Search Results for 'Keith Higgins'
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Lee Keegan said that he “absolutely” meant to loop the ball over Paul Durcan’s head and into the top corner of the net three minutes into the second half. As soon as the green flag was raised by the umpires, Mayo were on their way to a fifth All Ireland semi-final in a row. That goal put seven points between the sides and it was a matter of seeing out the game from there on in.
Back when Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly took charge of the Mayo u21s for the first time in 2006, Keith Higgins was the man who they entrusted as their leader on the field. When the duo took the reins of the senior team this year it was the Ballyhaunis man they looked to again to be their battlefield commander. Higgins has been one of the finest defenders in the game over the best part of the last decade and he knows despite what others may say about the championship proper only beginning in August, it kicked off in earnest a long time ago. "If you're a Mayo player and you see the draw coming out and you see you've Galway in Salthill, that's where the championship starts no matter how good your record has been the last few years. That's championship stuff and that's what gets you going. You ask the Donegal boys and they'll say the same thing when they'd to play Tyrone in the first round at the end of May. They can't be thinking ahead to August. But August is where you want to be."
After every victory, no more than after every loss in a football game, people look for something to take out of it and work on for the next game. Scoring 6-25 in a provincial final win makes everything appear rosy on the the attacking side. But questions are also asked about the quality of the team you have just beaten. Add in the fact that you also conceded 2-11 to a team you were so far ahead of on the field of play, to go with the 2-8 you shipped against Galway in the Connacht semi-final win, and the attention on Mayo has switched to their potential defensive frailties.
After blitzing their way through Connacht without much fuss the first test of Mayo's credentials from a side outside Connacht will come tomorrow when they square up against Donegal in Croke Park. Mayo joint managers, Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes, announced their starting 15 for the showdown on Tuesday this week, much earlier than they have done for their two other championship games, and the starting line-up showed no changes from the one that started against Sligo in the provincial decider.
As a result of the torrential rain all weekend a number of games were pulled for the safety of the players. However, those that did go ahead threw up some cracking ties amid the shocking conditions. In the Elverys Sports Super League, Castlebar Celtic had gone into an early lead thanks to a Jordan Loftus goal after only 20 seconds, but with the rain getting heavier and the surface water in Celtic Park causing problems, referee Jimmy Cawley called both sets of players aside and abandoned the game after only nine minutes. Westport Utd were pushed all the way by Iorrais Aontaithe on Saturday night in what can only be described as a thriller. And the star of the show most definitely was Phil Keegan who bagged a hat-trick in a stunning display. Deadlocked at 2-2 at the break the Covies found something extra after the break with Keegan grabbing the late winner. Dave Cameron also got in on the act for Westport, with Ivan Barrett (two) and Kyle O’Reilly on target for Iorrais Aontaithe.
By the time Niall Murphy had put Sligo's first score on the board, just before the 10 minute mark, Mayo had their 46th Connacht title well under wraps, having scored 2-4 of their own. Mayo's frantic work rate and total domination of Sligo's own kick-out was the foundation to that start. They never gave Sligo an inch to breathe in the early exchanges and forced Aidan Devaney into a risky kick-out strategy that was ultimately fatal for the game. We take a look at where those scores came from below.
Mayo used 21 players yesterday on the field in their historic win over Sligo as they picked up their fifth Connacht title on the bounce, we run our eye over the performance of all those 21 players.
It is not the Connacht final we expected to see but it certainly is one that has been widely anticipated after Sligo threw away the form book when comprehensively disposing of Roscommon in the semi final. It is slightly ironic that it is the 40th anniversary of Sligo’s famous win against Mayo in the final. The big question on everybody’s lips is will they be able to produce again against the current Connacht kingpins to prevent the green and red going for an unprecedented five in a row.
Half a decade ago, Mayo were bounced out of the Connacht championship by Sligo in the shadow of Benbulbin, it was one of those bad days for Mayo football where nothing went right.
After this weekends final round of action in the group stages of the Mayo GAA Senior Football Championship we now know the eight sides who’ll be contesting the knock-out stages. Breaffy, Castlebar Mitchels, Ballintubber and Kiltane all won their groups and Knockmore, Ballina Stephenites, Aghamore and Garrymore joined them after finishing in second place in their respective groups.