Yesterday’s National Football League final win will live long in the memory and central to this was the performances we saw from several Mayo players at Croke Park.
In truth, it was very much a team display – as the saying goes, there’s no ‘i’ in team – by the lads yesterday. For example, although none of them featured in the top five in the poll, I thought the shifts put in by the likes of Lee Keegan, Keith Higgins, Paddy Durcan and Chris Barrett were all exemplary. So too was James Carr’s sparkling debut, garlanded by two sumptuous points just after the break, while Brendan Harrison never shirked in his battle with Kerry’s David Clifford.
The top five vote-getters in the poll, however, all put in seriously good performances yesterday. Fergal Boland (5% of the vote) drove us forward repeatedly, ran all day and linked the play really well. Robbie Hennelly (11%) was wonderful between the sticks, rising from his goal-line several times to claim high balls, restarting the play with confidence and pulling off a goal-denying miracle save right at the death.
Matthew Ruane (14%) took the fight to Kerry from the middle and, for the second time in three weeks, Mattie charged through the heart of their backline to bag a crucial three-pointer. His midfielder partner, Aidan O’Shea (20%), was an immense presence, tackling hard, turning over ball and launching attack after attack with a number of sublime passes.
But the player you’ve voted for ahead of everyone else was team captain Diarmuid O’Connor (30%). His contribution to our comeback win was enormous and the 1-2 he bagged himself did much to turn the tide in our favour. He’s our MOTM from yesterday’s game.
Well done to Diarmuid on his award and congrats too to all the team who worked so hard and to such effect to seal the deal for us in yesterday’s big match.