FAMILY PHOTO Knockmore captain David McHale is pictured with his father Paddy and his brother Padraig. Pic: Conor McKeown
IT doesn’t take long to travel from Coolcronan to the GAA pitch in Knockmore, but on September 25 this year David McHale hardly noticed the time passing. His mind was filled with thoughts of his beloved sister Patricia who had been laid to rest the previous day.
In truth, he was probably on autopilot, but before the Knockmore captain arrived at St Joseph’s Park he looked towards the heavens and made one fervent promise.
“We buried Patricia [Tish] on the Friday and played Aghamore the following day. I drove to that game and on the way I promised her I’d lift the Moclair Cup again this year and dedicate it to her. It has been on my mind for the past few weeks and thank God it came right today,” he told The Mayo News at the end of last Sunday’s county final.
The talented full-back had made good on his promise and the tears weren’t far from the surface as he recounted how determined he had been to honour his sister in the best way possible.
“It was on my mind all week, wanting to win it for her. It was even on my mind last night but when this morning came I forgot about it – it was game mode then, but it was special to be able to raise that cup for her just there.”
McHale had been particularly impressive all afternoon, following Ryan O’Donoghue around the place and restricting the Belmullet danger-man to just three points from frees.
“Belmullet have some fine footballers and Ryan is a special player,” said the Dublin-based teacher. “They have been getting goals all year and we knew we had to stop that and we’d have a great chance. We’re a true family.
“We had our backs to the wall today and had to fight for everything but that’s when we play our best stuff. We’re a true family, we love each other, and we knew we had to stand and fight if we were going to win it,” he added before being asked how special it was to win back to back titles in front of a heaving crowd.
“We probably didn’t reach the heights we reached last year, whether that’s to do with the heavier pitches or injuries or we weren’t moving the ball as quick, but we knew we had to win it. People were saying we might have won it last year, but it was just a covid year and wasn’t like any other championship, but we wanted to show them Knockmore were here and here to stay.”
The former Mayo minor defender said that Knockmore are now turning their sights to their Connacht senior club championship clash with Sligo champions Tourlestrane the weekend after next.
“We’re a young team but there are a few of us here a long time,” he said. “We got hammered by Ballintubber one year and Mitchels humbled us another year.
That drives us on and in turn it drives on the younger lads. We’re going to have a right go at Connacht now.
“We were robbed of that last year and we can’t wait to have a crack at it.”