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Marmion leads Connacht award winners

Connacht's talented young scrumhalf Kieran Marmion won the Players' Player of the Year Award at the province's annual awards evening at the weekend.

Minors make it a year to remember

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The senior season may have ended up in disappointment against Dublin, however, our minors had a truly remarkable year but it could have been so different. Back on June 22 we first set eyes on Stephen Coen, Tommy “Goals” Conroy, and co. They had an easy victory over Leitrim winning by 1-15 to 1-05 in McHale Park. The old saying that “no one game will make a season”, could not be further from the truth after Mayo’s clash with Galway on June 30 (the same day London shocked Leitrim). This was a remarkable game, Mayo were within inches of going out, (and remember there is no back door safety net for minors at semi-final stage) sheer persistence got them over the line in extra time on a final score 5-08 to 2-11. The Connacht final against Roscommon was a great spectacle. Brilliant goals, superb defending, and skill levels to match. Mayo sauntered into a big lead but Roscommon clawed their way back and came agonisingly close to snatching a draw in the dying seconds, it would have been robbery had Mayo not won it. A Connacht minor final is not to be sniffed at. Mayo then gave Westmeath a right tanking in the quarter final in Tullamore winning by 2-13 to 0-8 points, the rest of the country were beginning to take note. A real test awaited in the semi final against Monaghan, many bookmakers’ favourites for the title. This was no question the performance of the year from the minors. They blitzed their northern opponents, scoring a whopping three goals and 19 points in the process. Talking to Barney Rock during and after this game, he was very impressed. The only negative from this game was the unfortunate injury to Cian Hanley who would agonisingly miss the final. The final pitted Mayo against more Ulster opponents in Tyrone, who were very lucky to beat Roscommon in their semi-final. Mayo played some brilliant football, urged on by the huge Mayo support. The full forward line of Darragh Doherty, Liam Irwin, and Tommy Conroy scored 2-09 of the 2-13 total. We were given the scare of our lives when Tyrone pulled a goal back in the dying moments but the Tommy Markham Cup was won for the first time since 1985. The celebrations in Croke Park after the final whistle will be something I will never forget.

St Brigid’s can make experience count in Connacht final

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Reigning provincial and All-Ireland club champions St Brigid’s will be more than comfortable in their surrounds when they take on Mayo champions Castlebar in the Connacht club football final in Dr Hyde Park this Sunday at 2pm. The Kiltoom men are bidding for a remarkable four-in-a-row of provincial titles but will get nothing easy from the men from Castlebar who caused a major surprise by accounting for a fancied Corofin in their semi-final.

This will be Castlebar’s biggest test yet

our county champions Castlebar Mitchels take on the might of Corofin in the Connacht club semi-final. It really is a step into the unknown for Pat Holmes’ team who look set to have to plan without ace midfielder/attacker Danny Kirby who was red carded in the county u21 football final last Friday. There will be arguments all over as to whether Kirby’s suspension should follow through to the senior grade, but the fact that this was his last game as an u21 player meant he had to be suspended for something. He should not have put his team or manager in this predicament and I am sure ‘Holmesy’ was raging, as Kirby is a vital part of the Castlebar game plan. Corofin seem to have their eyes on bigger prizes this year and next, they will see Sunday as a means to an end. They also had the luxury of cantering home in their county final against a very disappointing Salthill/Knocknacarra on a score line of 2-13 to 0-7. Playing two weeks before the Mayo final also gave Crossmolina native and Corofin manager Stephen Rochford the ideal situation of being able to watch Castlebar in full tilt in the county final (as if he did not know enough already). I myself have been on the wrong end of a pasting from Corofin in the Connacht Club Championship. In 2009 they came to Charlestown and destroyed us on our own patch in the Connacht final. We were literally beaten all over the field. That game was due to go ahead a week previous but was postponed due to a water logged pitch after two weeks intensive rain, however what I ultimately remember from the whole experience is the day before the postponed game was to go ahead, Corofin had three officials in Charlestown for the pitch inspection, checking that matters were conducted correctly. They leave no stone unturned such is their professionalism. Gary Sice was their main man in the county final scoring 1-04, the Galway star seems to have found the form which his talent suggested, but they have match winners all over the field. Kieran Comer is a proven handful for whoever he has come up against and watch out for pocket rocket Joe Canney, (not to be confused with hurler Joe Canning) he destroyed us in that final in 2009. There is no doubt this will be the best team Castlebar have come up against in the last few years. They will need to be at full tilt to have any hope in this game, the Mitchell’s have some brilliant individuals who are capable of going toe to toe with anyone, but when big team performances are needed I cannot see past the well oiled machine that is Corofin.

Stunning Corofin rip Salthill apart

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Corofin had been topped all season as the ‘likely lads’ to win the Frank Fox in 2013 – and they showed why they were such hot favourites on Sunday when they produced a superb display to leave Salthill/Knocknacarra trailing miles in their wake.

Another trophy beckons for Greenfields as they defend Irish Hockey Trophy

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Greenfields Hockey Club celebrated winning this season’s Connacht League on Sunday, but have put the celebrations on hold until Saturday’s Irish Hockey Trophy final.

Ballinasloe in bonus territory as they head to Breffini Park

This Sunday a special gathering of the football people of Ballinasloe, past and present, takes place when St Grellan's head to Kingspan Breffini Park for the All-Ireland Junior football semi-final against Armagh’s An Port Mór at 2pm.

Curry outmuscled by experience and physicality

There was terrific entertainment at the Connacht club championship semi-final last Sunday. The opening 30 minutes was as good as I have seen at club level this year. The first half was a real quality contest, very exciting with fast flowing end to end action, some wonderful scores, and generally two teams having a right go at advancing to a Connacht final. It went a good way towards warming the blood on a chilly day in McHale Park.

Salthill-Knocknacarra must be at their best to beat St Brigids

An attractive and intriguing Connacht club semi-final takes place on Sunday at Pearse Stadium (2.30pm) when Salthill/Knocknacarra take on the current provincial club champions St Brigid’s (Roscommon).

€10,000 fine handed down to Mayo by Connacht Council

The Connacht Council has handed the down a €10,000 fine to Mayo GAA for their failure to take part in the away final of Connacht FBD League. The final was due to take place on Sunday October 7 against New York in the US city, two weeks after Mayo had played in the All Ireland final against Donegal in Croke Park.

 

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