Tuesday 21 November 2017

Demolition derby as Mayo set up Kerry semi

‘Bit of luck’ still needed for Sam Maguire, believes Enda

Roscommon fan Brenda Brennan, from Strokestown, with Mayo pal Aisling Boland, from Kilfian, after the match at Croke Park. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Roscommon fan Brenda Brennan, from Strokestown, with Mayo pal Aisling Boland, from Kilfian, after the match at Croke Park. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Ryan Nugent

They're playing it down ... but give it a week and you'll see green and red signs and bunting covering the West, as Mayo take another shot at Sam Maguire.

The drought is in its 66th year, but, after a demolition job on neighbours Roscommon, 4-19 to 0-9, a semi-final with Kerry beckons in less than a fortnight.

After another season of being written off, this might just be their year, sure all they need is a little bit of good fortune, according to former taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The Castlebar native was in the stands for three All-Ireland Final defeats during his tenure as the country's leader.

"Could you imagine, last year, two own goals in an All-Ireland Final and then after the second match there was only one point in it," he said.

"So you need heart and belief and commitment and you need a bit of luck.

Mayo supporters Lilly (9) and Molly (7) McCormack, from Ballinrobe, Co Mayo. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Mayo supporters Lilly (9) and Molly (7) McCormack, from Ballinrobe, Co Mayo. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

"Let's hope that somebody is going to smile on us this time," he added.

After so much heartbreak in recent years, it's a wonder the supporters can keep coming back with the same passion and vigour each year.

It comes from deep within, according to Joe Hyland from Westport.

"Every year we have plenty of entertainment anyway, that's all they can do," he said.

"It's nature, we are green and red under the skin."

There's an air of caution ahead of the Kerry game, with Niamh Carney saying that maybe, just maybe, they've learned from their mistakes.

"We're a lot more reluctant to jump on the Mayo for Sam bandwagon this year, but the belief is still there," said Niamh, daughter of Mayo great and RTÉ commentator, Martin.

"If we get to an All-Ireland Final I have no doubt we will completely believe we can win it," she added.

The match itself was sometimes painful to watch, such was Mayo's dominance and Roscommon's haplessness.

In Sunday's hurling, there were groans at the ferociousness of some of the hits. Yesterday, however, there were grimaces from the neutrals as Mayo scored goal after goal, point after point.

Roscommon just didn't turn up, Anne Finneran from Castlerea explained. "It was very unfortunate for them ... it's heartbreaking," she said.

"The nerves kind of got the better of them."

So Mayo have held up their side of the bargain and march on, now all that's left is for Kerry's cute-hoors to come out in force and play up their opponents' chances.

Irish Independent

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