Wonderful Westport claim club title

What’s rare, they say, is beautiful. Teams from Mayo – even ones going into a final, as Westport did today, as odds-on favourites to prevail – haven’t exactly spoiled us with happy endings at Croke Park. In those nerve-shredding final moments of today’s All-Ireland IFC club decider it began to look as if we’d have another one to add to the list. But the lads from way out west held out, prevailing over Meath’s St Colmcille’s by a single point, 2-12 to 3-8, to land the All-Ireland title.

The match was just underway when I got to Croke Park this afternoon, a ten-minute queue at the single ticket van that was in operation on Jones’ Road delaying myself and the young lad from getting into the Hogan Stand. With everyone packed into the lower tier on that side, the atmosphere was great inside HQ, where most of the 9,000 punters seemed to be rooting for Westport.

The Meath club opened the day’s scoring, via their danger man Graham Reilly, but it was the Mayo lads who soon got on top in this contest. A flurry of confidently taken points into the Hill 16 end put them well in control as the first half wore on.

This was despite losing full-back Kevin Keane to what looked like a nasty leg injury after only ten minutes. Kevin had started the game in authoritative mood and his loss could have been a real hammer blow. Instead sub David Horan slotted into the back line as further upfield the young Covies began to turn the screw on their Meath opponents.

Eight points on the spin saw Westport take a firm hold on the game. Colmcille’s hardly broke out of their own half of the field as they endured this onslaught but break they eventually did and to effect. Graham Reilly hit the accelerator as he tore through the heart of the Westport defence before offloading to James Conlon who smashed the ball to the net.

Westport’s reply was immediate and impressive. Oisin McLoughlin won a ball he had no claim on out the wing before advancing forward, cutting inside and unleashing a shot that cannoned off the post and into the net.

Westport led by six at the break but several wides early in the second half meant that they missed the chance to put the game to bed. Some of these were frees that definitely fell into the scoreable category – what they wouldn’t have done to have had cruciate victim Lewis Cawley lining up those.

The net result was that although they were on top pretty much all over the field – with Lee Keegan ever vigilant at the back, Shane Scott powerful and dominant in the middle, while Fionn McDonagh, Colm Moran and Oisin McLoughlin were always good outlets in the forwards – Westport had still left the door ajar for Colmcille’s.

A goal completely against the run of play for the Meath side got them back into it but, once more, the Mayo lads responded brilliantly to the setback, racking up a further 1-2 without reply. The goal, a Leaving Cert student special involving Colm Moran as creator and Oisin McLoughlin as finisher, restored Westport’s six-point advantage with ten minutes to go and it finally looked to have decided matters.

But the goal was Westport’s final score of the day. The remaining ten minutes, not to mention the six minutes of injury time that followed, belonged to Colmcille’s who threw the kitchen sink at it and almost snatched victory at the death.

I didn’t get a good view of the penalty incident, nor do I know if the black card given to Westport goalkeeper Patrick O’Malley was merited. What was clear, though, was that the ref took an inordinate amount of time to deal with the issue – the ‘keeper had taken the goal-kick after the incident, which appeared to be over at that stage, before the ref ran back into the square to signal the penalty and order O’Malley from the field.

Sub Jack Reynolds dispatched the penalty to the net and two points knocked over into the Hill end after that cut Westport’s lead right back to the minimum. Colmcille’s even had a pot at an equaliser but the Mayo lads somehow held out to win by a single point.

It felt great to be there at HQ after the final whistle, The Green and Red of Mayo belting out over the PR system and the large Westport support celebrating what their heroes out on the pitch had achieved. It sure felt nice too not to have to trudge wearily out of Croke Park at the end of an All-Ireland final but instead to linger and soak up that winning atmosphere to the full.

And it was great to see Lee Keegan – at 27, the daddy of this most callow team of champions – finally achieve All-Ireland success. Great too to witness Kevin Keane, as luckless as he is lion-hearted, play his part in getting his club over the line today. Congrats to both of these great Mayo warriors.

