On Sunday, Killala will look to book their place in the All Ireland Junior Football championship final when they take on Liverpool side John Mitchels in Carrick on Shannon. This will be the second time in two years the north Mayo men have been within touching distance of Croke Park and the All Ireland final. In 2006 they fell short against Greencastle at this stage and they will be aiming to put things to right this weekend.
Killala saw off the Neale in a tough Mayo county final, before going on to face Eslin in the Connacht last four, a game which they got through by the skin of their teeth. They had an easy task in the Connacht final where they blew away Kilglass in November. While the Mayo champions will be two months or so without a competitive game, their opponents came to Ireland a few weeks ago to take on Meath and Leinster champions Moynalvey who they saw off by 1-10 to 1-8 after a tight game.
Killala know that they will need to be on top of their game on Sunday and midfield pair Noel Ryan and Rory Hannick will have to be at the top of their game if they are to take control of the contest. Both Ryan and Hannick have been instrumental in their charge this far and will be keen to gain the upper hand early on over the exiles pair of Paddy Mulligan and John McDermott.
Up front Marcus Hannick has been a leading light for the men in blue and his expertise from the placed ball could be a deciding factor on what promises to be a tough day of winter football. While Hannick will be a key man, there is a fine supporting cast around him including Gary Ferguson and Brendan Gavin in the corners, with Alex Quinn and James Ruddy providing assistance from the three quarter line in attack. The round tower club have a teak tough defence who haven’t leaked scores easy and big games will be needed from John Barrett, Enda Clarke, and Darragh McGuire.
This won’t be an easy task for the north Mayo men against one of the oldest clubs in England who have seen a resurgence in recent years. Last year they made the trip to Cork to take on the eventual All Ireland champions at this grade, Canovee, and put up a good showing. This coupled with their recent win in Navan in the quarter final has marked them out as a side on the move. Players like Kevin Kane, Ryan Mullan, and Daryl McConnell are all key players for the side who wear blue and saffron.
Ladies management team announced
For the third year in a row the Mayo ladies senior football team will have a new manager as they set out in chase of All Ireland glory. Taking over the banisteoir bib this year is Tuam native Kevin Reidy, who takes over from fellow Galway man Michael Ryder who led Mayo to the Connacht title and the All Ireland semi-final last year. Ryder has had particular success in the seven aside game leading Tuam Stars to the Kilmacud title in 2001 and Kilconly to the St Jude’s title in 2007. He has also managed the Mercy Secondary School to the All Ireland senior C title in 2006 and Tuam/Cortoon to Connacht glory in 2006. His management team will be completed by Danny Fahy from Breaffy who will be his selector and Maggie Heneghan from Breaffy who will be the side’s liaison officer. The minor management team will be the same as in 2008 with Pat Boyle hoping to guide the side to their second Connacht title in a row this year. Pat Costello will be looking for more success again this year when he takes charge of the u14 and u12 sides, he managed the u14 side to the All Ireland u14B title last season. Caroline Brogan will be the chairperson of the board for the second year and other officers who were elected include Mary Malone (secretary ), Maggie Heneghan (treasurer ), and Therese Conway (PRO ).
Mayo lose out to Roscommon
Mayo wrapped up their FBD League campaign with a one point loss to Roscommon in Ballyhaunis last Sunday. In a game played in terrible conditions the wind was a big a factor as any player on the field. Mayo managed to get only one score on the board in the first half, through a returning Trevor Mortimer. This feat was only just about bettered by the eventual victors who managed to score two points into a gale in the second half. O’Mahony’s side showed a number of changes to the side that lined out the previous week against Sligo IT with David Clarke coming back in goal, Sean Prendergast getting the start at wing back in place of an unavailable Peader Gardiner, Trevor Mortimer coming in for Austin O’Malley, and Alan Dillon back in the fold for Andy Moran. Clarke put in a solid display in goal, pulling off three top drawer saves over the course of the hour. Other players who stood out for Mayo were second half substitute Jason Doherty, who bagged himself 1-1, and Trevor Mortimer whose industry on the park was a welcome return.
Over the course of the FBD League John O’Mahony used 26 different players in the three matches, of which eight players started all three games, with Colm Cafferkey, Colm Boyle, Barry Kelly, Mikey Sweeney, and Pat Kelly lining out in the same position in each game. Top scorers for Mayo in the FBD were Austin O’Malley (1-6 ) and Mikey Sweeney (2-3 ) who both scored a total of nine points each, with O’Malley’s total coming in two games. Concentration will now turn to the opening league game in Ballina against Derry on Sunday February 1, where John O’Mahony will be able to welcome back the players who were involved in provincial competitions with their colleges over the last number of weeks. One player who made a return to action last week was Ballinrobe goalkeeper Kenneth O’Malley, who lined out for UL in last weekend’s McGrath Cup semi-final against Waterford after over a year out following a serious injury he sustained playing for the university in 2007.