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The Irish Times - Saturday, April 2, 2011


Congress set to address age-old question


Masters class: (left to right): Mickey Linden (Down), Joe Cooney (Galway), Joe McNally (Dublin), and Gerry McInerney (Galway) have all pursued All-Ireland glory after senior intercounty careers.


ALL-IRELAND MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIPS:  KEITH DUGGAN believes the debate at congress calling for a reinstatement of the Masters hurling and football championships will be fascinating

THE THORNY issue of ageism and the GAA is about to rear its head at Congress later this month. One of the most perennial puzzlers in GAA lore concerns the old question: what happens to all the great minors? But the forgotten part of that equation is: what happens to all the great seniors? What do football and hurling men do after they have passed the peak of their senior careers but aren’t ready to hang up the boots?

The answer may be contained in Motion 40 on page 147 of this year’s Clár. The motion, submitted by the Burrishoole club in Mayo, calls for a reinstatement of the All-Ireland Masters hurling and football championships (a competition tailored for over-40s). The reasoning behind the motion contends there is a sizeable constituency of players who don’t want to quit on their games and take up golf or whist drives simply because they have hit middle age.

“We have this motto,” Michael Weekes, one of the founders of the hurling Master says. “We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.”

That has become the catch cry for several generations of disenfranchised players and it may well serve as the first time that George Bernard Shaw is quoted at Congress. Last year was the first time since 1990 that no Masters competition was held. After initially endorsing the idea with enthusiasm, the GAA gradually went cold on the Masters and have put forward the argument it is an elite competition serving only a small number of players. But Dr Michael Loftus, one of those behind the original incarnation of the Masters, believes a great opportunity is being squandered by cancelling the championship.

“There are Masters competitions in practically all sports, even contact sports. American football has its programme and the Australian Rules run a very successful tournament,” Loftus says. “The response to the All-Ireland Masters was very strong – we had 20 teams taking part, the standard of games was often very high and there was a good social aspect to the tournament. We had no serious injuries. There may have been the odd bit of a row but that was it. It lost its impetus in 2002 and I think it is very sad that the GAA’s interest waned because apart from anything else, it showcases the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as you begin to get older.”

Masters sport flourishes most visibly at individual games: the Irish golfer Christy O’Connor jnr has enjoyed a fine second career on the senior circuit while tennis maestro John McEnroe, now aged 51, continues to give stunning tennis exhibitions throughout the world.

But the idea of mature Gaelic footballers and hurlers is a harder sell. One of the great caricatures in GAA lore is the ageing corner back, the gnarled, greying utility player who started playing when the Horslips were young and went from his days as a feted minor to the notoriously hard tackler who refuses to accept his day is done. The stereotype is, of course, unfair.

The big attraction of the Masters tournament is that it has brought together some of the most celebrated artists in the modern game – Down’s Mickey Linden in football, Joe Cooney of Galway in hurling – with men who never previously represented their county. And because it is not as all-consuming or as deathly serious as the senior All-Ireland, it allowed players to socialise in a way they never could when playing at the peak of their careers.

When Dublin and Mayo met in the 2006 All-Ireland Masters football final on the eve of the senior All-Ireland, 2,000 people showed up to watch the game in Mullingar. Dublin’s Paul Curran, one of the outstanding footballers of the 1990s, played in that match. So too did Joe McNally, easily one of the top-10 folk heroes of the Hill. And what is more, Mayo won an All-Ireland, shedding the senior curse. The Masters has been democratic too. Carlow has appeared in All-Ireland final. Leitrim has played in an All-Ireland final.

“Mickey Quinn, who was an All Star played with us for nine years,” says Terry Short, who trained the Leitrim team for 17 years. “We took it seriously but not overly so. We always had a panel of about 24 and guys would play up until their late 40s, generally much more than that.”

The age limit is – no pun – a grey area. The age was lowered to 35 but there is no maximum. So in theory, you could have a 39-year-old who played county ball just three years earlier running in guerrilla mode to win a breaking ball against a 55-year-old who has not touched his toes for a decade. It is easy to understand that the GAA would hold fears about the danger of someone getting hurt or getting into medical trouble through forgetting they ain’t as young as they used to be. Because of that, they are attempting to introduce a “tag” element to the sport for over-40s.

“Yes, but what you have to look at is that when it was initially talked about, it was never meant to take away competition, it was meant to bring guys in who were retired,” says John Pat Sheridan, the Burrishoole man who has worked hard to bring this motion to fruition. “So the guys gone 10 or 15 years would not fancy playing against players who are out training two nights a week with their clubs. Because we are all able to play competitively at club level so I think the GAA are missing the point.”

