FOOTBALLER of the Year Lee Keegan says he ‘can see no reason why Westport can’t have another great day’ and upset the odds to beat Kenmare in next Sunday’s All-Ireland Intermediate club football semi-final.
Speaking exclusively to The Mayo News, the four-time All Star acknowledged that the Kerry champions ‘are massive favourites’ but said he believed that this ‘special group’ of Westport footballers were capable of producing a match-winning performance in Ennis.
“Sport is funny, you never know what’s going to happen,” declared Keegan.
“We’re under no illusions that we’re up against it, we know they’re massive favourites, but that’s the challenge we have. We’re a senior team now and we have to show that.
“Our only focus is on representing Westport. We’re doing it for our club, our families, and ourselves.
“I always say that this group is special, because we did what no other Westport Gaelic team ever did, we won a Connacht title. And I still think we’re capable of doing more. You never know what can happen on any given day.
“Plus Ennis is a happy hunting ground for Mayo teams!
“The build-up has been very quiet for us, there’s been no talk about Westport, all the talk has been about Kenmare. We’re coming in under the radar. There’s nothing expected of us, we’ve nothing to lose.”
The Mayo champions will line out next Sunday without star forward Lewis Cawley (cruciate knee ligament injury) and key defender Liam Ketterick (knee injury), but everyone else has trained well and is ready for action ahead of Westport’s tenth game of a marathon campaign.
A place in the All-Ireland Intermediate Final at Croke Park next month awaits the winners.
“To be honest, I kinda get goosebumps thinking about the possibility of playing at Croke Park with Westport. It’s the ultimate goal for any club player,” said Keegan.
“Winning a county and a Connacht medal with your club is fantastic, but to go to Croke Park with them would be something else.
“From talking to lads like Boyler [Colm Boyle] and Mickey C [Conroy] about Davitts, Mikey Sweeney [Kiltane], and Stephen Coen [Hollymount/Carramore], they were saying the buzz they got from playing there with their clubs. .
“I know the results didn’t go their way, but they said it was one of the best days of their lives. Just to be there.
“It would be great for Westport, it would be brilliant for this bunch of players.
“We’ve already had some great days, and I see no reason why we can’t do the same again.”
All-Ireland IFC semi-final
Westport v Kenmare
Sunday, January 29
Ennis at 2.15pm
Referee: M McNally (Monaghan)