Search Results for 'Stephen Sweeney'
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A two goal first half salvo from Aidan O’Shea inspired Breaffy to their first win in the Mayo GAA Senior Football League this season as they saw off local rivals Castlebar Mitchels in Munnelly Park in Castlebar on Sunday. Both sides lined out with out key players for this contest with Seamus O’Shea serving a one match suspension for Breaffy after being dismissed early in their loss to Ballintubber a fortnight ago, while for Castlebar Mitchels neither Tom Cunniffe or Patrick Durcan were available for selection.
It is the stuff of childhood dreams, a small rural parish getting ready to descend on the great cathedral of sport in the nation. When Kiltane run out on to the field on Jones Road on Sunday, there will not be many left back home to keep check on the house, and those who are left behind will have their ears glued to the radio, using their mind to picture the proceedings going on in Croke Park.
A couple of minutes into the second half of their Connacht semi-final against Rosses Point/Drumcliffee it looked as if Kiltane had their place in this year’s provincial final wrapped up and tucked in the luggage compartment of the team bus and on the road home to Erris. But Martin Barrett’s men were made to sweat right until the final whistle in MacHale Park a few weeks ago, as a combination of taking their eye off the game and the Sligo champions refusing to go away saw Kiltane just hang on by the skin of their teeth to set up this Sunday’s meeting with the Roscommon champions Boyle in the county grounds in Castlebar.
Winning the Mayo intermediate title this year was number one on Kiltane’s list of objectives at the start of the year, they achieved that a number of weeks ago and a summer season of senior championship football now beckons for the north Mayo men. But winning the Mayo title was not the be all and end all of this team’s ambitions and they have taken to the Connacht championships with gusto, and on Sunday they will return to MacHale Park looking for a place in the Connacht final and put themselves in with a chance of doing what both Davitts and Charlestown have done in the two previous years, top off a great season with provincial honours. Then come the spring time a crack at an All Ireland series could await them and set them up for 2014 in style.
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.
Could Castlebar Mitchels stop Ballintubber's drive for three senior titles in a row? That was the big question that was being asked in the lead up to last weekends quarter finals in the Treanlaur Catering Senior Football Championship. After 60 minutes of battle on Sunday evening, for the third year in row, Ballintubber emerged victorious from the heat of championship battle with their near neighbors.
The four sides left in the Treanlaur Catering Senior Football Championship have lifted the Moclair Cup a grand total of 72 times. Ballina Stephenites (36) and Castlebar Mitchels (27) have more than the lion’s share between. But that does not mean that those two sides will make it through their semi-finals over the weekend to set up a traditional classic pairing in the final. In fact the favourites to the make the final in a lot of people’s eyes will probably be the younger pretenders Knockmore and Ballintubber with their eight and one title respectively. While Castlebar won their first title in 1888 and Ballina in 1889, Knockmore did not climb the mountain for the first time until 1973 and Ballintubber did for their only time so far last season.
The bookmakers have it that it will be a clash of north against south for the Moclair cup come next month, and while that may be where the money is going, it would be a foolish man who is counting out the chances of the men from the west ahead of Sunday.