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The role of goalkeeper in Gaelic football has changed dramatically over the past few years - where once a good shot stopper and a guy who could launch the ball 50 yards down the field were the prerequisite skills for the position, now the position has changed into something much different - with footballing ability, precision passing as important a the ability to read the tactical plan of the opposition vital to the role.
Back in the dog days of January Aghamore's Ross Egan was living a bit of a dream, one that he knew would come to an end, but one that has given him the taste of what could be possible if he keeps his head down and keeps working as hard as he can.
So after much talk, speculation, and weeks of anticipation the Super Eights are finally here and ready to rock. And the tie of the weekend pits Kevin Walsh's Galway squad against Eamon Fitzmaurice's Kerry outfit this Sunday (4pm) in Croke Park.
It has come down to this, seventy minutes of football for Mayo to maintain their status as the Father of the House of division one football, or drop down to the second tier for the first time in over two decades.
Mayo left Salthill last Sunday, frustrated and annoyed and without any points to show for their efforts.
The shadow boxing and experimenting has come to a close, with the end of the FBD League last Sunday for Mayo. This weekend Mayo will make the trip to Clones in the reverse fixture of last year's National Football League opener which was won by the Farney county men in MacHale Park. The top division in the National Football League is a high intensity environment — Mayo want to hit the ground running and they will be targeting a win in this game.
With respect to the FBD league Mayo's season kicks off in earnest this Sunday when they travel to Clones to take on Monaghan in the first round of the National Football League. The FBD was somewhat of a calamitous affair this year with the weather playing puck with fixtures resulting in postponements and last minute cancellations. The decision to call off the Mayo v Galway game at the 11th hour the most frustrating postponement, as almost 3,000 spectators had gathered in Baltic conditions in Elverys MacHale Park. Most wondered why the decision was not made earlier. That re-fixture meant Mayo of course had to play three games in five days, two of which were lost while the other was a draw. Amazingly last weekend Mayo's game went ahead against Sligo albeit after a venue change. It was the only inter county game that took place last Sunday.
My grandfather John Francis Silke, who lived and farmed in Corrandulla, Co Galway, used to tell me when I was a youngster that as you get older the years really start to race by.
Keith Higgins will be another familiar face missing from Mayo’s opening league encounter against Monaghan next weekend, with the Ballyhaunis clubman yet to join up with the panel for the new season.
Mayo bookended their FBD League campaign by registering their first win of the new season against Sligo in James Stephens Park. But as Mayo manager Stephen Rochford said after the game; “That sort of performance won’t get you any points in Clones.”