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28
Sun, Feb
16 New Articles

Our ‘ones to watch’ in 2021

Sport

Gaelic Football
Paul Towey
Charlestown
HE might have made his National League debut last Spring against Monaghan, but 2021 could be the year when we see a lot more of the exciting young Charlestown Sarsfields forward in the Mayo colours.
Towey will be 21 in July and — assuming he stays fit and injury-free — looks set to follow in the footsteps of fellow 2020 Under-20s like Oisin Mullin, Rory Brickenden and Mark Moran by becoming a regular in Mayo’s match-day squads.
James Horan is obviously a fan; he fast-tracked Towey from the Under-20s after he nailed nine points in a monsoon against Galway in an infamous game that was decided on penalties.
Horan then watched him kick an outrageous long-range point with one of his first touches on his senior debut in Clones, and also introduced him against Kerry in the last match before the first lockdown.
By the time the Connacht championship rolled around, and the matches started coming thick and fast, Towey found himself behind the likes of Darren Coen, James Carr and James Durcan in the pecking order for a spot on the sub’s bench.
But he has the potential, talent, ball-winning ability, pace and confidence to put himself in the frame for more appearances in the months ahead.
Remember the name!
- Mike Finnerty

Ladies Football
Saoirse Lally
Westport
THE 18 year-old burst on to the senior inter-county scene last season when lining out in a number of National League matches in the Mayo defence, and it didn’t take her long to win plenty of admirers thanks to her swashbuckling style of play.
A teak-tough and tight-marking corner-back, Lally hit the ground running and slotted into the senior ranks seamlessly with some very impressive and dynamic displays.
Her key attributes of pace and power stood her good stead against Tyrone in the championship. Some observers have already compared her no-nonsense style to the likes of fellow Westport GAA star, Lee Keegan.
Saoirse’s positive attitude and commitment to learning and improving have also been commented on by her coaches, and the Sancta Maria College student seems set to have a long career ahead of her in the Mayo colours.
-Mike Finnerty

Soccer
Nathan Reilly Doyle
Ballyheane
IT’S almost hard to believe that Nathan Reilly Doyle is still only 19 as he’s been one of Ballyheane’s biggest stars over the last few years.
The frontman is a key member of their talented young squad who have shown real potential over the past few years. But in 2020 they showed that they are now coming of age.
Before Covid-19 halted the season, they went on a strong run of five wins on the bounce, which had them sitting fourth in the table and three points ahead of Castlebar Celtic.
Former Sligo Rovers underage prodigy Reilly Doyle was a huge part of that and he hit a memorable hat-trick against Ballyglass in September.
In 2019 he was awarded the club’s ‘Young Player of the Year’ and also won the Golden Boot award. If Ashley Stevenson is going to keep his Ballyheane side moving in an upward curve, Reilly Doyle will be instrumental.
-Ger Flanagan

Hurling
Brian Morley
Tooreen
AFTER flirting with soccer and Sligo Rovers for the past number of seasons, Morley’s introduction back to the small ball in late 2019 was a welcome boost for both club and county.
The 22 year-old looked right at home on the wide open expanses of Croke Park for this year’s Nicky Rackard Final where he put in a storming first half display for Mayo.
Lining out at full-forward, Morley hit two points from play and also won a number of frees which his team-mate, Shane Boland, duly converted.
He has a powerful and athletic build, pace to burn, and his directness for goal wreaked havoc on the Donegal defence that day.
If Tooreen are going to reclaim the TJ Tyrell Cup this year, and drive on to try and win the one trophy that has eluded them in recent seasons – an All-Ireland Intermediate title – Morley will play a huge part of it.
- Ger Flanagan

Boxing
Laura Moran
St Anne's
THE Mayo teenager remains the only boxer in Mayo to win a national title in all of 2020 after her victory in the Girl 5 66kg Senior Cadet Championship last February – her sixth national title to date.
The 16 year-old St Anne’s BC star was cruelly deprived of the chance to represent Ireland at the European Championships last summer due to Covid-19, but she took it in her stride.
The Aughagower native kept sharp throughout the lockdown training at her home with her father, and coach, Tom and no doubt is eyeing up a big year ahead if the circumstances allow it.
Also a talented Gaelic footballer and soccer player, whatever avenue Moran decides to go down in the future, she looks set to have a long and successful career.
- Ger Flanagan

 

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