The two hot favourites rightfully claimed their place in the county senior football final to be played on October 28. In the opening game Breaffy easily disposed of Charlestown in a poor encounter. The Charlestown team started lively but after the 15th minute the two O’Shea brothers took over at midfield with Alan Durcan and Liam Irwin benefiting the most with both of them scoring some fine points from play. Charlestown will be very disappointed the way they surrendered this game without any real fight. They looked to have lacked any idea and invention, very often having to rely on a hopeful ball into first Paul and then Anthony Mulligan in the second half.
Michéal Jennings, the Breaffy centre-back, mopped up an ocean of ball sitting just in front of his full back from the punts into the full-forward line. Tom Parsons tried his best for the Sarsfields but played second fiddle to the impressive All-Star nominees, Aiden and Seamus O’Shea. Declan O’Reilly had his team playing with great confidence and his half-forward line worked extremely hard when the O’Sheas did not win clean ball in the middle third. It was amazing as it was Breaffy’s first senior final, and instead of joyous celebrations after the game which I expected, the Breaffy players and management just nodded at each other for a job well done. It was like they expected it and know there is a bigger test ahead. I have to also commend Mark and David Caffrey for playing for Charlestown only two days after burying their mother Kathleen, she would have been very proud of her sons as they are proud Charlestown players.
If the first game failed to get people on the edge of their seats then the second was a damp squib. I fully expected hair to fly at this game but was left bitterly disappointed. At points it was like watching a challenge match and I’m sure Nigel Reape is wondering where was the team he managed in McHale park seven days earlier. The root of Knockmore’s problem was Declan Sweeney struggling to produce what he had done the previous week. Everything he touched last week turned to gold, this week it turned to sand, nothing went right for him in a very frustrating afternoon.
Pat Holmes will be delighted to get his charges to a final without setting the world on fire. It is hard to comprehend that the Mitchels have not had their hands on the Moclair Cup in 20 years. What did not work for Knockmore worked a treat for Castlebar. Neil Lydon had a fine game on the edge of the square for the winners, a very effective target man who can win ugly ball and set up scores for his team mates. Generally the quality of football in the senior semi-finals was of the poor variety and would have left many neutrals wondering if this was the best our county has to offer.
On the other hand you have two local rivals going into the final who do not give a fiddler’s what anyone else thinks, one bidding to win their first county title, the other to end a 20 year barren spell. I cannot wait for the final already.
For anyone who stayed to watch the junior final it was well worth the wait. A fantastic spectacle with some outstanding scores especially from rank outsiders Cill Chomain who were 2/1 to claim the title before the game. I will not thank them for having the team named in Irish in the match day programme. A commentator’s nightmare. After Chris Walsh goaled for Ardnaree it was complete dominance from the Erris men. The Moran brothers completely dominated the midfield scoring spectacularly in the process.