Search Results for 'Conor Counihan'
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With seven or eight minutes to go last Saturday evening in Croke Park, the Galway footballers looked like they were going to ride out their luck and sneak a sensational win over Cork in Round four of the qualifiers.
The dust has just about settled on the group stages of the Mayo championship and there is never a weekend that goes by that you are not intrigued or partly shocked by some of the results. I’m not quite the expert tipster I thought I was- our east Mayo friends in Aughamore let me down (Jimmy Killeen- the lethal Garrymore forward bagging himself eight points) along with Tomas Tierney’s Westport who failed to deliver on their promising victory in Tourmakeady.
The Mayo footballers will have received a huge boost from last Sunday’s narrow victory over Kerry in the National League semi-final.
I discovered last Sunday that football does occasionally work to Hollywood endings and rose-red sunsets. Last Sunday’s game was a big occasion for Mayo football. Our reputation as a team of being able to compete with the big boys was under threat. However we should not have worried ourselves as Mayo delivered a fearless determined display which ranks up there with the very best we have witnessed heretofore and in doing so ensured that the integrity of Mayo football is back where it belongs after a disappointing couple of years.
The general consensus in Pearse Stadium on Sunday afternoon was that the Galway seniors were improving and things were starting to look up a bit.
From the frying pan into the fire would appear to be the Galway footballers’ lot this Sunday.
A week, they say, is a long time in politics. A week in football can be an eternity. Wee James McCartan was being championed as the Messiah last week before the final, the man who resurrected the fortunes of a Down side whose season was full of mediocrity up until the back door stage. He was being hailed as the man who re-energised his troops after they were beaten in the Ulster championship by Tyrone. In fairness, his Down side were liberated once they went in through the back door to begin their tour of the country and there was an incremental improvement in each and every performance as they progressed towards last Sunday’s final. This week McCartan’s performance as manager is being scrutinised in great detail with many in his native county questioning some of his decision-making on the line. I can understand why, as a narrow defeat normally means a huge post-mortem of the losing team’s performance. Before last Sunday’s match everyone suggested that the midfield sector was going to be crucial. It was generally perceived that if Down could manage a supply of decent ball into their pacey forwards, they would be in with a mighty chance of success. Last Sunday they were annihilated in this crucial sector. Cork won 70 per cent of the kick outs and the scale of their dominance was key to their triumph. The Down goalkeeper, Brendan McVeigh, on the other hand, never varied his kickouts throughout the afternoon and it does beg the question why he persisted in making heroes out of both Nicholas Murphy and Aidan Walsh. A more puzzling decision was the substitution of Paul McComiskey with 15 minutes remaining on the clock. He was playing brilliantly all afternoon, kicking three points and giving his opponent the run around. That decision left many perplexed.
Who would have predicted that Dublin, Kildare, Down and Cork would be the last four standing in the chase for this year’s All-Ireland? It is so refreshing to see new teams emerge and it is also good that we will see new champions later this summer. Tyrone and Kerry have dominated the scene for the last eight years, and to be honest, it was becoming predictable and a little boring. That is why last weekend’s results were like a breath of fresh air.
It was an afternoon where nothing changed, or where everything changed. Mayo went to Dublin full of hope and expectation and once again headed west with a lot more questions than answers in their pocket. Is it Croke Park? Are Mayo just not good enough? Is it history? These are all questions that John O'Mahony will hope to have the right answers for come the end of the year. But for now, the only way is forward as he sees it, and what's done is done and it's now about the next challenge.
Mayo will definitely be with out the services of both Keith Higgins and Enda Varley for Sunday's National Football League final against Cork it was reveled on Saturday afternoon. Both men who won u21 All Ireland titles against Cork back in 2006 underwent fitness tests on Saturday morning before Mayo departed for Dublin. Higgins picked up a knee injury in Mayo's win over Monaghan in the penultimate round of games in the league stages of the competition, while Varley aggravated a hamstring injury while playing for his club Garrymore in the opening round of league games at the start of the month. The UL student did make a cameo appearance for his club last weekend, but failed to make the grade for Sunday's game.