Search Results for 'Robbie Hennelly'
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After the breakneck start to the year with five games in 31 days, the past fortnight would have come as a welcome respite for James Horan and his management team as they had two weeks to work with their panel without having to prepare for a game at the same time.
Firstly to admit an error broadcast by yours truly live on radio last Sunday during the Mayo v Tyrone game. With the entire furore over black cards, yellow cards and red cards, I was blissfully unaware that teams were now in fact allowed to make six substitutions.
If all 2,500 of Mayo’s season ticket holders make the trip to St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge, they will take over almost half the capacity of the Lillywhites home ground on Sunday. While it is not expected Mayo supporters in that number will make the trek east on Sunday a very healthy number of supporters will be on hand to see the latest update of James Horan’s Mayo make their proper competitive debut of the year, after the shadow boxing of the FBD League. Horan has given two players their Allainz Football League debuts with Aghamore’s Brendan Harrison getting the nod to start in the half-back line alongside Shane McHale and Lee Keegan. While Mayo Gaels’ Adam Gallagher will come into the team in the number 12 shirt in a half-forward line anchored by Keith Higgins and with Cathal Carolan on the other wing,
The only thing that will be remembered for a long time after Friday nights game in MacHale Park, will be a trivia question for years to come. Who was the first Mayo player to get a black card? That unfortunate footnote in history has gone to Moy Davitts' Sean Kelly whose Mayo debut came to a premature end ten minutes after it started, when he was shown to the line as the game crept over into injury time.
It'll be hard to find a county final that will have as close of neighbors going toe-toe in it, and have two brothers lining up in opposite colours (Tommy O'Reilly for Breaffy and Eoghan O'Reilly for Castlebar), but that's what this years Mayo senior football championship final has in store in a fortnight's time. Breaffy booked their very first appearance int he final with a historic win over Charlestown, while Castlebar Mitchels overcame Knockmore, despite being without the services of their man-of-the-match from last weeks quarter-final win over Ballina Stephenites ,Barry Moran and losing Aidan Walsh early in the game through injury. Mitchels beat Breaffy comprehensively in the group stages of the championship back in early summer, but Declan O'Reilly's have inflicted a defeat on Pat Holmes' side this year with a win in the opening league game of the season.
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.
Two weeks on from the pain of Croke Park, it's back to playing for the pride of the parish this weekend as the quarter-finals and relegation semi-finals of the Treanlaur Catering Senior Football Championships take place. MacHale Park in Castlebar will host two double headers of last eight action on Saturday and Sunday, with the entertainment getting under way with the meetings of Castlebar Mitchels and Ballina Stepehenites at 3.30pm and Charlestown and Garrymore at 5pm tomorrow. The first game is, on paper, probably the game of the weekend, with the two most successful sides in the history of the competition going toe-to-toe. Pat Holmes' Castlebar men go into the game as favourites after blitzing their way through the group stages, which included a comprehensive win over fellow last eight side Breaffy. Holmes' team have been knocking at the door of winning the Moclair Cup for the first time since the early 90s and this year could be their time. With Barry Moran, Tom Cunniffee (if he is fit after having gone off at half-time in the All Ireland final) and Richie Feeney back in situ, alongside the likes of Danny Kirby, Aidan Walsh, Neil Douglas, Alan Feeney, and Ciaran Naughton, Mitchels have the player power to over-run any team in the grade. Not that Ballina will be any pushovers. John Healy's side will have to do without inspirational goalkeeper David Clarke, who had not recovered enough to take any part in Mayo's All Ireland series campaign. Healy will be able to call on experienced players of the calibre of Ronan McGarrity, Pat Harte, Ger Cafferkey, and Eanna Casey; while Evan Regan could have a major impact up front if he gets going. This time last year Ballina were staring down the barrel of the relegation gun after a horrible season, but they have pulled themselves together this year and will not give up without a fight. But when all is said and done, Castlebar should just have too much for them.
A week seems a long time in sport, when I sat down to watch the All-Ireland hurling final replay on Saturday evening last I could not believe it was only six short days after Mayo’s agonising one point defeat to Dublin in the football final, it now seems like the game was on about three months ago. The evenings are getting shorter and for the players unfortunately reality bites. It is a horrible feeling, most of them would have taken the week off work to either celebrate or simply drown their sorrows, and to wake up last Monday morning and return to their daily lives is really the hard part for them especially as they left without the holy grail. It is very depressing. I have to commend the two O’Sheas and Robbie Hennelly who were very giving of their time to supporters after the Breaffy and Charlestown league match last Sunday, signing every autograph and taking part for every picture request.
To win just once would be enough seems to be the overwhelming feeling in Mayo this week. To say I’m sick to the pit of my stomach is somewhat of an understatement. I fully know what the players, management and their families are feeling, there is no word to describe it, it is the closest feeling to losing a loved one. In time it will heal but now the game is being dissected by everyone, even people who know nothing about football, that is the nature of the beast. I have no doubt the players are dwelling on decisions they made during the game, the management are wondering whether they made the right calls even Joe McQuillan will be feeling a little dire and maybe he should.