EYES ON THE PRIZE Knockmore’s Aiden Orme heads for goal during the recent Mayo SFC quarter-final win over Ballintubber. Pic: Sportsfile
Aiden Orme’s star is on the rise with club and county
LIFE is good for Aiden Orme right now. There’s a sparkle in the eyes and a spring in his step. He loves playing football and Knockmore have been doing a lot of that in recent years.
This is the attacker’s third senior championship season and already he has one medal in the back pocket and a semi-final to come next weekend. Throw in an All-Ireland final appearance in Croke Park back in September and one begins to understand why the 22-year-old has a smile on his face.
“I suppose it’s the same in all clubs, but we just love playing ball together,” he told The Mayo News. “It’s a huge part of our lives and we do it because we love it.”
Orme usually patrols the edge of the square for Ray Dempsey’s men and will probably fill that role again next weekend against Garrymore, but he played further out the field in the quarter-final win over Ballintubber.
“That was some game! I started at eleven but in fairness, it makes no difference – we just get on with it and play. We knew Ballintubber would really put it up to us. They have been the standard-bearers in Mayo for the past decade or more and we had to fight every step of the way to get past them.
“As everyone in the country knows now, we hadn’t that game won until the very last second and that’s exactly what we expected. We did a lot of good things against Ballintubber, but there are a lot of things that need to improve as well, so we’re under no illusions about the task facing us next weekend,” he added as thoughts turned towards the semi-final meeting with Garrymore on Saturday next.
This is a hotly anticipated meeting of two famed championship clubs. Solid teams, sprinkled with stardust and fueled by the power and pride of their rural communities. There’s a sense of football royalty about this one, but Orme pays no heed to that. All he cares about is playing football with his friends.
“Every championship game brings a different challenge and Garrymore are a very fine team. They’ve been playing really good football for the past few years and are even better this season. They’re the form team at the moment and it’s a huge challenge for us, but that’s what we expect at this stage of the championship.
“The Mayo senior championship is one of the toughest competitions out there and when you get to the knock-out stages any team can win it. We just take it game by game, because anything else would be madness.
“We won it last year, but that won’t make a bit of difference next Saturday. That’s history now and when a competition begins it makes no difference what anyone achieved in the past. As I said, it’s all about taking each game, each training session on its own merits and getting on with it.”
ORME is an interesting character. Just over a year ago, he was a name that popped up in Knockmore match reports. Then, he took the 2020 senior championship by storm and was called into the Mayo senior squad before appearing as a second half sub’ in the All Ireland final. Has the progress made over the past 18 months surprised the man himself?
“I don’t think about it at all. I just enjoy playing football. I’m lucky enough to be part of the team here in Knockmore and because of that I got called into the Mayo squad. I just do my best every single day and never think about it really.
“It was nice to play in Croke Park against Tyrone, but ultimately we lost the game and that was the important thing. Right now, all that matters is training this week and after that we’ll go and play Garrymore. Hopefully, we’ll be training again next week. That’s the way it is. When one is in the middle of it, there’s no time to be thinking about anything else.”
On Saturday, Orme and his friends will run out in Bekan swathed in their famous saffron and blue jerseys. They will carry their club’s cherished tradition into yet another county semi-final and the ace attacker believes things are only going to get better for the club in the coming seasons.
“We have a very young squad at the moment and there are really talented footballers coming through, looking to break into the squad too. There’s a great group of lads just behind us and the Under-19s won the county title a few months ago, so these are good times for the club,” he added with a smile.
Orme smiles a lot these days. As he says himself, he enjoys playing football with his friends and he’ll be doing all he can to win Saturday’s game and book another two weeks of training by Lough Conn.
Medals and accolades are a bonus.
Name: Aiden Orme
Occupation: Trainee teacher
Mayo championship medals: Under-14 (2013); Senior 2020
Did you know? Aidan played in a Cumann na mBunscol County Hurling Final with Rehins NS ten years ago. They lost to Aghamore NS.