Names like Aidan Higgins, Kenneth Mortimer, and Declan Sweeney may seem like a throwback to the recent past when it comes to talking about inter-county football, but they are just three still doing their stuff in the Gaelic Masters Association for Mayo, and on Saturday in Clonberne they go looking for All Ireland glory in the All Ireland Masters final.
Mayo booked their place in the final with a two point extra time win over Tyrone a fortnight ago on a scoreline of 1-12 to 1-10, after the sides finished level at 1-9 each at the end of regulation time. Mayo's goal was scored by the evergreen Kevin Filan who finished the day with 1-3 to his name, on St Patrick's Day two years ago the Mitchels' man was in action in Croke Park as his side lost the All Ireland senior club final to St Vincent's and he is still turning out for Mitchels intermediate side.
The Mayo full back line is a fearsome looking unit with Kenneth Mortimer and Fergal Kelly, both with plenty of inter-county experience of big All Ireland senior final days, joined by Kilmeena's Declan Ryan, while Charlestown's Aidan Higgins is the lynchpin of the half-back line with Castlebar's Brian Hennelly and Kilmeena's Pat Mulchrone (the team captain ) either side of him. In the middle of the park Declan Sweeney who was recently in action for Balla in the county junior final teams up with Charlestown's David Tiernan, who until not that many years ago was a pain in the side of many club midfielders in the senior championship. Tiernan and Sweeney chipped in with two points each in Mayo's semifinal win, as did Kiltimagh's Adrian Forkan who was one of the rolling subs used alongside the likes of Breaffy duo Gerry Jennings and Eddie Conroy, who were both involved in action with their club up to the semifinal of the senior championship a few weeks ago.
Standing in Mayo's way on Saturday is a Cavan side who surprised a lot of people by beating Galway in their semifinal two weeks ago on a score of 0-12 to 1-8, with Jerome Kiernan, Ciaran Fox, Barry McGovern, and Adrian O'Reilly kicking vital scores for the Breffni men down the home stretch. Cavan trailed by two with 10 minutes to go until two big scores from centre-half-foward Barry McGovern pulled them level, before they hit four more on the bounce, and they were able to withstand a late goal from Donal O'Flatharta that put just one between the sides deep in injury time to hold on for the win.