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The Mayo junior adventure came to an end in Croke Park on Saturday afternoon, when a far classier Kerry side put them to the sword without much fuss to claim the All Ireland junior crown.
While they are far better known for their small ball game, the black and amber Cats from Kilkenny are standing in Mayo's way of reaching the All Ireland Junior Football Championship final tomorrow afternoon in Tullamore. Kilkenny who only field a football team at junior level have progressed to this stage of the competition after winning the British junior crown, travelling over and back to Great Britain for all their games this summer so far. In the final of that championship they saw off the challenge of Scotland to book their final four spot.
The Mayo junior footballers will go looking to claim the first provincial title of the year for the county on Sunday lunchtime when they face off against Galway in the Connacht Junior Football Championship final in Carrick-on-Shannon. Seán McLoughlin's men booked their place in the provincial final last weekend thanks to a 2-10 to 1-10 win over the defending champions Sligo in James Stephens Park in Ballina. Sunday's game will be the curtain raiser to the senior championship meeting between Leitrim and Galway, the winners of which will face Mayo in the senior semi-final in five weeks time.
Who will pick up the coveted Mayo League Player of the Year Award, we will find out tomorrow night when the annual Mayo League Awards take place in the Welcome Inn Hotel in Castlebar. The three players shortlisted for the award are Westport United’s David Cameron, Bangor Hibs’ Brian McHale, and Conn Rangers’ man Owen McNamara.
It may have taken only two games to get this far, but come 2.30pm in Ennis tomorrow and the chance to win a Celtic Cross over the next 60 minutes, every ball will be contested as ferociously as if it were the senior equivalent in Croke Park on Sunday September 23.
For the first time in their 41 year history O'Loughlin Gaels GAA Club were crowned All-Ireland Feile na nGael champions last weekend in Galway. This was the club's second year in a row representing Kilkenny in the national finals of the Feile na nGael. Last year a younger team were beaten in the quarter final. This year was to be a different story.
The hardworking O'Loughlin Gaels’ under 10 teams won the finals of the county board organised ‘Go Games Leagues’ on Saturday last in Nowlan Park. They beat Freshford in two thrilling games full of skill and lots of enthusiasm.
The Mayo senior hurling team go into this weekend staring elimination from the championship straight in the face. Last weekend they opened their account in the Christy Ring Cup with a defeat against Wicklow.
The O'Loughlin Gaels under 14 team retained their Kilkenny Feile na nGael championship title last weekend in Thomastown. O'Loughlin’s played four matches on the way to the final, beating John Lockes of Callan, Thomastown, Clara and Freshford en route. In the final they met city rivals James Stephens.
Anybody who has heard of last year’s quarter final clash between Parke and Islandeady or was unlucky enough to have been at it, may well think of staying clear of this Sunday’s county junior final between the same sides. That clash in Breaffy was as far from a classic as you could find, in fact the game looked to be heading towards a very unusual stalemate at half time with neither side looking like it was going to score until Peter Collins managed to put the ball over the bar two minutes into injury time to give Islandeady a 0-1 to 0-0 lead at the break. The second half of that clash was a little bit better, but once again one side failed to score in 30 minutes of football, this time it was Islandeady who could not hit the target, and Parke ran out 1-5 to 0-1 winners in the end. But that game, while an interesting footnote ahead of Sunday’s clash, should be put well to the back of the mind, as the game coming up between both sides has the potential to be a real top drawer clash. When the junior championship draw was made at the start of the year both clubs were identified as potential title and winners, and while they have been made work to get this far they are thoroughly deserving of their status as finalists.