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Dublin brace early in the second half sinks Westmeath

Dublin 2-13

When everything goes wrong

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.

Dublin dish out a lesson to Mayo

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If one incident defined how much more Dublin were up for this game that Mayo it was when early in the second half, Aidan O’Shea got in behind the Dublin defence. He stumbled but fed the ball to Mark Ronaldson, who pulled the trigger. But out of nowhere Denis Bastick got back to not only block the ball, but gather it and break clear. It was an outstanding feat of athleticism and brilliance by the Ballymun Kickhams man.

O’Connor to miss Dubs date?

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Mayo could be without one of their key attackers for their meeting with Dublin next Saturday night, joint manager Noel Connelly revealed on Sunday after his teams win over Derry in Celtic Park.

Glasson’s Aoife in Home-Cook Hero final

A local schoolgirl represented Westmeath in the final of this year’s Easy Food Home-Cook Hero Awards at the weekend.

Business scholars

These are special times for Ballyhaunis

Ballyhaunis GAA club are most certainly on cloud nine at the moment. I can only imagine how tough it is trying to keep the hurling and football teams fresh as they are playing every other week. In all, 10 or so players are representing both teams so some serious negotiating has to be going on between the managers to make sure that the players are fresh for whichever code is on the following weekend. Their hurlers had a fantastic win last Sunday in Athleague and this Sunday it’s the footballers’ turn against tournament favourites St Croan’s in Hyde Park at 2pm. Kiltane’s victory over Boyle last year in Castlebar means it’s an away game for Ballyhaunis. I don’t imagine club officers would have it any other way and love the predicament they are in. Any time you are training for championship matches after the October Bank Holiday weekend means you have at the very least secured a county title for your club, and with wins for both the footballers and hurlers already in the provincial series it can only mean there will be a real adrenaline rush attending training. I experienced it twice as a player; it brings such a feel-good factor around your town or parish to be involved in the championship when the evenings are short. Players are probably and deservedly getting a little spoilt now, gear bags, training tops and polo shirts are more than likely been sponsored and to top it off they are probably been treated to some grub after training, which is ideal for the bonding of the group, that never happens unless you at least win your county title. Ballyhaunis will need to be on top of their game to win in Roscommon.

Sunday’s showdown should be fun

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.

A game that had it all bar the right result

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.

Mayo fall short against the Dubs

Had Jack McCaffrey’s late effort made its way between the posts at the end of a crazy, madcap, frantic and frenetic clash between last season’s All Ireland finalists to hand Dublin victory, it is doubtful Mayo supporters could have left Croke Park feeling any more deflated on Saturday night.

 

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