Carnacon look to keep on making history

Ladies Football: Mayo LGFA Senior Football Final

Battle to be the best: Marie Corbett and her Carnacon team will be looking to hold on to the Mayo LGFA Senior Football Championship when they take on Niamh Kelly and her Bohola Moy Davitts team on Saturday evening in MacHale Park. Photo: Michael Donnelly.

Battle to be the best: Marie Corbett and her Carnacon team will be looking to hold on to the Mayo LGFA Senior Football Championship when they take on Niamh Kelly and her Bohola Moy Davitts team on Saturday evening in MacHale Park. Photo: Michael Donnelly.

In a year of change, one thing has remained the same and that is Carnacon are looking to claim the Mayo Ladies Football Senior Championship once again.

The defending champions are looking to make it 22-in-a-row on Saturday when they take on Bohola Moy Davitts on Saturday evening in MacHale Park at 6pm.

This year's final is a repeat of last year's pairing where Carnacon ran out easy winners, but Bohola Moy Davitts are looking to close the gap on the standard-bearers of the club game in the county.

In the group stages of the competition, the challengers saw off both Burrishoole and Swinford-Killasser and drew with Hollymount, before they beat Westport 3-14 to 2-7 in the semi-finals last weekend.

Kelly keen to kick on

Their attacking ace, Niamh Kelly, told us this week that they are looking forward to the challenge on Saturday evening, adding: "We know it is going to be a very tough encounter against Carnacon who have won the last 20 odd titles. We're happy to be in the final and looking forward to giving it a real good go.

"It is going to be very difficult but we are preparing as best we can and we know they are a top side, they have been the top team for the past few decades, but we've been preparing hard as best we can and we have young girls coming up who are putting in a lot of effort and it's great to see new blood coming through."

Keeping girls coming through from underage to senior is something that she believes is key to the future success of her side, saying: "We have been working really hard at underage and it is great to see girls coming through, the lads over us have been doing great work and keeping the girls playing from u16 and minor all the way through and I suppose that is showing - hopefully we'll be ready for a good game at the weekend."

As for being able to focus only on the club game this summer, with inter-county commitments being put to the side for now, it is something that she has enjoyed.

"It's been good in the way we never really have the time to focus on club football so this year we have been able to dedicate all our time to the club and spend it with the girls and having a good run of games together with the club week on week."

Kelly, along with her sister Grace, is one of a number of Mayo players who have committed to going back out to Australia for the next season of WAFL games and she has really enjoyed her experiences out there to date: "It was brilliant, a different experience to train in a professional environment was great, with all the staff and facilities there to make you the best you can be - the time was unbelievable. But our focus now is on the club, then it will switch back to county and then it'll be the AFL after that again.

"We have a group stage with Armagh and Tyrone and we played both of them last year and they were two tough games, if we win that group it is a semi-final so it'll be a really quick turnaround as well - hopefully the two group games go well but we'll see after that."

Corbett looking for continued success

Carancon have been at the top of the game in Mayo football for over two decades now and their appetite for success shows no sign of abating any time soon. The secret to that success? Well according to Marie Corbett, it's a mix of things all coming together and working for the common good.

"Our management team have kept us going the last 20 odd years I suppose, but the older girls have always led and once you win, once you get that taste, you want it every time.

"We've had the older group of girls there for a long time, but we also have been blending in younger girls over the last few years and that has kept it fresh all the time."

While they have been knocking up big scores in the championship this year, Corbett believes that the games were much closer on than what the scoreboard told at the end of the day.

"I think the scoreline probably wouldn't have reflected the games in fairness, we played Westport in the first game and they are a very good young team and I wouldn't really go off the scoreline. It probably is that we have that bit more experience when it comes to those games and it has seen us win them."

The conveyor belt of talent doesn't look like it is drying up anytime soon in Carnacon, with Corbett pointing out a few young players people might not be aware of to keep an eye on in Saturday's final. "We have the likes of Katie Gavin and Rachel Tuohy, who are two really good players people might not really know yet. Beth Hoban is another; for the younger girls, it sometimes helps them come through with the older more experienced girls"

This year also saw Carnacon enter a second adult side in the junior competition, showing the strength they have in reserve to their first team, but it was all about girls enjoying playing adult football, who might not be quite ready to play at the top level, says Corbett.

"It is the first year we had a second adult team, it has been strange that we've had two teams going at the same time for games, but it seems to be working out for the girls.

"There were some that didn't want to play at the top level just yet and they are enjoying playing junior. It's the people that are involved in club from underage right up to senior that keep things going, that have allowed us to have a second team like that."

As for having a straight run through the past few weeks with games coming in quick succession, it is something that Corbett has really enjoyed.

"It has been a strange year for all the team, but the fact it is week-in week-out, it is all about recovering as quickly as possible between games. I think it is has been great that you can just tick into the next game and it keeps the momentum going, rather than stopping for four weeks and go again.

"I suppose really nobody knew what was going to happen this year but it is great to be enjoying playing football - we're just glad to be back, it was strange without and it is just nice to be back out there and playing."

Bohola Moy Davitts are working hard to close the gap, but it's still hard to see past the all-conquering Carncon claiming another Mayo senior title on Saturday afternoon.

Mayo LGFA Fixtures

Senior Final: Carnacon v Bohola Moy Davitts at 6pm, Saturday, September 12 in MacHale Park

Intermediate Final: MacHale Rovers v Kilmovee Shamrocks at 4pm, Saturday, September 12 in MacHale Park

Junior Final: Kiltimagh v St Brigid's at 2.30pm, Sunday, September 13 at 2.30pm in Swinford Amenity Park


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