Saturday 18 January 2020

Class personified: Mayo keeper Rob Hennelly comforted by someone who knows exactly what he is going through

Cork's Anthony Casey and (right) Rob Hennelly
Cork's Anthony Casey and (right) Rob Hennelly

Tom Rooney

One couldn’t help but sympathise with Mayo’s Rob Hennelly when watching his harrowing personal ordeal during their loss to Dublin in yesterday’s All Ireland SFC final replay, and one fellow goalkeeper has come out in full support of the Breaffy club man, who did him a similar kindness back in May.

As the 1-15 to 1-14 amply demonstrates, the titanic battle engaged in by Dublin and Mayo came down to the finest of margins.

When reflecting on the outcome of a game so hotly-contested, even the slightest of mishaps can ultimately prove decisive, let alone the major ones.

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford raised more than a few eyebrows when opting to select Hennelly in goal ahead of potential All-Star David Clarke.

Rochford subsequently explained that Hennelly’s lengthier kick outs were the main reason for a decision that proved hugely costly.

Ironically, Hennelly’s first three kick outs were gratefully accepted by Dublin players, though his travails were only to get worse.

Five minutes after the restart, Mayo were leading Dublin by three points but, when Hennelly failed to deal with a seemingly harmless Paul Flynn pass and then pulled down Paddy Andrews, his afternoon reached its nadir.

Hennelly was black carded before Diarmuid Connolly stepped up and slotted the subsequent penalty beyond David Clarke.

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In May, Cork U21 goalkeeper Anthony Casey endured a similar day as the Rebel County were trounced by Mayo in the All Ireland final by 5-7 to 1-13.

One of Casey’s kick outs went straight into the hands of Mayo forward Conor Loftus, who, as a result, scored an easily avoided goal.

Casey was then subjected to a torrent of online abuse, but Hennelly, in an extremely classy gesture, took to Twitter to support the youngster in his time of need.

Well, Casey most certainly hasn’t forgotten as he returned the favour in kind last night.

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