His argument is that the Masters regulates itself. Players aren’t going to turn out for a match in which they know they are out of their depth. And the idea of being reduced to “tag” football or hurling is vaguely insulting to men in their 40s and 50s who keep themselves in good shape.

The Downey brothers of Derry do not seem like the tag-football type. The pace of Masters hurling and football may be slightly slower but they still want to play for keeps.

The Masters fraternity may be in the inadvertent victims of the culture within the GAA for younger and younger players. It has become commonplace for players in their early 30s being spoken of as past their prime and for guys in their late 20s to talk of retiring. In the last decade, it has become normal for players to start bowing out – or finding themselves left out of panels – by their early to mid-30s.

“Burn out?” says Sheridan. “I never heard of it.” Sheridan is 51 and still trains with players in their early 20s.

“I have no problem training with them and they have no problem training with me. There is a reason why these guys are able to play football in their 40s and 50s. It is because they looked after themselves in their young years. It doesn’t seem fair that players aren’t allowed to enter All-Ireland competition just because they turn 40.

“You are senior from 21 until you get your pension book. And it is not fair. I would like to see debate on it and would like to see the county boards backing the wishes of the players of the country. I have always heard that players are the most important and there is a lot of support for the reinstatement of the hurling and football Masters.”

One of the least discussed problems within the GAA is the psychological trauma that the top players encounter once they retire from the game. Some cope with it better than others but it is only in recent years that the severe change in a lifestyle – previously defined by a training timetable and the adrenaline rush of championship Sundays – can leave some players at loss as to how to replace it.

The Masters at least offers some sort of continuation; a more gradual retreat from the scene. But the 20 years of competition suggests it is not merely a grazing ground for well known names. In theory, there is nothing to prevent Cork and Mayo, for instance, from fielding the teams who contested the 1989 All-Ireland final.

“There isn’t, but the reality is that many of those players have finished up,” says Sheridan. “Pat Fallon and Anthony McGarry were the main two from that team who stayed involved. After that, the team was made up of ordinary guys like myself who had never played at county level. And to get an official All-Ireland medal is a fantastic thing.”

Hurling has also lent itself to longevity in a way that might surprise people. Stick craft is one of the last things to leave a hurler. “I wish more people in Central Council would see a Masters game because the quality is very high,” Michael Weekes says.

“Gerry McInerney is still hurling Junior B with Kinvara and he is 47 now. Actually, he may well have the cup because he was captain of the Galway team that won the last All-Ireland in 2006. But players want to stay active and it seems a shame that there isn’t a competition for them.”

There was a time when the Masters All-Ireland was deemed sufficiently important that it was scheduled before the annual under-21 final. Michael Loftus still has an Ard Stuirtoir’s report from 1993 in which the success of the Masters was subject to glittering praise. The argument that it is an elite competition doesn’t hold water for those lobbying for its return.

As John Pat Sheridan points out, the same holds true for the International Rules competition. And if the Masters was promoted, then it could lead to the creation of a club competition for players in their 40s.

Regardless of what happens at Congress, the motion makes for a fascinating debate. And it is hard to argue against the truth that when a player – even those who enjoyed the most glittering careers – is no longer up to senior hurling or football, he is quickly discarded. Talk to any ex-hurler or footballer and they take pride in never being sentimental or precious about the fact there will always be someone to take their place. But it doesn’t make the truth of it any less hurtful.

So what happens to the seniors is that we quickly forget about them until some day a quarter of a century after their best days they parade with their team-mates at half-time on All-Ireland day. Motion 40 argues that the day of hanging up the boots at 38 or 39 has become dated.

Will it pass?

That depends on how well the Masters around Ireland have lobbied their delegates.

But you know what they say about older players: they read the game well.


Courtesy of THE IRISH TIMES:

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The Independent

Eugene McGee: GAA should revive the fun factor


By Eugene McGee
Monday March 28 2011


The GAA never bothered with recreational sport -- games which are organised solely for players who are too bad, too old or too lazy to join in the trench warfare that exists in normal club activity.

Having a bit of craic when playing a match is never mentioned in the Official Guide. Instead, every game has to be treated like a life-or-death affair. But nowadays, lots of people would just like to play football or hurling for the fun of it, but get little chance to do so.

About 20 years ago the GAA Masters competition, confined to players over 40, was initiated mainly by former president Dr Mick Loftus, himself a wonderful advertisement for lifelong fitness.

Around 16 county teams took part and it was a great success socially for a while.

Inevitably some of the veterans, who had been famous as hard men, retained their old killer streak and behaved as if they were 20 instead of 40-plus. Eventually the GAA took a dim view of this on health and safety grounds and the competition was officially scrapped.

