pairing who are more than capable of dominating the midfield area, and contribute on the scoreboard with the pairing chipping in with 1-3 between them in the Connacht final, with Naughton getting the vital goal for the north Mayo men.

At the back Barry Leonard, one man who has experience in the big house of Gaelic games having played for the Mayo junior team in the All Ireland, can be counted on to leave everything on the field, and he will be looking to keep the midlanders' full-forward line quiet along with Conor Coleman and Philip O'Malley. In front of them the earlier mentioned Matthew Queenan has been a solid centre half back and he will be well flanked by Paul Coleman and Chris Rowland - who are both also able to provide an attacking platform for the side.

Their opponents tomorrow ran out seven point winners in their own provincial decider against Offaly outfit Erin Rovers back in November. That win was backboned by a brace of goals from Max Brady. Brady got a goal in each half and they led 1-3 to 0-2 at the break before going on to run out 2-6 to 0-5 winners in Mullingar. Their success this year is almost a mirror to Lahardane winning their first junior title after 61 years waiting last year, with Lahardane going on to win their first in their 65-year history last October. The game throws in at 2pm in Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon town tomorrow afternoon.

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