Search Results for 'Stephen Drake'
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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.
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.
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.
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.
It was predicted that the sun would be high in the sky last Sunday and so it proved. It was a glorious autumnal day for county finals and a magnificent crowd turned up at McHale Park to see what would hopefully be two action-packed encounters. However, and not for the first time, the fare on offer did not live up to the billing. I was sitting back in glorious sunshine for the County junior final in good time. What struck me immediately on entering the stadium was the fantastic crowd that turned out for the games.
Ballaghaderreen 1-9 Ballintubber 0-4
“Ara shut up ya auld teapot” the young voice shouted down at the older man sitting next to me last Sunday. The older man and his wife were at McHale Park supporting Killala and had earlier remonstrated with the crowd of Neale supporters behind them. The Neale boys were beginning to realise that the game was slipping away from them and I can understand why they were getting a little frustrated. In such a scenario every refereeing decision can be criticised and this time was no different. Every time a Killala player went to ground the ref was derided and goaded by the boys, very often in not too flowery tones! The craic was good and, in a selfish way, I was kind of enjoying the exchange of words. For a start I had never heard anyone referred to as a “teapot” before! Despite The Neale throwing the kitchen sink at Killala in the final quarter Killala held out for the victory that had the man beside me delirious with excitement. He let a roar out of him at the final whistle that, mostly, was an expression of great satisfaction at seeing his team win, but, also a sign of the none-too-little pleasure he took in giving the figurative two-finger salute to the young cubs behind him! He was having the last laugh today. His wife was also beaming from ear to ear after the final whistle and it was a joy to witness both taking flight onto the McHale Park pitch to embrace neighbours’ children who had guaranteed a night or two of fun for all in the town of Killala. I am sure there was no place under heaven as good as Killala last Sunday night or indeed Monday as I hear the celebrations continued for a day or two!
After finally fulfilling the promise of the past number of years and sequestering the Moclair Cup in east Mayo for the winter, Ballaghaderreen look to take their next step on the road to greater success this weekend. On Sunday at 2.30pm they will enter Markievicz Park to take on Sligo Champions Eastern Harps in the Connacht SFC semi-final in what promises to be a intriguing encounter between the two border clubs.
The time to make amends for disappointments in the past is fast approaching for both Charlestown and Ballaghaderreen. This year’s TF Royal Theatre senior football championship final pits the losing finalists from the 2006 and 2007 final together in Sunday’s showdown for the Moclair Cup. Ballaghaderreen booked their place in the final two last Sunday thanks to a 3-7 to 0-10 win over Crossmolina, the side who denied them twice at the death in the 2006 final (the game went to a replay). After shaking the Deel Rovers monkey off their back with thanks to a three-goal salvo at the three-quarter mark, they have their eyes set on another border side.