Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Heroes Turning the Tide!

Winning is a habit best satisfied through positive results. In four days time Mayo will take the field against a highly fancied Kerry team who are looking to regain the title that seems like the natural birthright of every man, woman and child from the Kingdom.

On experience, the result seems a foregone conclusion, Mayo to start strongly but tragically capitulate as they fail to take their scores. But to judge this current Mayo setup on the failures of the past is an injustice. There is a growing sense of confidence around this Mayo team, and pundits and ditch hurlers alike are beginning to make noises about an upset this Sunday.

It’s hard to but a finger on what has changed in Mayo, years of failure had conditioned the county’s players to almost patent the ability to freeze on the big day. Memories of missed free’s from 14 yards, bad passes and give away goals has dogged Mayo fans for more than a decade.

Mickey Moran and his mind-bending sidekick John Morrisson have certainly played a major role in transforming the current Mayo players into high achievers. Anyone who was lucky enough to be present at the semi-final will testify that there was a more steely resolve about the performance.

However, as good a combination as they are, they can’t take all the credit. The tide began to turn for Mayo the day they captured the Cadbury U21 Football Championship. The victory over Cork finally allowed Mayo fans and players cross that chasm between winners and losers, a chasm which had become Grand Canyon-esque for the men of Mayo.

Current senior players, Keith Higgins, Barry Moore, Michael Conroy, Aidan Kilcoyne and Trevor Howley all played an integral part in All Ireland win. While, Higgins and Conroy are the most likely to take the field next Sunday the impact of this success and the winning feeling these players will have brought to the senior setup is arguably just as important as the return of David Brady or McDonald.

Its all about that winning feeling, winning breeds attitude, where else do you think Kerry get their strut or Kilkenny that unspoken confidence.

As a county Mayo has been slowly but surely turning the tide. Success at Minor, U21 and also by the Ladies of the county has ensured that there is now a generation of players in the red and green who no longer freeze on the big day but rather focus on feeding that winning habit.

On Sunday next Cadburys U21 heroes will take the field hoping that they can be the Mayo men who finally turn the tide and take Sam away from the Kingdom, and who knows maybe found another!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Would you believe it - Dublin win an All Ireland!

St. Brigid’s of Dublin ensured that one All Ireland title would reside in the capital this year when they secured the title of All Ireland champions in the FBD All Ireland GAA Golf Challenge picking up the perpetual Waterford Crystal Dunhill Trophy. The victorious St. Brigid's team took on the best GAA golfers from Ulster, Connaught and Munster over two days at Faithlegg Hotel and Golf Club, Waterford on September 9th and 10th.

The All Ireland champions from Dublin sealed victory with a winning score of 169 and were led by former intercounty football stars Jason Ward playing off a handicap of 13 (Jason played his intercounty football with Leitrim), and former Dublin corner back Martin Cahill playing off a handicap of 9. The pair were ably assisted by Niall Coyne (14) and Martin Prior (19). They held their overnight lead of 3 points over Derrygonnelly Harps, Fermanagh. Dunhill GAA Club, of Waterford were lying in third place, 6 points behind on Saturday and gave a great performance on Sunday to finish as runners up on 154 points.

The Waterford quartet was led by club vice Chairman Donal Murphy (11), former intercounty footballer Derry Kiely (Scr.), former intercounty hurler Martin Murray (14) and juvenile mentor Brian Dunbar (14). Derrygonnelly Harps finished in third place on 148 followed by Athenry GAA, Galway on 145. The overseas champions Barcelona Gaels came in fifth.

Over 120 GAA clubs competed over the last three months at provincial finals to qualify for the honour of representing their province in an All Ireland Final. The winning team received the perpetual Waterford Crystal Dunhill Trophy, with Waterford Crystal medals being presented to each of the individual players, as well as a weekend for four people, plus partners, at the Faithlegg House Hotel & Golf Club.

The FBD All Ireland Golf Challenge was established by Dunhill GAA Club, Co. Waterford in 2000, allowing golfers the chance to represent their GAA Club in an All-Ireland for the first time ever. The FBD Golf Challenge was established with the aim of the young and the not so young playing on the one side. The unique feature of this competition is that there is no senior or junior status, no large or small section and no age restrictions. The smallest rural club can take on the largest urban club and compete on a level basis in an All-Ireland Final.