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I was hugely disappointed this week after our Crossmolina boys lost to Castlebar Mitchels in the quarter finals last Sunday. We had prepared exceptionally well, particularly over the last three weeks since the conclusion of the group stages with two good challenge matches and quality training in between. The feeling was that if we could beat Castlebar, we had a right chance of winning the county title. The mood was good coming into the game despite injury to five of our first team squad. There was a quiet air of confidence that we would beat the more fancied Mitchels. There was a big doubt about our county player Peadar Gardiner’s participation right up to the last few minutes, but he had pushed himself right to the limit to be fit to play.
We are down to the last nine in the football championship with all of the main protagonists still standing. Kerry are still my favourites to land Sam this year. They should beat Limerick with scores to spare on Sunday. They definitely appear to be focused and sharp this year. From what I hear they are putting in an extra effort to ensure that one of their favourite sons, the ‘Gooch’ has the opportunity to walk the steps in September. Extra miles on the clock and All-Ireland medals in the back pocket tend to blunt hunger levels, but Kerry look ferociously hungry. A number of their players, namely Declan O’Sullivan, Kieran Donaghy, Darren O’Sullivan, and Donnchadh Walsh, have been particularly outstanding for them. I believe they played a challenge last week against Roscommon in Limerick and, despite pulling off half of their first 15, managed to win by seven points. And the word from that game was that the two best players on show were….. you guessed it…… Tomas O’Se and Paul Galvin.
I got word earlier in the week that the wagons were circling ahead of Mayo’s GAA County Board convention on Tuesday night last at the McWilliam Park Hotel in Claremorris. It appears that Noelle Horan, the outgoing PRO, had a major difference of opinion with a number of county board officers regarding restrictions on her access to the county team’s dressing-room earlier this year. “Access all areas” apparently wasn’t a problem under the previous management and it would seem there wasn’t too much of a problem regarding her access to the dressing room earlier this year under the current management. Obviously something went awry at some juncture that sullied what appeared up to then to be the perfect harmonious relationship. There had been a number of verbal clashes at earlier meetings and it was generally felt that things might get a little ugly at the convention on Tuesday night. There was no pairing system in place for this meeting with all county board officers expected to attend to display a collective unity against the maverick! My informant tells me that Ms Horan distributed a pre-prepared script which she later read from. She had a right swipe at the county board executive, outlining instances when she was “constructively prevented” from performing her duties and other occasions when she was “repeatedly undermined” by members of the board. Her own club member, Mr Sean Feeney, the county secretary, came in for scathing criticism from her, suggesting that he had no right to criticise players for doing certain media work. The suggestion was that Mr Feeney wasn’t shy of using the airways himself when it suited him. It is difficult to comprehend what caused such a breakdown in “the family”, but I would offer that it will be quite some time, if ever, before we see Ms Horan seek a nomination to become an officer of the Mayo County Board.