The Sporting Diary

with Sports Editor Peter Campbell

The Sporting Diary

God bless Mayo

You have to feel for them. Twice in the space of a couple of weeks Dublin were there for the taking. Mayo didn't help their cause by dropping ‘keeper David Clarke and his replacement Robert Hennelly from the Breaffy club just had a nightmare. The decision to drop Clarke seemed very strange, and it certainly backfired.

The black card controversy got more fuel with players having their final cut short. There seems to be a momentum building to get rid of the black card. Maybe common sense will break out and we might see the sin bin trialled.

But getting back to Mayo, why did they persist in using their best player, Lee Keegan, as a man-to-man marker. He showed with the goal that he is probably their best attacking option, yet they were using him as a stopper. Changing his role would have made much more sense than changing their ‘keeper.

After the players’ revolt last year, getting rid of the management, will we see another revolt now?

Club Championship
comes alive

At last we got something to shout about in Donegal at the weekend with the performance of Kilcar in the semi-final against reigning champions, Naomh Conaill. It was the best game of football we have seen in a long while.

I got a call this week from a Donegal native living in Leitrim, who was at the game. He was wondering if their was a dvd of the game that he could purchase. It’s not often you get a neutral reacting like that.

Kilcar buried a bogey that was threatening to engulf them, and they did it in some style. The level of their performance has made them odds on favourites now to take a first Donegal title in 23 years. There was so much to like about their display; pure football with lightning pace and finishing of the top order.

There were many contenders for man of the match with the three McHughs outstanding, but I would have selected Patrick McBrearty, who hit 1-5, all but a point from play. However, it was his involvement in the vital second goal which would have tipped the scale for me. He created the opening and could have went for the goal himself, but laid it on for Conor Doherty, who was in the best position.

That goal put Kilcar ahead for the first time and it gave them the confidence to go on and produce a vintage display. The quality of the scores (goals and points) was out of the top drawer and Patrick Gallagher was denied a goal by a post.

Naomh Conaill were hampered a little by injury, but even with a full deck, they may have come up short, but no doubt they will be back. Their younger talent, like Ciaran Thompson and Eoghan McGettigan, will have learned a lot. They are similar to Kilcar in many ways, with a mainly young team and they will have an increased hunger next year.

As for now, Kilcar have answered all the questions. They will be hoping for a dry sod for their tilt with Glenswilly, another bogey team. The Glen men stumbled into the final and will be happy to be the underdog, but one feels they will have to bring their A game to match Kilcar on Sunday’s showing.

There are a lot of blue and gold flags being hoisted all around me. It could be a long couple of weeks!!