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Treacy leads from the front


IN WITH A SHOUT Ciaran Treacy celebrates after scoring a goal for Mayo in the National League Final back in April. Pic: Sportsfile

Mike Finnerty

HE’S best known to most Mayo fans as the impact sub’ who came off the bench to score the late brilliant goal that sealed last April’s National League Final win over Kerry.
But to supporters of Ballina Stephenites, Ciaran Treacy is known as a young man who has always had a touch of class about him, on and off the pitch, ever since he first wandered up from The Quay to begin his footballing education at the local GAA club.
The 23 year-old is currently working as a national school teacher in Dublin and, up until recently, was a teaching colleague of his Mayo team-mate, Cillian O’Connor.
Next Saturday evening Treacy and O’Connor will cross paths again, as the Stephenites try to upset the odds once more by knocking out the county champions, Ballintubber.
This is Ballina’s first semi-final since the ‘Tubber beat them at this stage in 2011, but after recent wins over Westport and Breaffy, the Stephenites are flying high again.
Treacy kicked five points in the marathon quarter-final thriller victory over Breaffy; two of them, in particular, showcasing his shooting ability and impressive skill-set.
In his younger days around Ballina, the stylish half-forward was well-known for his ability as an athlete and, along with Mikey Murray, was among the town’s best and brightest when it came to cross-country and endurance running.
Hard work doesn’t phase him, he has a great engine, and he possesses the sort of self-belief that has always marked out the best of the Stephenites over the years.
“We’ll have massive respect for Ballintubber, obviously, they’re reigning county champions,” Treacy told The Mayo News Football Podcast after the quarter-final.
“ But at the same time, we fear absolutely nobody at this stage.
“We’re not going to be worried about them. We’ll work, we’ll give it everything, and I’m confident that will get us over the line and into a County Final.”
The last time the Moclair Cup was brought back to the Stephenites’ clubhouse was 2007, and it’s 14 years now since Brian Ruane lifted the Andy Merrigan Cup at Croke Park.
You wonder if Ciaran Treacy and this next generation are aware of the history and tradition of the most successful club in the county?
“Absolutely, he nodded. “Most of us lads grew up watching the Brian Ruanes and Aidan Tighes, we saw them there after the game. . the David Bradys, McGarritys. .
“We were up in Croke Park that day [in 2005] when they won the All-Ireland. So we grew up with that.
“To be without those county semi-finals, those county titles the last few years, is something we’ve been looking to change. “In our own careers, that’s what we’re hungry for.
“We want to win it. We’re not here to just be making county quarter-finals or semi-finals, we’re here to win it. That’s what we’re about.”
Those who know him well say that Ciaran Treacy is a credit to his parents, Damien and Belinda; a bright, courteous, ambitious and talented young man who, despite his tender years, has already become a leader in the Stephenites’ dressing-room.
Next Saturday he will be called on again to lead from the front as they try and beat the best.
His reply when we put it to him that it’s already been a memorable year for him on the football front gave an insight into how Treacy’s mind works.
“Absolutely, a great year but, at the end of the day, we [Mayo] didn’t win the ultimate prize so you’d be disappointed on that note. But to come out here and kick a few points at MacHale Park, that’s my job, that’s what I have to do.”
After winning his first GAA medal of consequence last April, his sights are set on the next one.

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