While this was a Westport win from start to finish – and fair play to them for going all the way, with such style and determination – it’s hard not to tempt fate and see in the victory some wider significance for the county.

Sure, our final record is worse than appalling and, yes, we’ve had decider day heartbreak up to our eyeballs at this stage. But today showed that this script can be rewritten, that Mayo teams – if they play in the confident way that Westport did for long spells today – can come to Croke Park and win All-Ireland finals. And, no question, we could all get used to the joy of winning. Well done, Westport, for doing the business in such memorable fashion today.

Westport: Patrick O’Malley (0-1, ’45); Niall McManamon, Kevin Keane, Keelan Dever; Brian O’Malley, Brian McDermott, James Walsh; Lee Keegan, Shane Scott (0-3); Fionn McDonagh (0-3, two frees), Phil Keegan (0-1), Liam Staunton; Colm Moran (0-4), Paul Lambert, Oisin McLoughlin (2-0). Subs: David Horan for Keane, Ronan Geraghty for Staunton, Arron Dunne for Patrick O’Malley (black card). 

Post-match scenes:

Audio report from Croke Park:

70 thoughts on “Wonderful Westport claim club title

  1. Well done to Westport. Great win and some very talented forwards, even better when you figure how young they are. Moran and McLoughlin in particular stood out. Mighty to hear the Green and Red belting out in Croker after a final.

  2. Long overdue visit up the steps of the Hogan Stand for Lee Keegan. Hope Kevin Keane makes a fast recovery. He was playing great stuff in that first 10 minutes. Well deserved medals lads

  3. Brilliant result. A very talented and young team. Interesting to see how they develop over next few years. Can only be good for Mayo GAA. Scott my Man of match today. Watched on local streaming service today in South Africa. Excellent quality and a brilliant service

  4. Well done Westport.made hard work of it in the end but they got that bit of luck on an All Ireland Final day!
    5 leaving very students starting is something else.thought Colm Moran and Oisin McLoughlin were outstanding and Shane Scott kicked 3 massive points.
    Well done to the sub goalkeeper who came on near the end his kickouts were top notch!
    Biggest challenge for Westport now is to keep this team together if they can do that this team can go far!
    Anyways congrats enjoy the celebrations and I’m sure there won’t be a cow milked for a day or two !

  5. It was mighty to get the win. Well done and fair play to all involved with Westport GAA. Enjoy the celebrations!

  6. Delighted for Wport. Why do Mayo teams find it so hard to win AI finals? Wport shud have won more comfortably……but anyhow, they’re now Mayo’s first intermediate AI champions.

    Nice to hear the G&R of Mayo being belted out……….wouldn’t it sound even nicer on the third Sunday in September?

  7. Great Match well done Westport. Watched it on Aib streaming which was excellent. We have some great young lads coming along for the Senior team

  8. Well done westport .great achievement and great to be there cheering ye on. Ah vintage stuff at times but heart stopping ending.

  9. Super stuff Westport.

    I think the penalty decision was an absolute farce and had it not been given Westport would have won by 4 or 5 points pulling up. Mayo teams don’t get much off ref’s in croke park in finals that’s for sure. If the meath side had come back to win it would have been very controversial to say the least. My thoughts turn to the Sheridan/Louth saga!

    Some good performances by the Westport forwards, seemed to get a bit headless as the game wore on and the team looked to run out of steam in the final 7-8 mins but fair play to them. They absolutely deserved the victory and I’m delighted for them and our county.

    The best team won and they’ve done the county proud in Croke Park. Great work being done in Westport GAA and hopefully it spurs on other clubs in Mayo.

    Onwards and upwards.

    Finally, hope Kevin Keane recovers soon.

