Archive for October, 2012

Ballymun Kickhams v Kilmacud Crokes, Parnell Park, 7.45, Referee Sean Gahan

AFTER Moy Davitts Celebrity Bainisteoir success on Friday night, tonight’s Dublin county final will see two more Mayo men go in search of silverware in Parnell Park.

Mayo football has been well represented in the Dublin county championship down through the years. Kevin O’Neill with Na Fianna, Andrew Gardiner with Ballyboden and more recently Brian Maloney and Pat Kelly with St. Vincent’s, have all experienced success with their adopted clubs.

Tonight Shane Forde and James Burke, representing the rising force in Dublin GAA that is Ballymun Kickhams, will attempt to emulate their success.

The former St. Pat’s students have been playing for Ballymun since their college days and were involved in two historic U-21 successes for the club that have laid the platform for their strong senior showing in recent years.

Burke, whose brother Cian represented Ardnaree in the Junior final replay on Saturday, has been involved with county minor and U-21 teams in the past and featured in the senior set up in 2011. He played a big part in Ballymun’s march to the county semi-final twelve months ago and has been a constant a wing back again this year.

Forde returned to Dublin this year after three seasons playing for his native Ballycastle. Since his return he has been a part of a prolific inside line that includes Dean Rock, son of former Dublin legend, Barney.

Forde briefly came under James Horan’s radar back in 2010 when he impressed during the trial matches organised at the beginning of Horan’s reign. No further call came but after a lack of stand out forward performances in last week’s county final, it will be worth noting how Forde performs in the final of a championship where the standard has been consistently high in the last number of years.

Kilmacud are 4/6 favourites heading into tonight’s clash, but from a Mayo perspective let’s hope for a Ballymun victory (sure they play in green and red) and maybe a few more viable options for James Horan in the new year.

Pic courtesy of aceshowbiz.com

SO the latest Bond film Skyfall was released yesterday and by all accounts it’s meant to be quite good; OK scrap that, it looks brilliant. And considering he was in charge of the whole carry on, a lot of this credit would have to go to director Sam Mendes.

Mendes hit the Hollywood big time back in 1999 when Kevin Spacey went all midlife crisis in his directorial debut American Beauty. Since then he has directed a number of box office hits, married and divorced one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and now he’s taking on one of cinema’s most famous franchises.

So when the missus starts drooling over Daniel Craig and his barely adequate physique, set her straight with some facts about the main man Mendes.

Early Life – Born in Reading in 1965 to child author Valerie and University Professor James Mendes.

Best of Times – American Beauty is one of the iconic films of the 90s and won 5 Oscars including one for Mendes for Best Director. Revolutionary Road was both a critical and box office success while Jarhead was another highlight in a sudden departure from the Americana setting of his first two films.

Worst of Times – None really. To date none of his movies have flopped or been slated by the critics and that record looks set to continue with Skyfall.

Relationships – Mendes married British actress Kate Winslet in 2003 who he cast in the lead of his film Revolutionary Road five years later. As the old saying goes never work with animals, children or wives (don’t quote me on that), and although the movie was a success, their marriage wasn’t and they split in 2010. They have one son together called Joe. Mendes is currently dating actress Rebecca Hall, who as you can see is not too shabby at all.

Pic courtesy of collider.com

 

The Sportsman – Sammy is also quite a talented cricketer having played for Cambridge University. In the most quintessentially British story of all time, it was cricket that got him his big directing break. The director of the Chichester Theatre heard of his prowess and invited him to join his company because he was tired of being hammered by the Royal Shakespeare Company in their annual match. Tally ho.

What He Says – “I like throwing snowballs at small children.” Not sure about this one but maybe that’s why he’s divorced.

What They Say – Daniel Craig in a recent interview with The Guardian said: “Sam is so bloody-minded about getting what he wants, and he understands how to get it. On the set of Road to Perdition I remember him coming up to Paul Newman and just saying quietly ‘Do it better,’ into his ear. Newman just shrugged and said ‘OK’.” Brave man.

Factoid – Ex – wife Kate Winslet was born in the same hospital as him, 10 years later. Spoooky.

