The clear-out of the old guard in the Mayo senior club championship was completed yesterday, with Ballaghaderreen’s comprehensive 3-7 to 0-10 semi-final win over Crossmolina. Ballagh had, of course, lost out to the Deel Rovers after a replay in their most recent final appearance (in 2006) but you have to go back as far as 1972 to find the last and, indeed, the only time that they lifted the Moclair Cup (and it probably didn’t even trade under that brand back then). Ballagh’s opponents in next weekend’s final – Charlestown – were the beaten finalists twelve months ago and while they won the senior county title as recently as 2001, the only other time they won it was 99 years before that so they’re not really due another one till 2100. However, their more recent pedigree and the presence in their side of county players Aidan Higgins and Tom Parsons could make Charlestown favourites for next Sunday, though not if Tom has gone off Down Under with his boxing gloves on by then.
Still on the club scene, it was good to see Aghamore land the county Intermediate title yesterday though, by the sounds of it, Kilmaine really put it up to them and only lost out by a single point, 3-5 to 1-10. It’ll be interesting to see how Aghamore fare out back at senior level after an absence of a number of years.
Back to the topic of change and all that, up here in the city we’re all still basking in the reflected glow emanating from De Vins’ clubhouse, following the ascension to The Biggest Job in Gaelic Football of Pat Gilroy last Friday. The new Dubs’ regime represents a bloodless coup by De Vins, overseen by De Capo di Tutti Capi of Dublin football himself. Once Heffo got tasked with the job of finding a successor to the hapless Pillar, it was always short odds that his hunt wouldn’t take him too far from Marino, not least because of the De Vins’ All-Ireland club success back in March. That win was masterminded by Mickey Whelan but he was never going to reprise his earlier unhappy tenure as bainisteoir at county level. This opened the way for Gilroy, whose ample belly was still filling the no.14 jersey (now, incidentally, occupied by Austie) for De Vins as recently as this year’s club final on Paddy’s Day, to front the new regime while Mickey takes on the role of backroom tactican, eminence grise and whatever you’re having yourself, missus.
Some of those doubting whadda fook? souls on gaaboard.com have rather unkindly compared the new appointment to the Stan and Robbo pantomime but us locals won’t entertain any of this kind of carping. Instead, we’re wondering why on earth a successful businessman (for he is one) with a houseful of small kids (which he has, one of them was in the same class as our eldest till the single sex education thing kicked in this year) would want to get his hands on this poisoned chalice. I know, I know, it is The Biggest Job in Gaelic Football but when the hype machine gets into overload and twats like Vincent Hogan are writing creepy articles like this about you, you’d have to wonder if it’s really worth it. And that’s before the Hill start to get on his case. Good luck, Pat, I think you might need it.