  10. Interview with Keegan brothers class “kids with big balls ” classic comment from Lee

  11. Great win!

    Serious first half they played some delightful football 🙂

    The future is bright for Westport, Castlebar and Breaffy will looking over their shoulders now!

    can only be good for Mayo seniors never mind the minors 🙂

  12. Great result. A nice boost for Mayo Gaa early in the year and a massive lift for Westport.
    Could only follow the score updates. Looking forward to sitting down now to watch this.

  13. Well done and congrats to Westport I’m delighted for them best wishes to Kevin Keane for a speedy recovery

  14. Delighted for Lee Keegan who was robbed of his legacy by awful bad luck and poor ref last Sept/Oct. Some consolation for him anyway.

    Did we once again see an attempt for a pint come back off a post and end up in the back of the Mayo teams net in a final in Croke Park? This has happened several times to us over the years. Today for once, it didn’t matter a hoot.

  15. Well done Westport! Deserving winners and by far the better team. I thought the penalty was a fair call. The goalie should have collected the ball instead of opting to block the forward. Thankfully this did not cost them the game – the lad would never have forgiven himself.
    Very sorry for Kevin Keane. He was a big loss. It looks like a fairly nasty injury. And well done on the streaming. I could not travel today and it was great to see it.

  16. Well done Westport on becoming All Ireland champions!! Deserving winners and were much the better team than the final scoreline indicated. Some brilliant football in the first half was almost undone in the second with some very panicy forward play and some unbelievable wides. So many lads stood up there today. Among those mentioned already who stood out, I thought Fionn McDonagh showed some serious bottle around the middle catching some brilliant ball over his markers on kickout after a couple of meath scores. Brilliant day for all those Westport lads – one they’ll never forget. I’d say Mike Solan will be a happy man too seeing they way all of those teenagers performed.

  17. Great win for Westport today, put an end to that terrible record of Junior and Intermediate All Ireland club final losses. I wasnt at Croker today but was there for the finals of my former neighbouring clubs Davitts and Hollymount / Carramore.
    I was worried when those misses mere mounting up in the second half, we have all seen this before, when Mayo would let a big lead slip and be beaten late on.
    I hope the referees are not overly hard on Lee Keegan this year, it seems that everytime he makes a tackle and disposses the opposition a card is flashed at him, everything becomes tense and a fear always seems to creep in that he will get the black card.
    We all saw today that youth is the way forward for Mayo football, the pace / direct running and confidence of the Westport forwards was amazing to watch in the 1st half.

  18. Well done Westport!

    Given all the wides in the second half and the shambles of the penalty decision ( once again the ref tried to @*%k over a Mayo team in Croke Park), Erstport were by far the better team. Comcillesvcouldnt live with the young lads upfront. Great display. That’ll be a serious senior club side in a few years if those lads can be kept together. Loved hearing the Grenn and Red of Mayo bring belted out at the end.

  19. In fairness it was a stone wall penalty! Keeper should have came and claimed the ball instead of trying to let it out over the end line.

    Anyways it didn’t matter and a huge congrats to westport!

  20. Well done Westport a proud day for your club and GAA community. i did not expect them to win with so many injured players. So many stood up and were counted present when the chips were laid down. Wishing Kevin Keane a speedy recovery. He was putting himself in line for MOTM before he had to retire. Not forgetting Local Streaming on Utube by AIB it was my first time using it and it was magnificent.

  21. Well done to my fellow covies . 1 of the best goals I’ve ever seen in Croker. Young mcloughlin take a bow. Shane Scott scored a point from 50 yards+ out and would have gone another 20 . Heart in the mouth stuff in the 2nd half. Think I rather like this feeling of walking down Jones road after watching my team lifting the silverware more of that please mr Rochford.p.s. speedy recovery to Kevin Keane looked a nasty 1

  22. I disagree. I didn’t think it was a penalty at all. The keeper let the ball pass him and the forward made the most of a desperate situation, running into the keeper and tripping over. Even the colmcille/Meath commentator on the streaming said the he felt the forward ‘bought’ the penalty. Even if the keeper wasn’t near him he hadn’t a notion of reaching the ball.

