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Mayo go looking to skin the cats

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While they are far better known for their small ball game, the black and amber Cats from Kilkenny are standing in Mayo's way of reaching the All Ireland Junior Football Championship final tomorrow afternoon in Tullamore. Kilkenny who only field a football team at junior level have progressed to this stage of the competition after winning the British junior crown, travelling over and back to Great Britain for all their games this summer so far. In the final of that championship they saw off the challenge of Scotland to book their final four spot.

Morley makes top ten

Oughterard golfer Devin Morley produced a super display to finish in the top 10 at the recent Connacht Under-18 Boys’ Championship.

Mayo’s know-how and superior strength will show

As I expected, Galway qualified for the Connacht final after a somewhat facile victory over Sligo in the semi-final in Markievicz Park last weekend.

A job is there to be done and let’s do it

The time has arrived again, another trip to Croker, our third semi-final in a row under James Horan, and it is time for all the talking to stop. It is game five of six as Mayo take on Tyrone in Croke Park on Sunday for a place in the All- Ireland final on September 22. I have one small fear ahead of the game, I’m sure it is only among the supporters and not the players, but a lot of people are dismissing Tyrone’s chances and are already wondering who Mayo will play in the final, I have never seen as many Mayo flags bought and as many green and red flags on cars and houses for a semi-final, we normally wait for a final for this to happen and that is a very dangerous way to be thinking before taking on the Red Hand. Confidence is one thing but cockiness is another. Have people forgotten that Tyrone have won three All- Irelands in the last 10 years and they completely demoralised far more superior Kerry teams than themselves in the not too distant past in finals. In the 2008 final, Kerry’s Tommy Walsh and Kieran Donaghy, the twin towers, were considered un-markable but Mickey Harte and the McMahon brothers found a way to do the job. Tyrone have an unbelievable capacity to frustrate you and get in your face, so to speak. They will annoy you and remind you of their success and Mayo’s failures in All-Ireland finals.

Collision course

Once Monaghan had ended Donegal’s three-in-a-row Ulster championship dreams in St Tiernach’s Park in Clones, a couple of hours after Mayo had wrapped up their own hat-trick of provincial titles, this Sunday’s quarter-final pairing was the one that the neutral and plenty of non-neutrals wanted to see come out of the hat. And so it came to pass, not long after 8.30pm last Saturday, the gods conspired to set up a rematch of last year’s All Ireland final, with Cavan man Joe McQuillan the man brokering the peace in the middle of the two packs.

Casey's Call

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.

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.

Ardnaree get second tilt at the title

Darragh McCormack came to the rescue of Ardnaree late on in McHale Park on Sunday to give his side a second crack at this years Mayo junior title. Two minutes into injury time, Michael Walsh drove forward with purpose and laid the ball off to the Ardnaree number ten who held his nerve to pull the game level at 1-5 each. It was McCormack who left only one point between the sides, six minutes earlier with a neat finish under pressure.

North against south in the junior decider

On the undercard of Sunday’s senior final is the meeting of two sides who have been beaten in three of the last four junior finals as they look to finally make the break up to intermediate football. Ardnaree were seen off last year by Islandeady and were also beaten in the final of three years ago by Kiltimagh. The Neale were last in the final in 2008 when Killala saw them off to claim the title.

Galway announced their return, but are they really as good as they looked?

Galway announced their arrival once again as a formidable force on the inter-county football scene with a significant victory over, albeit a very lethargic looking, Roscommon side. I have met Alan Mulholland on quite a few occasions throughout the winter months through my involvement with NUI Galway and I always came away with the impression that this young manager knows what he is about.

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