Four-star Kirby leads rout of GMIT

I only ever get to see FBD matches in the flesh the odd time, saving those 320-mile round-trips for when the league resumes in February. I happened to be back in the county last weekend which enabled me to take in the match in Ballyhaunis but today’s encounter with GMIT at Ballinrobe was never on my radar. What a pity: I suspect that years from now those who were in Flanagan Park today will still be talking wistfully about that day in January when they saw young Danny Kirby from Castlebar rattle the net four times on only his second senior outing with the county.

I may not have been there today but PJ (that’s the brother – not The Brother, he’s a different one – and not the other PJ, the one that’s been so active in the comments section of late) was and so what I have to report here is largely courtesy of what he saw with his own eyes. He also grabbed the above photo of Danny, coming off the pitch after what, by any measure, has to rank as a satisfactory day’s work.

The Castlebar youngster would obviously have been the talk of the town at the break after that four-goal fusillade in the first half but, when you look back at how and when the scores came in that half, the gas thing is that he didn’t get going until the 20th minute, by which time we’d already put six points on the board, with four separate players on the scoresheet by then. Once Danny got going, though, he really got going.

Conor Mortimer (and his socks – I wonder what kind of ones he was wearing today?) grabbed most of the attention last weekend and, restored to the starting fifteen for the first time in over 18 months, he was quick off the mark with the game’s two opening points, the first from a free. He then had a hand in Evan Regan’s debut day point and then added another from a free to send us four clear with only five minutes played. Another senior debutant, Breaffy’s Conor O’Shea, got his name on the board with a point from play soon after and a full ten minutes had passed before GMIT managed to raise their first white flag of the day, by way of a pointed free.

Patrick Sweeney and Johnny Ryan added two more to GMIT’s total before Peadar Gardiner – a man with a real January pep in his step, if last Sunday was anything to go by – nabbed our sixth, his shot going over off the upright.

Then the Kirby show began. His first goal came on twenty minutes, his second a minute later when he was played in – via a quickly-taken free – by Evan Regan and by the time 28 minutes were on the clock, he had gone all Willie McGee on us, averaging a goal every two minutes in that devastating eight-minute spell. Oh I say, as the man from the Beeb used to proclaim.

That was it for the first half – as we took a 4-6 to 0-4 lead into the dressing room with us – and, by the sounds of it, that was pretty much it for the day as well. GMIT actually won the second half – starting it fourteen in arrears and heading home only twelve behind – but a flat second period from our lads was only to be expected after that sackful of goals in the first.

We added five further points in the second half – with Danny Kirby appropriately enough getting the first of them, Darren Coen the second and Conor Mortimer bagging the final three, two of them from frees. The main Mayo man to impress in that second half, though, was Danny Kirby’s Castlebar clubmate Aidan Walsh, with the former county minor star getting on the scoresheet more than once for GMIT.

James Horan also used the second period to give a few more of the lads a run-out. Pat Harte gave way to Jason Gibbons at half-time and Alan Feeney came on for Eoghan Reilly at corner-back early in the second half. Enda Varley (who’d started last week) replaced the unfortunate debutant Evan Regan, who got a nasty mouth injury, which PJ reckoned resulted in his having a front tooth knocked out. Then, in a nice touch, Conor O’Shea gave way to big brother Seamus midway through the second half.

Needless to say, PJ was well impressed with the goal monster today but he also enthused about Darren Coen, who added to his solid debut last weekend with another fine performance this afternoon. He also had good things to say about Eoghan Reilly and Ger Cafferkey at the back, Barry Moran and Pat Harte at midfield, as well as Conor O’Shea and the hardworking Kevin McLoughlin in the forwards. As regards Harte it was, according to PJ, only after the Ballinaman’s departure at half-time that the wind went out of our sails somewhat, though I suspect that the fact that the points were as good as in the bag for us by then may have had something to do with it as well.

Next up for us in the FBD are the Rossies in Ballinlough this coming Sunday and with Des Newton’s lads having lost today to Leitrim, their hopes of making the FBD final have already evaporated. We just need a draw in Ballinlough to make it to our third final on the trot (where, most likely, it’ll be a rematch against last year’s beaten finalists NUIG) but with the momentum we’ve now got from the two wins from two starts, I doubt very much if the lads will be heading across the border on the N60 next Sunday with any plans made to secure a hard-fought stalemate.

MAYO: David Clarke; Eoghan Reilly, Ger Cafferkey, Michael Walsh; Peadar Gardiner (0-1), Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan; Barry Moran, Pat Harte; Conor O’Shea (0-1), Darren Coen (0-1), Kevin McLoughlin; Evan Regan (0-1), Danny Kirby (4-1), Conor Mortimer (0-6, four frees). Subs: Jason Gibbons for Harte, Alan Feeney for Reilly, Enda Varley for Regan, Seamus O’Shea for Conor O’Shea.

19 thoughts on “Four-star Kirby leads rout of GMIT

  1. My name is John and I am an addict. I have been addicted to Mayo and its footballers for a long long time. I have witnessed great gladiators and a few lambs dressed as goats in our wonderful colours over almost fifty years of watching with almost another ten thrown in for growing up. My family reckon I actually never grew up. Anyway I am the age that Sam is absent from Mayo.

