Search Results for 'Tom Cunniffee'
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Mayo’s championship season will get underway on Sunday, thousands of miles away from home when they take on New York in the preliminary round of Connacht Senior Football Championship in Gaelic Park at 7.30pm Irish time.
Finally getting over the 20-year-old itch and winning the Moclair Cup looks to have freed this Castlebar Mitchels team from the nagging doubts that many had about their ability to press on and mark themselves out as one of the truly great Mayo club sides. They have another opportunity to kick-on again this Sunday, when they go toe-to-toe with the current AIB All Ireland club champions, St Brigid's in Hyde Park. While bookmakers may have the Roscommon men as 4/7 favourites and Castlebar as 15/8 outsiders, those numbers will been have paid little heed around Páirc Josie Munnelly, as Pat Holmes along with his management team of Alan Nolan and Shane Conway put their players through their paces in preparation for Mitchels first provincial final since 1993. Last Sunday, the Mitchels wrapped up the Mayo double with a comprehensive 2-15 to 1-2 league win over the previous holders of the Moclair Cup, Ballaghaderreen. In 10 league and seven championship games they have gone into battle in this year, Mitchels have only been overturned once, on the opening day in the league, when the side they saw off in the county final (Breaffy) edged past them on a boggy and misty spring day.
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.
With a sell out crowd of 30,000 expected to head to Hyde Park on Sunday, there will be nowhere to hide for Mayo as they aim to dethrone Fergal O’Donnell’s defending Connacht champions on their home patch. Ten years ago O’Donnell was the man who lifted the Nestor Cup in the same venue on a sweltering Sunday evening when a late, late Gerry Lohan goal had primrose and blue ribbons hanging from the old trophy for the year at the end of one of the games of the ages.