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3 things we learned on Sunday in the National League Final

Sport

TIME STANDS STILLMayo goalkeeper Rob Hennelly saves David Clifford’s goalbound effort in the 72nd minute of last Sunday’s National League Final. Pic: Sportsfile

Mike Finnerty


1 ‘Horanball’ pays off
HE may not have given the prospect of competing for a National League title much genuine thought until after the win over Monaghan, but James Horan certainly got everybody tuned in and up to speed fairly quickly.
With just one training session last week, and a get-together in Dublin on Saturday, Horan didn’t have much time to work with but he managed to get a huge second half performance, in particular, from the players last weekend.
It’s obvious that the injection of youth into the squad has re-energised the older lads and Matthew Ruane, James Carr and Ciaran Treacy were the latest new recruits to step up.
‘Horanball’ certainly paid off on Sunday.

2 Hennelly gets his reward
NOBODY will ever need to teach Rob Hennelly about how fickle life can be for an elite level goalkeeper.
He learned all about it after the 2016 All-Ireland Final replay, and has spent the last few seasons battling it out for the number one jersey with All Star, David Clarke.
We’ll never know for sure who would have started last Sunday had Clarke not been ruled out due to concussion, but Hennelly took his opportunity with both hands.
His stunning save in the dying moments from David Clifford was one of the highlights of Mayo’s win, and it was telling that Hennelly received one of the biggest cheers of the day when he took his turn to lift the trophy afterwards.
It was a lovely touch for a man who’s been through the mill.

3 Carr was worth waiting for
FOR the last few seasons James Carr has been the best-kept secret in Mayo football.
The talented Ardagh man, whose father Martin runs The Junction restaurant in Ballina, won an All-Ireland Under-21 medal in 2016.
And James was part of Stephen Rochford’s Mayo squads for the last few years but suffered a series of injuries and setbacks that stalled his progress.
His hips and groins seemed to be the issue, and we wondered when we would get to see the University of Limerick student get his long-awaited run with Mayo.
It’s worth remembering that last Sunday was just his second senior appearance — in all competitions!
He scored two points (one off each foot), could have hit the net, and didn’t look out of place.
It was a great day for him, the Carr family, and Ardagh GAA club.

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