There were two matches involving Mayo teams on today but I’m afraid I’ve got nothing but some refried second-hand information on them both. I’m not a regular FBD attender and even PJ gave this one a miss so today it was Twitter all the way for me to keep up with the action. On that score (pardon the pun), it’s obvious that us #mayogaa folk are extremely active in posting updates (there’s even a match report from Ballinlough on Twitter, which I’ll come back to anon). Hard core is hard core, I guess, no matter what the medium.
Ballinlough first where the lads had a dead-rubber FBD encounter with Roscommon to get through, with their place in next weekend’s FBD final against NUIG already assured before the ball was thrown in this afternoon. Today’s starting team showed 8 changes from the one that took the field at Ballinrobe last weekend, with Shane McHale coming in at full-back, an entirely new half-back line of Richie Feeney, Donal Vaughan, Chris Barrett and a new midfield pairing of Seamus O’Shea and Jason Gibbons while in the forwards Alan Dillon and Alan Freeman made their first appearances of the year with Barry Moran – who already has a few solid midfield shifts under his belt in 2012 – switching to the edge of the square.
In the first half last weekend we (or, to be more precise, Danny Kirby) blasted four goals past GMIT but today we obviously didn’t show anything like the same kind of ruthlessness over the course of the opening thirty minutes. That said, we were clearly well on top, going in 0-7 to 0-2 in front. Conor Mortimer led the way in the scoring stakes, grabbing four points (two from frees) with the others coming from Pat Harte and Alan Freeman (both from play) and a ’45 from David Clarke.
Swinford’s Conor Campbell replaced David Clarke between the sticks at half-time and James Horan fairly emptied the bench over the second half, with Michael Walsh and Alan Feeney coming on for Keith Higgins and Donal Vaughan, while Andy Moran and Cillian O’Connor replaced Kevin McLoughlin and Conor Mortimer.
Maybe all the chopping and changing affected our fluency but, whatever it was, we clearly let the home side back into it in the second half. Key to the Rossies’ recovery was their notching of the only goal of the game – scored by Kevin Higgins – with points from John Rogers and Donie Shine (a ’45) hauling the home side level as time was running out.
The last time we’d met the Sheepstealers – in last year’s Connacht final – we managed to eke out a narrow win and late points from Barry Moran and Alan Dillon enabled us to do the same today. Hardly champagne stuff but you’re never going to see too much bubbly being uncorked in the FBD.
Our second half scorers today, by the way, were Conor with a further two points while Seamus O’Shea, Andy Moran (who scored with his first touch after coming on – welcome back, Andy), Alan Freeman, Barry Moran and Alan Dillon all got a point each.
I can’t, I’m afraid, shed any light on who did well and who did not so well today but @maigheoforsam was there and it’s worth checking out his take on today’s action. In doing so, you’ll also come across what I reckon is one of the first ever Gaelic football match reports filed via Twitter. See what I mean? Hard core is hard core.
Match report by Hogan Stand is here.
Team and score details for us today: MAYO David Clarke (0-1, a ’45); Keith Higgins, Shane McHale, Lee Keegan; Richie Feeney, Donal Vaughan, Chris Barrett; Seamus O’Shea (0-1), Jason Gibbons; Kevin McLoughlin, Alan Dillon (0-1), Pat Harte (0-1); Alan Freeman (0-2), Barry Moran (0-1), Conor Mortimer (0-6). Subs: Conor Campbell for Clarke, Michael Walsh for Higgins, Alan Feeney for Vaughan, Andy Moran (0-1) for McLoughlin, Cillian O’Connor for Mortimer.
Onto O’Connor Park, Tullamore, where Davitts stormed to a smashing 2-12 to 0-6 win over Wicklow’s Éire Óg in the All-Ireland Intermediate club semi-final. The Irishtown/Ballindine lads grabbed this one by the throat right from the throw-in and within 10 minutes they were 0-5 to 0-1 in front, with Michael Conroy bagging four of these.
By half-time the gap had widened to 1-8 to 0-2, with the goal coming from Fergal McGrath after 20 minutes. The Greystones lads got the opening two points of the second half but then a goal and a point inside a minute – with the major coming from David McDonagh – put Davitts out of sight and Éire Óg’s miserable day was capped when Stephen Kelly was ordered off after a tussle with Aidan McTigue.
In the end, Davitts’ winning margin was a whopping 12 points and while they had many heroes in Tullamore today, Michael Conroy’s nine points will surely be talked about and celebrated at length in South Mayo tonight. (Photo showing the scene at full-time in O’Connor Park courtesy of @p_cunnane).
Colm Gannon’s match report for the Mayo Advertiser is here and his post-match audio piece with Davitts’ manager Pete Warren is here. Liam Horan also has an audio report on the game (here) and another match report, this one from Wicklow GAA, is here.
Davitts now head for Croke Park where they’ll face Kerry’s Milltown/Castlemaine, who edged out Craigbane of Derry by a single point in today’s other semi-final. Mayo v Kerry in an All-Ireland final? It’s a daunting prospect, for sure, but this long run of defeats that we’ve been subjected to by Kerry sides (both at county and club level) down the years has to end somewhere and Davitts’ big win today will give them every confidence that they can be the ones to buck this particular trend when they square up to the Kerry lads at Croke Park on February 12th.
My thanks to @MayoGAA, @gaaroscommon, @maigheoforsam, @ColmGannon, @p_cunnane, @EireOgNCL and @HoranLiam for all the Twitter updates today, without which none of the scribblings above would have been possible.