Coilltes heading for Croker

KiltimaghTaking their lead from the blind poet who hailed from a few miles outside the town on the road to Bohola, the good people of Kiltimagh are – with St Brigid’s Day now safely behind them and the evenings beginning to stretch nicely –  stirring themselves and preparing to hit the road this coming weekend.  As their website rightly proclaims, next Sunday is set to be the biggest day in the history of Kiltimagh’s GAA club because it’s then that they’ll take the field at Croke Park to contest the All-Ireland Junior Club Final (throw-in 2pm).

I was in the town last weekend and with the whole place already starting to get decked out in blue and white and plenty of talk going on about the upcoming final, one could see clearly this is a town that’ll be well ready for action at HQ on Valentine’s Day.  Facing a Kerry team in an All-Ireland final is always a daunting prospect (especially for a club from Mayo) but the Coillte lads are in the decider on merit and they should have no fears about squaring off against Castlegregory this coming Sunday.  It’s not as if they don’t have lads who know their way around Croker either, as Peter Burke (who, incredibly, is still only 33 years of age – well, that’s what it says here) was in goal for the county in the All-Ireland senior finals of 1997 and 2004 while, more recently, Ciaran Charlton played there in the 2008 and 2009 minor deciders.

Coillte Mach logoThe All-Ireland junior club championships only began officially as recently as 2004, although there were variants of it on the go before then with Kilmeena (in 2003) and Belmullet (2002) reaching the final.  As a result, Kiltimagh will have at least one claim to fame after Sunday, in that they’ll be the first ever club from the county to contest a bona fide All-Ireland final at this level.  While we can be reasonably sure that the hordes who pour out of the town heading east at the weekend won’t suffer poor old Raifteirí’s fate, it’s not, I think, wishing for too much to hope that when they return, they’ll do so as All-Ireland champions.  All the very best for Sunday, lads.

4 thoughts on “Coilltes heading for Croker

  1. Good luck to them. It seems to be a town that specialises in goalkeepers. Eugene Rooney a Minor and U21 All-Ireland plus National league winner wore the jersey. Before Peter Burke we had Eugene Lavin and today we have the young Schlingermann. So they produce a county keeper that covered part of all decades since the 1960s.Indeed Rooney played in two league finals 1970/71, Lavin one in 1978 and Burke in 2001. David Clarke in 2007 and JJ Costelloe in 1972 were the other non Coillte keepers. I always felt that Peter Burke should have stayed much longer. No reason why they should not win , all the better to beat a kerry side.

  2. Thanks for the plug WJ. It’s always great when your local team does well. I remember as a young fella the absolute joy of winning an East Mayo final. We may have been playing the likes of Moy Davitts or arch rivals Swinford ; ) To reach an All Ireland club final however is monumental. And needless to say the town is awash with excitement and cheer.

    Knowing nothing about Castlegregory I asked my work colleague (he’s from Cork) what the Kerry team was like. “Handy” was the one work reply I got. I suppose any team coming out of Kerry would be handy. They also have a team (Spa Killarney) contesting the Intermediate final that day so they should have a lot of support. Anyway kick off is 2pm Valentines day.

  3. It’d be great for the town if you go on and win it and hopefully you will. To make a few Kerrymen shed tears in Croke Park would make it all the sweeter.

    I’d say the excitement is building there now: I saw Big Tom Byrne driving out of Castlebar after the match the last day and he must have had twenty blue and white flags on the roof of his motor!

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