SO one month and two days since that day in Croke Park, a line will be finally drawn under Championship 2012 with the naming of this year’s All-Stars. Since way back in 19-dickity-2 when Johnny Carey (what a name) wrote his name into Mayo GAA history by becoming Mayo’s first All – Star, people have questioned the rationale behind the selection process.

The critics out there point to the exclusion of some of the greats of the game who were never acknowledged as one of the reasons to question the merit of the All-Stars, and there have been cases in recent times of players being picked on criteria only known by the selection committee.

If the rumour mill is correct, Dillon, Cafferkey, Higgins and Keegan will be the Mayo players to pick up awards. If this proves to be correct and Kevin McLoughlin and to a lesser extent Barry Moran are not honoured, then those critics will have a fairly compelling argument.

Whatever happens shouldn’t detract from anything that rewards players (think Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard All – Star winners) who deserve every accolade they get and much more.

So let’s see what happens before we get too riled up and for the winners I say cars, women and drugs (not the bad Lance Armstrong ones) for everyone; no money though, must keep things amateur.

Here’s my selection;

 

Paul Durcan – David Clarke undoubtedly made the save of the summer  from Bernard Brogan, but it was Durcan consistency and pinpoint kickouts throughout the summer that set him apart and gave Donegal such a strong platform.

Keith Higgins – He always had the pace and the attacking instincts but this year the Ballyhaunis man added a physicality that has brought him to a new level. One of the main reasons Mayo managed to recover their composure in the final.

Ger Cafferkey  – You might say it’s strange to pick two of the full back line that was so brutally exposed in the opening moments of the final but Caff deserves to be there. Only when you see him live do you appreciate what a tight marker he is. Classy footballer, hopefully will be there for years.

Neil McGee – Great year for the Gweedore man who’s been om the scene since 2005. Huge physical presence, his direct opponents rarely troubled him all year.

Frank McGlynn – Could have just as easily stuck him in the full forward line. A player who sums up the McGuinness era and who without the Donegal style, would never have flourished the way he has. Great defender, he also scored a not so shabby 1-4 in the championship.

Karl Lacey – The man who held the ball at the final whistle of the final game. He’s been on the scene for a long time; centre back has allowed him to exert the influence on the game that his talent demands.

Lee Keegan – A tossup between Keegan and Boyle. Scored a crucial point in the Connacht Final and came back from a horrific semi-final injury to inspire in the final.

Neil Gallagher – When everyone was talking about Aidan Walsh and Alan O’Connor in the build up to the semi – final, Gallagher thought them both a lesson in mid-field play and he continued that form into the final. Gallagher led the renaissance in high fielding this summer.

Barry Moran – Three man of the match performances against Leitrim, Sligo and Down. Was exceptional against Dublin where a big catch near the end lifted the siege. Disappointing in the final but should have done enough in previous games.

Kevin McLoughlin – Mayo’s best player all year. His importance was highlighted even more with the loss of Andy Moran. Work rate, intelligent use of possession and a lethal finisher. One of the most natural footballers in the game.

Paul Flynn – In a flat and un-motivated side Flynn was the stand-out performer. Scored heavily this year, his point in the second half of the semi – final was a highlight.

Mark Mc Hugh – McHugh is the pin-up boy of McGuinness’s regime. His foraging back in front of his own full-back line was the catalyst for so many of Donegal’s attacks. His immense fitness also allowed him to contribute handsomely to attack.

Michael Murphy – All the talk last year was of Murphy sacrificing his star quality for the sake of the system. This year he was back nearer to goal and realised his star potential in the All – Ireland final.

Colm McFadden – The Championship’s top scorer with 4-32. McFadden was a constant threat all year and performed on the biggest days. Should deservedly win player of the year.

Colm O’Neill – Recovered from last year’s injuries to show again what a brilliant player he is. In a year where Cork promised so much, a probable return of just one All – Star sums up a disappointing year.

Player of the Year: Colm McFaddan

Young Player of the Year: Paddy McBrearty

 

And Finally…

While presumably the Donegal team have been single-handedly raising Diageo’s share price, the relentless world of the GAA keeps moving on. From all accounts, Donie Buckley seems like a real addition and will give the squad a boost after the initial disappointment of Cian O’Neill’s departure. It’s Kerry in the first round of the league and before you know it we’ll be below in Salthill with the wonderful hope of a long summer spread out in front of us.

