Winning the Mayo intermediate title this year was number one on Kiltane’s list of objectives at the start of the year, they achieved that a number of weeks ago and a summer season of senior championship football now beckons for the north Mayo men. But winning the Mayo title was not the be all and end all of this team’s ambitions and they have taken to the Connacht championships with gusto, and on Sunday they will return to MacHale Park looking for a place in the Connacht final and put themselves in with a chance of doing what both Davitts and Charlestown have done in the two previous years, top off a great season with provincial honours. Then come the spring time a crack at an All Ireland series could await them and set them up for 2014 in style.
Martin Barrett’s men already disposed of Galway champions Menlough in the quarter-final stage of the competition two weeks ago, putting in an impressive performance running out 1-15 to 0-9 winners over the Tribesmen.
This Sunday they will take on Sligo champions Drumcliffe/Rosses Point in Castlebar, and Barrett’s men will go into the game as favourites against the men from Yeats County. Up front Mikey Sweeney and Tommy Conroy have been scoring goals for fun this year for the Bangor based outfit and their performances have been among the highlights of the year in club football in the county. Sweeney in particular will surely have worked his way back into the thoughts of James Horan for next season and if he can keep up his form he deserves another run with the county set up.
In the middle of the park Jason Healy and John Reilly have been a towering presence over the summer and through the autumn and now that winter has arrived the duo will be looked to, to once again provide the platform in the engine room on Sunday.
At the back Michael John Reilly was in top class form between the sticks in the semi-final, pulling off two fine saves when the game was still in the melting pot. In front of him Rory Corrigan, Tony Gaughan, Stephen Sweeney, and captain Pat Joe Gaughan are teak tough defenders, but also have plenty of footballing ability to drive the side on.
Their opponents on Sunday have been waiting a long time for the Sligo title they claimed with a three point win over Calry St Joseph’s on a scoreline of 1-9 to 1-6 having lost three finals in recent years. The Sligo men bridged a six year absence from senior football in the county with that win, which was greeted with much jubilation and they will not be coming to Castlebar on Sunday to just make up the numbers. But having already come through a very tough Mayo campaign and seeing off the Galway champions in the previous round, Kiltane will go into Sunday’s game as favourites to take a spot in the final.