If there is a man, woman, or child to be found the villages and towns that send their sons out to do battle in the blue and yellow of Kiltane on Sunday, it would be a safe assumption that they are tourists, trying to figure out why exactly there is no-one to be found in this secnic part of the country. They take a lot of things seriously in that enclave of the county, but not many things more seriously than the game of Gaelic football and on Sunday afternoon with a chance of an appearance in an All Ireland final in Croke Park, it’s the only thing that matters to the men who have been training all guns blazing since the end of 2012 to get to where they are on Sunday.
Standing in their way is a rebel army from Cork, Clyda Rovers, who won’t be just coming to make up the numbers and boast in their ranks two men who were part of the Cork senior All Ireland winning team, Paudie Kissane, who also picked up and All Star that year, and Ray Carey, two men who come in very handy in a big game. But big games are what this Kiltane side live for, with the likes of Mikey Sweeney, Tommy Conroy, John Reilly, and Tony Gaughan on board they won’t fear what the rebel side send their way.
Kiltane will be looking for goalkeeper Michael John Reilly to be the bedrock of their defence. The custodian has been rock solid this year and has a decent kick-out. In front of him the trio Dara Carey, Rory Corrigan, and Kevin Ginty made up the full back line for their Connacht final win over Boyle and a serious hour’s work will be needed on Sunday from the full back line. In the half-back line Kiltane really excel with Tony Gaughan, Martin Gallagher, and Sean Gaughan, men who know what they are about and how to do it. The return to the Kiltane fold by Tony Gaughan after representing London in last year’s Connacht championship has been a massive addition and his commitment travelling over and back has been rewarded. Another man who has been rewarded recently is John Reilly who got a start for Mayo in their FBD League game against NUIG, his partnership with Jason Healy has been the staging ground for much of what has been good about Kiltane in this run. In the half-foward line the likes of Pat Joe Gaughan and Ultan Corrigan have a big role on Sunday, while someone like Edmund Barrett maybe found out there alongside them on the 40. However it is the Kiltane full-forward line who will be striking fear into the Clyda Rovers hearts if they have done their research properly on their opponents. Tommy Conroy and Mikey Sweeney are a duo who will strike fear into any full back line at this grade. Both men have goals in them and the belief in their own abilities to score them. They will be looking for that half-chance on Sunday and will back themselves to the hilt to deliver when it comes.
On the sideline Martin Barrett has proven himself to be a very canny operator this year and he will be squaring up against Ned English, who in his past brought Limerick side Drom-Broadford to the win the Munster senior club title six years ago, so he knows what he is about.
It all comes down to 60 minutes on Sunday in Ballinasloe and throw in is at 2pm. It is definitely one not to be missed.
Club championship draws next Monday
It is that time of year again, when all the clubs in Mayo start plotting and planning for the year ahead, with the draw for the Mayo senior, intermediate, and junior championships taking place next Monday evening in Elvery’s MacHale Park following the county board meeting at approximately 9.30pm.