  23. – Well deserved win, would have been a travesty if we lost that match
    – Shane Scott towering display of skill, power and guts. Add in Moran and McLoughlin who were like magnets winning ball they had no right to win.
    – Well done to the players, management and all officers and coaches especially Fundo who contributes to this blog.
    -Even though both sets of supporters had identical colours, Westport had a huge following in the 10k crowd. It was great to see supporters from Westport United and RFC as well.
    – Hope SR was there should be a couple of these guys moving onto the senior panel.

  24. Well done to Westport. Had visions of a Colm Coyle like bouncing ball as the clock ticked down. The streaming is an excellent facility.

  25. Well done Westport! Delighted I was at the game today.

    Colm Moran was outstanding throughout and won nearly every ball that was played into him. His first point especially was class. Shane Scott gave a towering display in midfield and kicked 3 brilliant points.

    Great achievement for Westport when you look at their age profile. Five 18 year olds and two 19 year olds in the starting 15. Mike Solan will, I’m sure, be looking at those guys in the coming month.

  26. social media addicts as these kids are now let them relax enjoy their win and look forward to their exams in the summer . Stop filling their heads full of shite .

  27. Well done to Westport GAA. I listened to it on MWR and I thought it was going to slip away from them but they hung on , dug deep and honoured all their effort with a win. A bunch of these lads in LC year is amazing when I think about it. Their composure and focus is outstanding and I wish them the very best in the future.

  28. Delighted for Westport today. It was confusing with both sets of supporters in the same colors but Westport won on noise levels. Mighty start to the year for Mayo teams and onwards and upwards for this young group of lads. Congrats to them. I hope the bonfires are out.

  29. I used local streaming for the first time today. So easy. Very impressed. I do not know how it was a penalty never mind a sending off. The forward made a huge deal of tripping over goalies feet. It was blatant acting. He would get an oscar for it only Westport held out for the win in the end and all will be forgotten. Westport should have won by at least 4 points and it would have been so unjust if they lost because of that penalty. Anyway for once we are all happy. And I hope Westport is rocking tonight and no one turns up to work tomorrow! Wish I was from there!!!

  30. Well done Westport. I’m delighted to see a team from our county go to HQ and finish off the job.
    On the penalty incident, I was thrilled and relieved to see that the referee had missed the incident and allowed play to continue. Let’s all be honest here, there was no need for anyone to interfere with an inrushing St. Colmcille’s player as the ball was going safely wide. Technology, however, did for us with the man in the middle getting a word in his ear from a linesman. Westport should have won by more but that incident made for a white knuckle finish.
    Cathair na Mart abú.

  31. A feeling of great pride and extreme relief is about the only way I can sum up my feelings right now. From the sheer joy that at last victory was ours, a 6 point lead with 10 minutes to go, to utter panic, as we watched our lead whittled away and the horror of another Meath team ambushing us at the death. I’m still not the better of it, but we won, and to Lee Keegan and his gallant Westport team, a very big Congratulations.

  32. I knew it. I knew after the County final that this was a special team. I’m delighted to say I was in Croker today. I ain’t a Westport man but I’m a proud Mayo man and it was a joy to be there and watch this young team win their All Ireland.
    Terrific performances from Moran, Lambert and Oisin McLoughlin. I agree with another poster about Fionn McDonagh winning some amount of important ball around the middle, i.e. after Colmcilles got the goals. Westport’s response generally to these goals was brilliant. It was very obvious they were much the stronger team throughout. I also thought Brian O’Malley looks a terrific defender and had a superb opening 20mins that set the platform for Westport. He’s a real natural defender and can read things very well. He looked at home in Croker today.

    One thing they need to watch for the coming season (and I said it here after the County final), is to reduce the simple mistakes after they’ve done all the hard work. This happened again today. They work the ball brilliantly into great positions but often miss that final pass to play a colleague in. I say this because they have the potential to be an excellent team at senior level. All the ingredients are there. Well done Westport.

