Winning start for Westport and Ballina

Fri, Sep 26, 2008

Both Ballina and Westport got their Connacht Junior league campaigns off to winning starts last Sunday, while Castlebar had to make do with a share of the spoils at home.

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Still more to come from Mayo

Fri, Sep 26, 2008

Clutching a silver plaque to remember being named man of the match in an All Ireland final, Aidan O’Shea was ushered through the concrete jungle under the Cusack Stand to answer the questions of the fourth estate. Standing tall, the Breaffy teenager who had just put in a masterful performance on Jones Road wasn’t getting carried away with personal acclaim and knew that a job still had to be done next week.

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Tyrone have set the standards that we must try to emulate

Fri, Sep 26, 2008

Last Sunday proved conclusively that things have moved on in Gaelic football. And it is up to the rest of us to try and catch up with the new All-Ireland champions - which won’t be easy. Tyrone last Sunday played the game at a higher level and with a greater intensity than the best of the rest and they don’t look like they intend going anywhere fast. Indeed listening to Mickey Harte being interviewed during the week, he sees last Sunday’s success as a beginning rather then an end in itself. No more than with the Kilkenny hurlers, there is no point in carping on about how good they are, we have to assess and analyse where our own counties are in comparison with them at this juncture.

The difficult question about what needs to be done to improve our systems and approaches in an effort to compete at the top level has to be asked. Tyrone had never won a senior All-Ireland title prior to 2003, now they have three in the bag. They must be doing a lot of things right. And by looking at their template for success perhaps we in the west and beyond can improve our position in the chasing pack somewhat. Many counties are a long way back, however they must have the ambition and belief to try and take the measures that are required to raise the standards of excellence required to compete at the top level.

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Two of the best games I’ve ever seen

Fri, Sep 26, 2008

Last Sunday I witnessed two of the finest games of football that I have ever seen on All Ireland final day, and I have been at most finals since 1977. We occasionally get a memorable match, but rarely do we get two wonderful exhibitions of football. The two games were enthralling, exciting, nerve racking, at times but it was football played at its very best. I left Castlebar early on Sunday morning as I wanted to get to Dublin with time to relax and soak up the atmosphere before the games. Jones’s Road, on big match day, is a hive of activity and last Sunday I mingled with friends and acquaintances for almost two hours before going into the ground. We were blessed with the most glorious day that added greatly to the feel-good factor. There were lots hovering about the place hoping to pick up a spare ticket but I got the impression that there were very few floating about the place last Sunday. (No harm to see the touts taking a hit too in these economically depressed times.) I had my son Johnny and my daughter Sally Rose with me bedecked in their red and green ensembles. They were excitedly looking forward to seeing the Mayo minors play Tyrone. Others from my house were content with the luxury of home viewing. I met and chatted with a few of the 1983 Galway footballers as they made their way into Croke Park for lunch. They, and the Dublin footballers, were guests of Croke Park as they were part of the 25 year jubilee celebrations. I sent my two on their way into the game and made my way upstairs to the media section as I was lucky enough to be asked to work on the game for RTE Radio 1. I had a cup of coffee in the canteen with a few journalists and the unanimous consensus amongst these experts was that Kerry would win their third All Ireland in a row. They couldn’t call the minor match, but I did get the impression that if they were pressed they would side with Tyrone. I spoke with Micheál O Muireachtaigh to establish his views on the two sides. He thought Tyrone had some excellent players but “liked this Mayo team”. He referred to their physicality and suggested that this year’s team reminded him of some of the great minor teams he had seen from Mayo in years past. Micheál is too much of a gentleman and diplomat to suggest either team would win it, so he said that we should have a great game of football. And what a game we had.

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Dempsey level-headed ahead of replay

Fri, Sep 26, 2008

While the Presidental Salute and the “Star of the County Down” echoed through the Cusack Stand players’ tunnel as Kerry and Tyrone lined up ahead of the All Ireland senior final, Ray Dempsey was the coolest man in Croke Park as he picked over what had just unfolded in the minor decider.

Straight off the bat, he was focused on what lay ahead tomorrow in Longford. “Mixed emotions, it was a very tight game and it ended up a draw and we have to go back and do it all again. We have to start now again and prepare from this minute on so we can preform and compete again in next week’s game.”

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Mayo ready for replay

Fri, Sep 26, 2008

Six days on from the titanic struggle in Croke Park where Mayo and Tyrone battled it out in the white heat of competition, both sides will have to do it all over again tomorrow in a quest to claim the Tom Markham Cup. Aidan Walsh’s nerveless injury time free from under the Cusack Stand looked to have sealed the win for Mayo. Only for some late Tyrone pressure and some sloppy play by Mayo allowed Matthew Donnelly to level the game and set us up for a replay.

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Connacht look to shake off opening day blues

Fri, Sep 12, 2008

There is a buzz around Stradey Park these days which Connacht must endure on Saturday when they face Llanelli Scarlets in the Magners League.

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Lots of action on the cycling circut

Fri, Sep 12, 2008

Cycling night out

Western Lakes CC and Covey Wheelers have combined together to have a joint club night out on Friday September 19 at 8pm at the Castlecourt Hotel in Westport. The aim is to get as many cycling enthusiasts as possible to come along and enjoy a fun- packed evening of awards and presentations

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Half marathon success for Mayo

Fri, Sep 12, 2008

The AAI National Half Marathon Championships were hosted by Waterford AC at their magnificent base at the Regional Sports centre on Sunday morning. The sun shone, the sky was blue, and the whole county was bedecked in blue and white in a frenzy of anticipation for the hurling final later in the day. Sadly, the white heat of Kilkenny blew them away and the “blues” of disappointment awaited them.. a feeling we know so well.

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Mayo sports stars ready to Run to Africa

Fri, Sep 12, 2008

Playing for Life was founded by well-known sportswoman and broadcaster Tracy Piggott following a visit to Ethiopia in 2004. Tracy was determined to set up a project that would use sport as a tool to help young people in some of the world’s poorest places, since sport has always played such a huge part in her own life.

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Castlebar ready for season start

Fri, Sep 12, 2008

Training for the U18 team commences on Wednesday September 10 at 7pm in Cloondeash. Training for the U14 team commences on Wednesday September 17 at 7pm in Cloondeash. Subscription for the year is €75 and includes a jacket and polo shirt. New and returning players are welcome.

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We can all learn from Kilkenny’s model - if we want to

Fri, Sep 12, 2008

A friend of mine from Ardmore in Waterford had badgered me to try and get a ticket or two for the past few weeks for the All-Ireland hurling final.

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Read this weeks E-paper. Past editions also available from within this weeks digital copy.

 

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