Search Results for 'Diarmuid Connolly'
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I could not believe the crowd that turned up in Elverys McHale Park last Saturday evening, there was a lot more than the 13,500 recorded, I am guessing closer to 16,000. I do not imagine there was ever a bigger crowd for a National league game in Castlebar. Most championship matches would not attract such attention. What makes the support even more impressive was that the game was broadcast live on Setanta Sports and also that the Ireland and Wales game in the Six Nations would have meant a few would not have travelled.
Two weeks is a long time in sport. All of a sudden after two very impressive wins in the National League things look rosy in the Mayo camp as they sit proudly at the summit of division one. We have to be clear on this, Mayo are not going to win every game left in the league (maybe they will). The management are still learning and their most important lesson came when Tyrone visited MacHale Park. You cannot but be impressed by the way they and the players have responded, a thrashing of Monaghan followed by a hard fought win away against Derry in Celtic Park.
The three week break in the National league came at a good time for the Mayo footballers and for joint managers Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly. It will give them time to work on certain issues that were so badly exposed by the Tyrone blanket defence, however it still did not detract the doubters and the critics from expressing their obvious concerns.
Galway and Connacht champions Corofin will take the M6 motorway on Saturday morning to Tullamore to take on the Leinster and All-Ireland champions St Vincent’s in the eagerly anticipated All-Ireland football semi-final in O’Connor Park (2pm).
I am really looking forward to Sunday’s county final, Castlebar and Ballintubber met in the group stages with the Mitchels winning by a single goal but it seems the tides have turned slightly after Ballintubber’s devastating display in the semi-final win over Knockmore. Castlebar seem to have the measure of Ballintubber as of late, but will certainly be fearful of going up against one of the most lethal club forward lines in the country. They will also be reminded that Ballintubber have beaten them in two finals in the last five years. Castlebar have a better defence than Ballintubber but Ballintubber have a better forward line than Castlebar so something has to give.
At least one wish eventually occurred that I was hoping for as the four provincial winners are through to the semi-finals in the football championship, Mayo and Donegal by the skin of their teeth, Dublin and Kerry in a canter. It seems the day of having an All-Ireland winner that comes through the qualifiers is well and truly gone. Not since Kerry navigated their way in 09 have we had a winner through the back door. For the first time in GAA history the four provincial minor winners are also the same as the four provincial senior winners.
For those of you who decided to go to Croke Park last Saturday night, it was a good decision. It was a game that had pretty much everything, full of twists and turns, it certainly was not for the faint hearted and nothing beats being there to watch the action unfold and embrace the atmosphere. I was asked by someone tuned in to the radio if my wife has my life insurance policy updated as I apparently nearly had a heart attack live on air. I have no doubt Mayo will feel like they lost this game, being in such a commanding position in the second half and with a numerical advantage for 45 or so minutes, it looked like it was a case of by how much would they win, but their inability to kill of a team that was not playing well and had only 14 men will certainly worry James Horan.
St Vincent’s 0-11
What a performance by Castlebar Mitchels against Corofin. Hands up, I didn’t see that coming. I was very unsure about the quality of club football in the county but at least now I know we have one team capable of competing. Pundits and bookmakers didn’t give Castlebar a chance (4/1 in some places). Upon seeing Kieran Fitzgerald in the press box fully clothed before the game and hearing about a few other Corofin players being doubtful , I promptly got on the mobile and advised punters to get a piece of Castlebar to be ahead at half time and full time at 7/1. I have to admit it was very worrying when Corofin were leading by 1-03 to 0-1 after 12 minutes, Ian Burke was giving Tom Cuniffe the run around and Neil Douglas was losing crucial ball. Every single Castlebar player upped their performance inspired by Eoghan O’Reilly who set the tone with a big hit on a Corofin player. The Castlebar goals couldn’t have come at a better time, Richie Feeney’s palm into the net was a truly brilliant team goal and when Neil Lydon reacted faster to a rebound off the crossbar to net again for the Mitchels it was Corofin who were taking on water.
Mayo people living in Galway have really been showing their colours over the past few weeks and I hope Mayo finally come good and get over the winning line.