  33. Well done Westport,
    A win at this level is the seal in wax that confirms the reward and all the efforts of the contributors in this club for many past years. Happy days and I stand in congratulations to all concerned, well done and enjoy the hangover of success,, worthy worthy worthy ,,,

  34. Glad to be there to witness it, some outstanding inside forward play in the first half with more than a few lads to be considered for future county appearances, Scott was really magnificent in midfield, as mentioned Moran and Mcloughlin up front look to be really exciting prospects and wing back O’Malley has some skills too. Worth mentioning that the mark played a huge part in the game and it was really pleasing to watch some outstanding high fielding from both teams. Colmcilles got penalised on one occasion for not passing a minimum of 13 yards which led directly to a Westport point – so that might catch out players on occasion due to the frequented practice of popping a free 10 yards or less in the last few years. Really exciting game – so much happening that it was a real pity the large screens in Croker were not in action. The amplification system was in good working order though with saw doctors in fine voice at full time.

  35. I was there today and I was so proud of see a bunch of Mayo footballers close out a match on the winning side. Wore the dubs colours with pride today, lots of people confused by my regalia but all explained as I went along. It was a super team performance with Colm Moran, Oisin McLoughlin and Shane Scott excelling. We, in Mayo, never make it easy for our fans but they eventually closed it out .Great to see very young players given their head in Croke Park and despite losing Kevin early on the heads didn’t drop and went on to have their best spell. I hope that these players stay on and can give the Mayo management some interest over he next year or so. So proud and delighted, should drive west instead of work tomorrow, thinking about it!

  36. Great win. Have to say I was throwing the arms in the air towards the end as another Meath team looked like making a typical comeback from nowhere. Thankfully though enough had been done. No way it was a penalty in my opinion. Finally huge congrats to all from Westport. Ye did the county proud and it was great to see a Mayo victory.

  37. Great day for Westport Gaa, this could be the beginning of something special. They have so much talent coming through and if they can somehow harness it over the next 3/5 years anything is possible. This Club has everything to become a real Superpower.

  38. Bravo Westport. Most of the football played by Westport in the first half was, I thought, as near to perfection as was possible. To see those points flying over the bar -unbelieveable and so unlike Mayo teams. And McLoughlin’s goal – pure delight. Unfortunately the standard of finishing from Wesport dropped in the second half but the grit aand determination did not. Apart from Scott, McLoughlin and Moran I thought the full back line were excellent. Colmcille’s got a few breaks in the second half but fair play to the ref he risisted the temptation to play an extra minute to give Colmcille’s another chance of a draw. Whether the penalty was merited or not I do not know, I was parked at the other end. But I think O’Malley is a future Mayo ‘keeper, if he does not move outfield. Shane Scott is a plyer I would expect to see get an immediate Mayo senior call up and maybe Brian O’Malley as well.
    This was one of those occasions when I really feel being an exile from Mayo, even if still in Ireland. What it would have felt like to be part of that cavalcade home! And the thought of stopping in Feerick’s of Rathowen – and maybe a few spots in Roscommon as well – on the way. And I’m about as far from Westport in Mayo as it’s possible to be.

  39. PS, Willie Joe. Does the season ticket not cover club finals as well? Mine certainly did today and has done since I fisrt got one. I just presented it at the turnstile and it was accepted.

  40. It does, Andy – the only difference being you’ll need to print off a ticket for a designated seat at Croke Park on Patrick’s Day. Yesterday it was free seating so they could just scan the ticket itself. Like you, I just handed in the season ticket for scanning at the gate yesterday, though I had to get a separate juvenile ticket for the young buck with me.

  41. Shane Scott seems to have that outside of the boot bullet ball off to a tee. It makes him dangerous off a mark. He can kick as far as the inside forwards from a long way out and the ball is catchable for the forward and not hanging up in the air to allow defenders contest.
    He’s still only 25. I don’t think he ever featured on any county underage panels?
    Brian OMalley did well for a young player covering for Keane. We’re not blessed with full backs at u21 while waiting on Seamus Cunniffe to come back if he does.

