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Divided loyalties for Crossmolina native

Sport

 

Divided loyalties for Crossmolina native

 

The Laois Mayo connection
Edwin McGreal
 

David Munnelly normally follows Mayo’s progress but with his son Ross lining out for Laois, there’ll only be one team he’ll be interested in on Sunday.
 

ROSS Munnelly may be one of the golden names among the current crop of Laois footballers but the Munnelly family have a very soft spot for Mayo. His father David was born and raised in Tooreen, a small village on the Ballycastle side of Crossmolina. The Munnelly family left Mayo in 1962 and moved to Carlow.
David said: “There were six of us in the family and my mother and father decided to sell the place and move to the Midlands in the early 1960s. I was 14 years at the time. It was a big move from Crossmolina to Carlow town for all of us. My mother Ada, who died two months ago, was a native of Carlow so she knew a good few people down here at the time.
“The Cawley family who now live in the place we left are relations of ours. We’d have a good few relations still around Mayo, especially in the Crossmolina, Killala and Lacken areas.”
David’s late father Dave, who died back in 1992, won a Mayo county medal with Deel Rovers during his football days.
When David married Mary Cronin from Stradbally, they settled in Arles, just a few miles the Laois side of Carlow town. David is the only one of the Munnelly family to live in Laois as his brothers Ger, Tom, Paddy and Peader and their sister Catherine all reside in Carlow.
With the emergence of Ross as one of the best known young footballers in the country, the Munnelly family suddenly found themselves in the national sporting limelight. “It can be a bit strange for quiet people to be suddenly well-known but sure you get used to it. Things have been going well for Ross. A lot of people outside Laois don’t know that his brother Colm is also on the panel and is sub goalie to Fergal Byron.
“After getting knocked out of the Leinster by Dublin, they were down for awhile. Things just went wrong on the day and that’s it. There’s not much you can do when something like that happens. But they are a much better team than that. They have re-grouped well and pulled themselves together and are getting back to true form,” said David.
In normal circumstances, the Munnelly family would be supporting the red and green of Mayo. Two years ago when Mayo played Kerry in the All Ireland Final, David and his brother Ger travelled to Mayo and watched the game in the Travellers friend Hotel in Castlebar, as they wanted to be in Mayo for the victory celebrations!
David said: “You never lose that feeling for the place you were born. You have an allegiance to it. But on Sunday with Ross and Colm on the Laois panel, naturally enough we have to support Laois and hope they advance to the semi-final. Both teams are known to play open football and I think it will be a good entertaining match. I can certainly say with all my heart that whoever wins on Sunday, I hope they go on to win the All-Ireland.”

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