Ballaghderreen 1-9 Ballintubber 0-4

 

BALLAGHDERREEN put pay to Ballintubber’s bid for a historic three in a row with a comprehensive eight point win over the reigning champions. In truth it should’ve been so much more, Ballaghderreen setting the tone for their display in a first half where they dominated Ballintubber physically.

Five first half frees from Barry Regan, two of them monstrous kicks from over 50 yards, were pivotal in the end with Ballintubber struggling to find a free taker to replace the absent Cillian O’ Connor. In fact Ballintubber failed to convert any of their place kicks throughout the game with Padraig O’Connor, his replacement Darragh Sommerville and finally a semi concussed Alan Dillon failing to convert relatively simple chances.

Of all the forwards on show it was the aforementioned Regan who was the only one to catch the public and presumably James Horan’s, in an otherwise underwhelming game. Regan, who has had a brief flings with the county panel before, was a real physical presence in the inside line, while his ability to lick long-range frees gives him something few other players in Mayo possess.

Keith Rogers was a driving force from centre back for Ballagh’ and placed Alan Dillon on the back foot from the start. Dillon did score a trademark beauty in the first half but never fully got to grips with the game and his day ended early through an unfortunate clash of heads.

Midfield was an area that Ballintubber would have expected to dominate with county boys Gibbons and Geraghty. Things didn’t work out as planned though, with David Kilcullen and goal scorer Barry Kelly dominating the jaded pair and reminding everyone they too were once considered county class.

Once an early second half flourish by Ballintubber petered out with the withdrawal of Dillon, the Ballaghderreen pressure was relentless. Wing back Drake missed horribly of the post when he broke through the cover but it didn’t prove the turning point that it could have been.

After two historic county titles in a row, Ballintubber had nothing more to give. Kelly’s goal and two final points from Rory Conway and David Kilcullen sealed Ballaghderreen’s deserved third county final, moving them to 7th in the overall standings level with Hollymount, Ballycastle and their East Mayo rivals Charlestown.

 

Man of the Match: Barry Regan – This game more than any showed the importance of a good free taker. Regan hit some huge points in the first half that gave Ballagh’ the platform for their win.

BALLAGHADERREEN: O Flanagan; S Drake; P Rogers; T Regan; P Kelly; K Rogers (0-1); D Drake; B Kelly (1-0); J Kilcullen; D Kilcullen (0-1, 45); A Hanley; S Finn; O Jordan; B Regan (0-5, five frees), J Dillon (0-1). Subs: C Doohan for T Regan (39 mins); R Conway (0-1) for J Dillon (25); B Solan for Finn (59).

BALLINTUBBER: B Walsh; L Tunney; Hallinan; P Earley; M Kelly; E Earley; R O’Connor; D Geraghty; J Gibbons (0-1); D Coleman; A Dillon (0-1); M Hoban; D McGing (0-1); D O’Connor; P O’Connor. Subs: J Duffy for M Hoban (28 mins); D Sommerville for P O’Connor (h-t); A Plunkett (0-1) for Dillon (50); K McGuinness for D O’Connor (55).

 

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KILTANE finally lost their fight to retain their senior status on Sunday afternoon with a 13 point defeat to Ballina in Knockmore. David Brady’s intervention clearly had the desired effect on the players for whom the fear of being first Stephenites team to be relegated from senior level in 114 years of club football should have been enough inspiration.

For Kiltane, it’s a sad end to a season that was looking so promising when they were unfortunate to lose out in the final of the Comortas Peile na Gaeltachta back in June. Cill Seadhna is as proud a club as there is and their achievement in remaining senior for so long against the odds, is a testament to the battling qualities of the Bangor men.

Yesterday’s result means that there will be no senior football played in Erris in 2013. It’s been a bad week all round for the barony with Cill Chomain returning to Junior after six years in the Intermediate ranks. Every club has been ravaged by emigration but it’s fair to say that clubs in the northern and western extremities of our county have been hurt the most. On the bright side, this could mean the revival of some tasty North Mayo derbies in the shape of Kiltane v Belmullet and Cill Chomain v Ballycastle, in Championship 2013. Oh and I suppose good news also for Shrule/Glencorrib; no more four hour round trips.