  42. Both teams had a lot of wides into the Hill goal—it must have been a wind factor. Reilly for them has some speed & their young CF was excellent.

  43. Any All Ireland win is special, but an All Ireland win where you beat a kerry team in the semi and a meath team in the final is extra special. Well done to all involved with the team. Enjoy the celebrations.

  44. One thing for us to take note of going forward is that Westport had that extra bit of flair up front to get the scores. Like our All-Ireland winning U21s last year and our Minor team in 2013, it’s hard to beat that touch of something different in the forward line. In any sport it usually takes a bit of magic to get you over the line to win titles. Something for our Mayo senior team to think about in the weeks and months ahead. Who can provide that something different for us, that bit of extra flair in the final third. Can we get the balance right up front, while also managing to keep things tight at the back.

  45. Jr. The canal end is the “scoring” end in Croke Park. Plenty of wides going into the Hill is nothing new. Even Cillian equaliser to draw All Ireland final into the canal end was followed 2 weeks later by a wide into the Hill to draw the replay.

    In Mchale Park the “Bacon factory end” is the “scoring” end. These things should be taken into consideration when you win the toss but is often ignored and some seem completely unaware of it.

  46. A great display of attacking football in parts from some exciting young footballers.
    The concession of 2 sloppy goals including a moment of madness from the usually unflappable O malley in goal for the penalty coupled with some nervous shooting in the 2nd half meant that it was only by a whisker in the end. But that was all part of the journey for this young team and that experiance cannot be bought or trained for. They will hold their won at senior next year and have the makings of a team that could challenge the Castlebar mitchels of this world very soon if they can keep the group together.

    Enjoy the week everyone in Westport.

  47. fantastic win for the westport lads and for the Keegan brothers. great interview with them both at the end of the game. Live streaming is a great service!

  48. Delighted for Westport ….They deserve all the plaudits that come their way….Wouldnt it be nice if the whole Westport team are introduced onto the pitch with the cup at Mchale park on Saturday maybe at halftime ….its not often we get to see all Ireland winners would be great to see them in the flesh its the least they deserve….

  49. What an Intermediate championship we will have this year. Westport were ran close in all their games bar the county final.
    Belmullet, Kiltimagh, Moy Davitts and Louisburgh are all young and improving teams. Shrule were close last year. Ballyhaunis who have come down from senior.
    The Neale are a steady club in recent years also. Ardnaree have become a steady club. I can’t see anything only tight games with many teams capable of winning it out.

  50. Congrats to Westport and any contributors from the club who post here. All Ireland’s are hard one and the closing minutes were nail biting and I’m not even from Westport. Hopefully an omen to the year ahead. It’s not even March and there is an All Ireland title in Mayo already…great stuff.

  51. Well done Westport!

    Finding it hard to chase anything down in the nationals. Of course, if it was another heartbreaking defeat yada, yada, we would have plenty.

  52. Catcol, The Indo had a fairly decent report on it while the Times had a good feature covering the day while not doing that much in terms of a traditional match report.

  53. Well done the covies – great result for Westport and great result for Mayo football in general. Anything that spreads the base is to be welcomed and a real presence for GAA in Westport can only be good for the town and county.

    Nail-biting finish – what else can you expect when a Mayo team is involved but thankfully we got out the right side of this one. The Green and Red of Mayo ringing out over Croker – nothing like it – now how about a September rendition !

