Today’s the day for the seniors
ALL the lads in the Ballinrobe senior football squad will have woken up this morning with that mix of excitement, nerves and tension running through the mind and the body as the day of ‘The Championship’ dawns at last.
In their mind’s eyes they had probably pictured hazy sunshine,hard ground and the smell of freshly-cut grass. As it turns out the rain is spilling down in Ballinrobe this morning and The Lough is likely to be overcast and dreary by the afternoon.
Not that it matters; after all, the reason anybody trains and plays football in the first place is for days like today.
The Ballinrobe team, and how exactly it lines out, will be revealed shortly before the throw-in at 2pm but all the usual suspects are expected to start even though some of the regulars have picked up knocks, niggles and strains in the last few weeks.
A win today would get Ballinrobe off to a great start in what is a very difficult group as away games against Knockmore and Kiltane await in the weeks ahead.
Most of the Ballinrobe squad have been here before.
Eleven years on from that historic, great Intermediate title win against Ballaghaderreen, lads like Ruairí and Micheál Keane, Paul Finnerty, Sean Grimes, Adrian Flannery and Ronan Macken are ready to go again one more time.
Players like James O’Malley, Colm and David Killeen, Peter Staunton and Kevin Murphy have plenty of experience too and the younger generation of Kenneth O’Malley, Donal Vaughan, David McDonnell and Sean Burke have no fear of big crowds and expectations.
But what about the opposition?
Well, Breaffy have been going well in Division 1B of the Mayo GAA senior league, and are in pole position to win promotion back to the top-flight at the end of the season.
Their defence is backboned by Mayo U-21 defender David Gavin and Micheál Jennings while goalkeeper Robert Hennelly is currently keeping David Clarke out of the county senior team.
Mayo panellist Seamus O’Shea has been suffering from a shoulder injury recently but is expected to start at midfield while his younger brother Aidan will probably alternate between midfield, centre-forward and full-forward.
Rory Martyn and Alan Durcan (an excellent free-taker) are also lively forwards with a proven eye for scores.
This is likely to be a close, evenly-contested game and if Ballinrobe can avoid giving away too many scoreable frees, keep a clean sheet, and maybe grab a goal themselves they will be halfway there.
All will be revealed around 3.30pm.
Good luck to one and all.