    My friend from over Tarmon Hill is battling around midfield on WJs site here. PJ has taken a few whacks in the ribs whilst he was deserted by ontheroad as the fists flew. PJ and WJ, two great Mayo men squared up to each other over the great one thing they have in common and that’s the genuine love for their county. That should never have to happen.

    So I have decided to take off the bandage, throw away the limp and re-enter the pitch and support both men again. I would like to think that I was off as a blood injury. Now that I took a drink from the little bottle with the smokey white stuff I am fit for the second half.

    I worked in a job where I was called “Mr”. Some like the title , I hated it. We are all equal but I always felt that when we resorted to the “Mr” stuff progress was not being made. So I stand four square with PJ and WJ and all that love Mayo. We might differ on the finer points of debate but the love those men posses, the grit they show should never be underestimated.

    I feel kinda foolish running back on the pitch after slinking away so recently but I could not bear to see PJ get the digs,indeed nor could I bear to see WJ get a few on the shin either, so like Freddy from Halloween or Elm Street or downtown Blacksod , I am back.

    Ontheroad was never Batman, Paddy Bluette, Robin, SeaSick Steve or Sparklehorse. I was that man, my name is John Cuffe and I am glad to be back. A few nice frees to ease me in and no hospital passes please. Well done Danny Kirby….my that felt good to say.

  2. Welcome back John! You’re picked a good day for it too, Four-Goal Kirby day. Isn’t it great to be thinking about on-field stuff again?

  3. Well done Danny Kirby…you are now a legend in the annals of Mayo sport. Don’t rest on your laurels…you’ve only just begun.

    As for the squad, one small step in the process, one giant leap toward a return to New York. 🙂

  4. A great day for all the genuine addicts of Mayo football – – – we got a “double-fix” today – – – 4 goals from Kirby and Cuffe is back on the road. We will sleep soundly in our beds tonight – – the family is at peace again!

  5. Does anyone know why he’s not playing with DCU? I see on their website that he’s listed on their intermediate squad. Are we that far behind?

  6. Haven`t we fairly strengthened up down the spine of the team in the last 12 months!
    We have choices to for all these positions too Cafferkey Reilly Feeney could play FB
    Vaughen Higgins or Boyle for CHB
    O`Shea O`Shea Moran Hart McGarriety MF
    Coen Dillon Freeman CHF
    Kirby FF he looks like the one we`ve been waiting for.
    These are all big strong lads that won`t be pushed around.
    Then we`ve Andy Moran Cillian O`Connor and Jason Doherty to come back!
    I was near Cian O`Neill as he worked the side line.He seems like the real deal with what he was trying to get the lads to do.And the lads look to be in great condition physically.
    We`re still only in January but we`re in good shape all around.
    Onwards and upwards!

  7. Well done Danny Kirby. You have joined the ranks of an elite few and in doing so have added a new dimension to the debate on the composition of Mayo’s 2012 full forward line. We are beginning to see a crop of exceptional young footballers emerge in Mayo at present.
    The Novenas and the climbing of the Reek might finally be passing off.

    Keep the Faith!

  8. I was at the game today and well done to Danny Kirby. It took his chances very well but the GMIT defending was poor. Some good performances from Barry Moran, Lee keegan and Ger Cafferkey in particular. Kevin Mcloughlin, evan Regan, peadar Gardiner and Conor o Shea worked hard. Keegan is very physical and looked very good. On the Half back line is his spot.

    What really struck me today was the input of Cian O Neill. He is always encouraging and seems get through to the players. Before the game I watched the warm up and everyone was responding immediately to his calls. During the game he was on both sides of the pitch giving directions and most of all encouraging. The players are responding to him and are improving and learning as a result, especially the younger players. Between o’neill, james horan and James nallen the Mayo players have finally got men in charge that obviously know whats required to progress and succeed.

    Finally, Conor Mortimer I thought was decent today. Six points, two from play ain’t bad at all. He could have had more but games will improve his fitness and sharpness after the serious injury he had. He will be an important player for us in the summer whether starting or coming off the bench.

    It’s onwards and upwards. Up Mayo!

  9. Looks like plenty of hands up looking for jerseys in the forwards. Does this o Neil guy set up the gameplan as well as the physical training?

  10. That announcement in Ballinrobe on yesterday about the the new fund raising venture in the county is to be welcomed. All monies raised on behalf of Mayo G A A to go to the Co. Board. At least it was clarification. Upwards and Onwards once again.

  11. I don’t think that JH is, or should be happy that we lost the second half. We should be looking at a baseline of effort that is consistent throughout the game. In the past we have seen too many Mayo teams showboating and letting teams get back into games they had no right to.

    This is a lazy mindset and we should be closing games out ruthlessly when we have teams on the ropes. We didn’t show the killer instinct that marks out the winners from the also-rans yesterday. I know that people will say that it is early in the year and that is true, but bad habits can be hard to eradicate.

  12. well done mayo, great to see tha competition ther wil be for places on tha panel for league n championship.a nice head. for horan n co…up mayo.

  13. John Cuffe… I honestly knew it was you all the time…ontheroad that is. Sure any time you had a ‘guest slot’ appearance on here, I’d either read it in the WP the week before or after, I can’t for the life of me remember which!!

  14. F’deelin thanks. WJ got first shot at my rantings though. Anyway its a bit of crack and a passion. Onward and upwards mar a duit an fear.

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