  54. I’d just like to say a massive thanks (in a personal capacity)to all the clubs in the county who sent well wishes and encouragement to us in the lead up to the All Ireland Final. Especially our neighbours, Louisburg, Kilmeena, Burrishoole, and Castlebar, local rivals, who also contributed to the fund. Others did too, but when your neighbour puts their hand in their pocket to help you out it seems so special.
    It was so heart warming to see the whole County row in behind us. I know we will have lots of battles in the club, league and championship next year but for now, we went out and represented the County to bring an All Ireland title to Mayo and ye all got behind us.
    Thank you.
    Willie

  55. willie Mac
    it is refreshing to see goodwill from local rival clubs in particular.. further evidence, if necessary that the GAA is an organisation like no other..
    Congrats to Westport on fantastic achievement and acknowledgement of goodwill and generosity of true gaels..

  56. Lee Keegan really won’t be able to touch an opponent during a game from now on. Looking over parts of the game from yesterday it seems Leeroy’s card is well and truly marked. Its annoying. However, Philly MacMahon bites people.

  57. Enjoyed my few pints in Navan on sunday night–the Meath GAA people were gracious in defeat. They were impressed by the youngesters from Westport.

  58. That result should give Mayo the belief that they are well capable of delivering on the big day. Things are shaping up nicely, with scope now to experiment further with senior team. It’s all about nurturing the winning habit.

  59. Absolutely great achievement from the port. The young lads came in with no baggage or fear and took the game by the scruff of the neck.
    The performance by Shane Scott was phenomenal, the balls he caught and inspirational scores. Having seen him play for years he’s improved so much as a player and was a consistent performer all year.
    Considering Westport we’re missing their marquee forward Lewis Cawley with an ACL, Gary Keane with an ACL and their starting corner back Liam Kitterick with a medial ligament strain it puts the performance in to perspective. Add in Kevin Keane going off after 10 minutes, it was just brilliant.
    I think Stephen Rochford and Mike Solan need to sit down and bring in a few of these lads.
    -Colm Moran is the scoring forward we’re looking for, two feet and an exceptional ball winner, he’s physique would need work but a serious talent.
    -Oisin Mc, pace to burn and an eye for goal.
    -Paul Lambert a creator and scorer. All 3 spent two years at Mayo minor.
    -Niall Glue/Fionn Mc/Brian+Paddy O Malley all 18 and great young players.
    Mike Solan will be licking his lips at the prospect of these young lads.

  60. Has there been a cow milked in Westport since Saturday? What a win – still smiling for these lads.

    Great to see so many young guys standing up and kicking points and scoring goals for fun. McLaughlin, Scott, McDonagh and Moran were just awe-inspiring at times. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Mayo team in Croke Park without some sort of drama. I was fully expecting the ref to play about 11 minutes of added time as Westport were hanging by a thread and what a blow it would have been had they lost. But they didn’t and none of that matters now. Looking forward to seeing some of these guys wearing the green and red in the near future at underage and senior level.

    Of course, who couldn’t be delighted for Lee – I’m thrilled he now has an AI medal in his pocket. I hope we don’t see him lining out this Saturday either, I hope he is flat out on the beer and will get another couple of weeks to wind down after not having a break all winter. Mind you, we’re all talking about his card being marked – was I the only one who thought he was lucky to stay on the pitch after what looked like a nailed-on black card offence?

    But again, none of it matters now. A win is a win is a win and once again, it’s a Mayo team who are ALL-IRELAND CHAMPIONS. Winning breeds winners – all of these wins are significant and will build belief in the county and in our county players.

    On we march. Looking forward to Saturday evening …

  61. Definitely agree that Lee shouldn’t even look at a football for 4/5 weeks. Players get burn out and he needs this time off if not more. Physically and mentally.

    Diarmuid O’C was in a similar boat last season. He dragged Mayo to an u21 title, something we wouldn’t have won without him. The knock he picked up v Kildare knocked him…his form dipped as the summer wore on. A super player and will be pivotal for Mayo over the coming years. We need lads like him and Lee fresh in mid/late summer.

    Now is time for lads like Nally, Loftus, Regan etc to show what they can do and be given a run of competitive matches. I appreciate fringe and young players need to be blended in alongside experienced players but I’d prefer not to see Boyler and McLoughlin going full throttle in February!

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