Search Results for 'James Kilcullen'
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A number of teams will be looking to have booked their spot in the last eight of the Mayo senior football championship this weekend when the curtain comes down on round two.
I thought it impossible to see anything more bizarre than having to overtake an NYPD car on my way to MacHale Park last Sunday but just before the start of the Ballintubber/Knockmore county quarter final something else surpassed that. While I was watching the Ballintubber warm up to see if I could spot Cillian O’Connor ( to see if he was togged) I noticed a commotion in the middle of the field with all medical personnel running towards the place where Knockmore just had their team picture taken.
It was a weekend for surprises in Elverys MacHale Park in the Treanlaur Catering Senior Football Championship, with the defending champions Ballaghaderreen and the winners of the previous two titles Ballintubber both bowing out of championship at the quarter-final stage. The final of the last eight ties got off to a dramatic start, with most eyes during the warm up trying to see was Cillian O’Connor going to play any part in the game, then suddenly Knockmore’s Aiden Kilcoyne had to be stretchered off the field before a ball had even been kicked in anger. The All Ireland u21 winner, when running away from the team photograph did something to his knee in his run towards the warm up and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher, in some discomfort. It wasn’t the start that Nigel Reape would have been hoping for, but his charges, knuckled down without their marquee forward and tore into Peter Ford’s Ballintubber side. The main man in the clash was Declan Sweeney who rolled back the years with a performance for the ages in the full-forward position. He ran Cathal Hallinan ragged all day, and Hallinan didn’t have a particularly bad game and was the key difference between the sides. Knockmore were leading by 0-3 to 0-2 after ten minutes, when Ballintubber hit the first goal of the game to push themselves into the lead. Padraic O’Connor dropped the ball into the danger area and Knockmore goalkeeper Andrew Higgins didn’t cover himself in glory as the ball spilled loose and a combination of Alan Plunkett and Damien McGing combined to force the ball over the line from close range. But Knockmore weren’t going to bend the knee easily and 14 minutes later they pushed themselves back into a 0-8 to 1-3 lead thanks to points from Kieran Langan, Andrew Keane, Tom Clarke and a brace from Declan Sweeney. The north Mayo men tagged on two more points before the break through Kevin McLoughlin and they had the bit between their teeth at the turn around and headed for the dressing room leading 0-10 to 1-3. Diarmuid O’Connor opened the scoring in the second half with a fine point a minute in, but two minutes later the definitive moment of the game arrived when Knockmore bagged their only goal of the contest. Shane McHale who put in a top-class shift in around the middle third hit an effort for a point that came back off the post and Darren McHale was the quickest to react to the rebound a drove the ball high to the roof of Brendan Walsh’s net to put Reape’s side into a six point lead. But Ballintubber were not throwing in the towel just yet and they reeled off four points without reply in the next ten minutes to close the gap to just two points. Padraic O’Connor kicked three frees and Jason Gibbons added the other from distance. The game looked to be ebbing back towards the west Mayo men, but this was going to be Knockmore’s day and two pointed frees from Kieran Langan sandwiched other efforts from Stephen Sweeney and Kevin McLoughlin stretched their lead out to six points with ten minutes to go. Ballintubber went looking for goals at the end and they couldn’t dig themselves out of this one and Knockmore toughed it out at the end to win by 1-15 to 1-10.
It’s probably forgotten by a lot of people, but along with reaching the All Ireland senior final last year, Mayo also reached the junior equivalent of the competition also, where they came unstuck against a classy Kerry side in Cusack Park in Ennis.
This year’s club action kicked off with a couple of big questions looking to be answered, could Ballintubber be the first team since the legendary Garrymore team to do three in a row in the senior championship. And would Charlestown be able to bounce straight back up from the intermediate championship after their shock fall from grace the previous year.
I sent a brief text to Liam McHale and Kevin McStay last Sunday evening congratulating them on guiding St Brigid’s of Roscommon to a Connacht title. These two lads were brought in by the Roscommon club to launch a serious bid for All-Ireland, an honour which, understandably, placed and places them under huge pressure. Had they not managed to at least achieve a provincial title, they would have been perceived as failures. On the evidence of last Sunday, I believe they have a fantastic chance of going all the way with this team.
The last time a Mayo side claimed the Connacht Club Senior Football Championship it was Ballina Stephenites on a wet and wild day in James Stephens Park in 2007 and St Brigid’s were the opposition. In the past four years the Roscommon men have gone on to claim the last two titles and are looking to make it three in a row and their fourth over all, this Sunday in McHale Park, and in the process, draw Roscommon level on 13 titles each with Mayo in the overall roll of honour. However standing in their way are a Ballaghaderreen side who are looking to claim their first provincial title and Mayo’s 14th drawing them level with Galway on the number of titles won on the roll of honour.
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.
This weekend will be a big weekend of action for both Charlestown and Ballaghaderreen. The near neighbours have been focusing their attention on provincial honours since winning the Mayo intermediate and senior championships respectively.
Ballaghaderreen 1-9 Ballintubber 0-4