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Highs and lows of the year that was in Mayo


EDGE OF THE SQUARE?Though he wore number 11, it was at full-forward that Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea lit up the championship.?Pic: Sportsfile

Daniel Carey

Sporting Find of the Year

A CONNACHT Senior Football Championship medal from 1989 was discovered by members of An Garda Siochána when they were apprehending a suspect. Former Mayo manager John O’Mahony got in touch with The Mayo News to try and reunite the medal with its rightful owner.

Fish Out Of Water of the Year
CIARAN O’Hara from Doolough, Geesala and broadcaster Matt Cooper spent five days in North Korea with basketball star Dennis Rodman in January 2014 – “but it felt like a month!” the Mayoman ruefully reflected. They had a minder each and a mini-bus to themselves on the trip, the story of which hit the big screen last July.

Divided House of the Year
DECLAN O’Dea (Ardnaree manager) and his son Cian (Killala panellist) were on opposite sides of the fence for the Mayo Junior Football Championship final.

Transformation of the Year
AIDAN O’Shea’s reinvention as a full-forward saw him involved in 6-15 out of Mayo’s total of 6-25 in the Connacht final against Sligo. Of that, he bagged 3-4 himself – although he actually underestimated the figure when The Mayo News asked him at the Club Stars charity banquet. Maybe the confusion arose from the fact that O’Shea nailed 3-2 for Breaffy against Ballyhaunis!

Family of the Year
THE O’Brien sisters from Islandeady – all members of Westport AC – won their races at the Connacht Uneven Ages Cross-Country Championships in Boyle: Róisín at under-13, Saoirse at under-15, and Aoife at under-17. Saoirse won gold at the under-14 national championships in Santry, while Róisín and Aoife also won individual medals at the National Even Age Cross-Country Championships.

Good Neighbour of the Year
MULRANNY United stalwart Stephen Barrett received 76 ‘likes’ for a classic Facebook comment (“I can’t believe I had to clap for Achill Rovers in the Aviva”) after the islanders received their Club of the Year award at half-time in the European Championship qualifier between the Republic of Ireland and Georgia.

Flag-Flyer of the Year
BALLINTUBBER man Anthony Coyne, who was part of the Irish team which came fourth at the World Surf Kayaking Championships in Spain, has been living in Co Cork for years. But when living in Rosscarbery, his Mayo flag was taken twice. “It is the next town over from Clonakilty, where I live now, and their colours are green and red,” he explained with a laugh.

Team of the Year
THE Westport rugby team bridged a 40-year gap when winning the Connacht Junior Cup final in April. Kevin Corcoran’s try changed the game, and Kevin Gill also got a touchdown. Kevin Hastings and Dylan Carpenter were outstanding, and Eddie Dunning was The Mayo News man of the match.

Shock of the Year
THE new Mayo jersey got people talking in Killarney and beyond when it was unveiled for the opening round of the National Football League in February. John Casey kinda liked it. Billy Fitzpatrick wasn’t gone on it. The social media reaction was overwhelmingly positive, while some Midwest Radio listeners were alarmed.

Veterans of the Year
A JOINT award here. Ray Connelly was 39 when Hollymount/Carramore won the Mayo Intermediate Football Championship title in October, while 40-year-old Westport United stalwart Vinny O’Malley helped his club to another Super League title in November.

Triumph of the Year
FOR beating All-Ireland champions Corofin in their own back yard, it was hard to top Castlebar Mitchels’ Connacht title success.

Disappointment of the Year
RAY Moylette lost two finals on split decisions to Dean Walsh at the National Elite Boxing Championships – one in January, another in December. The most recent defeat was particularly hard to swallow for the Islandeady man, and his coach Martin Brennan has appealed for a box-off to decide who represents Ireland at 64kg in Turkey in April.

Coup of the Year
THE ‘Second Captains’ crew on RTÉ persuaded Ciaran McDonald to give a rare public interview in April. The legendary footballer offered plenty of food for thought on television, before showing that he’s still got it by togging out for Crossmolina in the senior league the following weekend.

Question of the Year
“WHAT’S the plural of abacus?” Liam Horan wondered as the intricacies of points difference were discussed at the Ballinrobe v Aghamore Mayo Senior Football Championship group game in June. (“Abaci” was the answer given). Horan was joined by Pádraic Costello Snr and Adrian Hession on analysis, with Micheál Keane as camerman as the game was live-streamed on the internet. The decision allowed Mayo people from all over the globe to follow the action.

Answer of the Year
LEE Keegan insisted that he was going for goal after finding the net in Mayo’s victory over Donegal in the All-Ireland quarter-final in August. “Absolutely. No debate!” he said with a laugh. “And I’ll take it to my grave!”

Public Realisation of the Year
WHILE some Mayo GAA Board delegates demanded the reasons for the Mayo players’ discontent with managers Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes, County Board chairman Mike Connelly asked a sensible question. “We don’t know why all this has happened, but does it make any difference at this stage?” he wondered at the October meeting.

Long Wait of the Year
WHEN Kiltimagh soccer player Jessica Nolan pulled on number 11 jersey for Ireland’s opening game against France at the UEFA Women’s U-17 Championships, it was the end of a long wait. Born in Stockport, she moved to Ireland at the age of seven, but getting the Irish passport she needed to represent this country took nearly two and a half years. She was cleared to play just two days before flying to Iceland.

Cavalcade of the Year
BETWEEN riders, team helpers, officials and media, the Rás brought approximately 400 people to Newport for a stage finish in May. There was also a stage finish in Ballina, and ultimately the west of Ireland legs proved decisive.

Comebacks of the Year
WE’RE spoiled for choice here, but only Mayo’s late burst in the drawn All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin ended happily (and was ultimately undone in the replay). The Mayo hurlers were nine points up on Kildare at half-time but lost by five, while Mayo’s soccer team blew a 3-0 lead against Galway, drawing 3-3 in the Oscar Traynor Trophy.

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