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Andy Moran has the last word in Kiltoom

Sport

NO LOVE LOST Mayo players, from left, David Drake, Danny Kirby and Kevin McLoughlin tussle with Roscommon players, from left, John McManus, Kevin Higgins and Ultan Harney during Sunday’s Connacht FBD League match in Kiltoom. Pic: Sportsfile

Overview
Mike Finnerty

AND so Mayo’s FBD League title famine continues.
Five years and counting now since that particular Connacht cup last rested in the MacHale Park trophy cabinet.
“When will the long FBD League wait end?” said . . .
Well, said nobody ever!
After a week when Connacht GAA Council Secretary John Prenty declared that the time has come for the third-level college teams to take their leave of the competition, Mayo bowed out of the 2017 renewal.
In fairness, though, they bowed out in style.
It seemed fitting that Mayo and Roscommon served up a match that crackled and fizzed for more than eighty minutes in Kiltoom on Sunday.
After all, around 1,600 hardy supporters (most of them wearing Rossie colours) made the journey down the small boreen to St Brigid’s GAA club in search of green shoots.
They came expecting to be entertained too, and they weren’t disappointed. This was a proper National League warm-up.
When it was all over, there was no doubting who the happier bunch were; it’s never any craic losing to the neighbours.
At half-time in the clubhouse we overheard two Roscommon fans fearing the worst.
“We’re getting ate in the middle of the field,” said one, inadvertently doffing his hat in the process to Mayo midfielders Jason Gibbons and Danny Kirby.
“That’s nothing ‘til February 25,” he added, casting an eye towards that Saturday night in the National League when Roscommon will visit Castlebar.
“Yeah, we’d want to be showing our colours now alright,” chirped his Club Rossie colleague.
We’d love to have heard what the two lads had to say half-an-hour later, with the Smith brothers from Boyle after kicking Kevin McStay’s team into an eight points lead!
But that was before Andy ‘Handy’ Moran entered from stage left. Or the dugout on the left of the stand to be precise.
Now we’re reliably informed that some of Andy’s neighbours from across the Ballaghaderreen border in Roscommon might have been laying on the ‘banter’ fairly thick as he was waiting on to come on last Sunday.
All the while, Roscommon had been topping up their lead and it looked like they were going to hammer Andy and rest of the Mayo team down the road towards Knockcroghery.
So you’ve probably got a fair idea what sort of stuff that Mayo’s most-capped player of all time was listening to as he sprinted on to the field.
There were three minutes of normal time left when he arrived in the full-forward line but, like always, he wasn’t long getting down to work.
To cut a long story short, Andy Moran smashed in the second of his two goals a full six minutes into stoppage time; cutting in along the endline before lashing the ball high into the Roscommon net past debutant goalkeeper Colm Lavin.
Cue the big roar from the Mayo supporters in the crowd, and Andy lost himself in the moment too, rushing to the spectators behind the goal for a fist pump or two to get the show started.
Then he went full ‘Sky Sports Super Sunday’ altogether on it, grabbing the Mayo GAA crest on his jersey and kissing it profusely as he jogged back out the field.
We actually didn’t think it was possible that Andy Moran could endear himself even more to Mayo supporters than he has already over the last 14 seasons.
But we think he just might have last Sunday!
Roscommon left wondering just how they’d snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and, no doubt, planning to put manners on Andy and Mayo next month in Castlebar.
Mayo, meanwhile, hopped on to their Corduff Travel bus out the front with a spring in their step.
Our day in Kiltoom ended with Seán Julian of Treanlaur Catering treating us to a cup of tea and a slice of apple tart before he tidied up and headed home, having fed the Mayo team.
The FBD League — sure where would we be without it?

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