Search Results for 'Brian Reape'
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It’s unlikely that you’ll ever see this combination of Mayo players ever line out together again for a competitive fixture, but it gave a number of players a taste of what it’s like in the big leagues they’ll not forget and some others who have serious designs on being around there for a long time plenty to work on.
It is going to be hard for Michael Solan and his management team to top their debut season in charge of the Mayo U21s having brought last year's crop of new stars right to the top of the game and claiming the All Ireland U21 title in Ennis against Cork at the end of the spring.
The last time that the Mayo senior footballers were in action was the heartbreaking All Ireland senior final replay defeat to Dublin and since then they have been the talk of the country following an interview by their former managers. Almost all of that squad are currently on a team holiday in South Africa so for this Sunday's FBD League opener, it is going to be a very different looking Mayo side for supporters to get their voices behind for the first time this year, and concentrate on things on the field rather than off the field.
Four games spread across three venues will determine the future of eight sides all looking to be the one to claim the Mayo Intermediate Championship and book their place with the big boys in the senior event next summer. The last few games that had to be tidied up in the group stages took place last weekend and Kiltimagh, Westport, Belmullet, and Islandeady topped their groups, with Moy Davitts, Burrishoole, The Neale, and Shrule Glenncorrib joining them at the quarter final stage as runners up.
For the third time in five years Mayo have made their way back to the All Ireland Junior final and for the third time the men from Kerry will be standing in their way. When the counties met back in the final in Ennis in 2012, Kerry accounted for Mayo by nine points on a score of 0-19 to 1-7, and last year in Croke Park the Kingdom did for them again, this time on a scoreline of 2-18 to 0-10.
A brace of goals from subs Conor Keane and Sean Gaughan between the 13th and 19th minute sent Mayo back to the All Ireland Junior Football Championship Final for the second year in a row in O’Connor Park in Tullamore. Mayo had led by three at the break, but Wexford reeled off four points on the bounce after the change around to edge into the lead before Mayo’s two goal salvo turned the game in their favour .
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford said this week that he is in no rush to fast-track through a large group of Michael Solan's All Ireland U21 winning side into the senior set up. Brian Reape has been brought in to the senior championship squad recently alongside four others, Diarmuid O'Connor, Stephen Coen, Michael Hall, and Conor Loftus, who have all been with the senior set up previously.
Who is ever going to forget Mayo Day 2016? Not one Mayo GAA fan that's for sure after the heroics of our U21 team in reaching the promised land and claiming the county's fifth All-Ireland title at this level. Was I confident before throw in? Not really, we knew Brian Reape was out and I heard on the grapevine that fullback Seamus Cuniffe was very doubtful because of a hamstring, and that our most influential player Diarmuid O'Connor might not be able to give his all because of a fractured finger sustained against Dublin in the semi-final. We couldn't possibly win with three key players missing or not at 100 per cent was my gut instinct. I was relieved to see Cuniffee and O'Connor taking their positions for the throw in. The buzz in Cusack Park was surreal, Mayo fans making up at least 7,000 of the almost 8,000 crowd.
No matter what the competition, no matter what the grade, nothing beats the excitement of All-Ireland final day. Tomorrow just happens to be a big one in the GAA calendar. The Mayo u21s travel to Ennis to take on Munster champions Cork 10 years on from their last victory at this grade against the same opposition at the same venue. The players would have felt the buzz all week, our senior team have had to take a back seat for the last few weeks, now it's all about the U21s.