It was greatly missed by many former players as an aid to health and fitness and there will be a move at Congress this year to revive it. The problem areas, such as risk of injury etc, will be addressed in an effort to make the games purely recreational -- in or other words, just for fun.

It's certainly worth trying to revive the concept under strict conditions -- just look at how tag rugby has swept the country.

- Eugene McGee

Irish Independent


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Burrishoole Club's Motion to Congress 2011

40) Amend Rule 6.28 O.G. by including the following as Section(I) (with current Section (I) becoming Section (J)):  “All-Ireland Masters (over 40’s) football and hurling Championships shall be organised by Central Council. The Central Competitions Controls Committee shall give permission to  Counties to participate. The Competitions shall be played in two groups with a Quarter-Final, Semi-Final and Final.”

Burrishoole, maigh eo

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Abolishing Masters GAA shows Croker is losing it


Abolishing Masters GAA shows Croker is losing it

Byline: Joe BROLLY

THE GAP between the GAA hierarchy and the GAA community is widening. On top of everything else, the PLC has now abolished the over-40's All-Ireland football series in favour of what they describe as 'recreational, noncontact games'. At 40 years old, we are not ready for the old people's home of touch football just yet. Our games last year, particularly against the Dubs in the round robin section and then Tyrone in the semifinal, were hard running, bone-shaking affairs.

Now, we are barred from playing on GAA grounds. It is a disgrace.

I play for Derry Masters as part of a training panel of nearly 40. There are no travel or other expenses. We play for honour and enjoyment. The majority haven't played senior football for the county but still play for our clubs. Most take underage teams or maintain a strong unpaid role. Training is regular and well attended.

In common with the other counties, we are devastated by the decision. There has been no proper explanation, because there is none.

Insult was added to injury when the suits this week explained that the competition had merely 'served the interests of a small elite'. And here's me thinking the only small elite in the GAA is the GPA and their [euro]1.2 million per annum...




Mayo Over-40s captain demands answers

The May News

Mayo Over-40s captain demands answers

Tuesday, 17 August 2010 11:19




‘We want some answers!’

Mayo Masters captain calls on Croke Park officials to meet him face-to-face

Mike Finnerty

THE captain of the Mayo over 40s football team has called on GAA President Christy Cooney or Ard Stiúrthóir Padraic Duffy to meet him face-to-face to explain why the competition has been scrapped by Croke Park.
John Pat Sheridan from Burrishoole slammed the GAA’s decision to deny him ‘the right’ to play over 40s football for Mayo and disputed Croke Park’s view that the competition was only catering for ‘a small elite’.
Speaking to The Mayo News last night, Sheridan explained that Mayo Masters players have been unable to secure a meeting with GAA officials at Croke Park to discuss the matter, despite repeated efforts over the last six months.
He also revealed that a motion passed at the Mayo GAA convention last December, which called on the GAA to recognise the Masters championship as an official All-Ireland competition, wasn’t heard at the GAA’s Annual Congress.
The popular Mayo skipper was speaking in the wake of correspondence from Croke Park last week which was received by Mayo GAA Secretary, Seán Feeney, relating to the All-Ireland Masters competition which was scrapped last month to make way for recreational, non-contact football for over 40s.
Feeney, on behalf of the Mayo GAA executive, had asked Croke Park officials to reinstate the original championship. However, their response was unequivocal.
Their statement said that the GAA was ‘fully in favour’ of involving older players in recreational games and competitions but were, ‘not willing to sanction structures to competitions that essentially limit participation and make such games the preserve of a single panel within any given county’.
The spokesperson also stressed the popularity of the recreational game and concluded by saying that this was, ‘the best way forward for our Association, if we are to serve the huge number of older members of our Association that are interested in playing hurling and football, and not just a small elite, that wish to play at inter-county level.’
“It’s a sad situation when you can’t even get a hearing,” said John Pat Sheridan. “I have tried every avenue possible through Burrishoole GAA club to find out what’s going on, and I have failed every time. The next time you hear people in Croke Park talking about the grassroots you can take it with a pinch of salt. The gap between them and us is getting wider and wider all the time.
“This competition has been here since 1990 and caters for anybody who wants to play Masters football,” he added. “Nobody has ever been turned away.
“In terms of recreational football, I don’t know how lads who haven’t played football for ten or fifteen years would feel about the likes of Michael John Walsh from Tourmakeady or Noel Stagg from Hollymount, lads who still play with their clubs, turning up to play non-contact, recreational football.
“The vast majority of the Mayo over 40s squad have never worn a county jersey, including myself,” continued Sheridan, who still lines out with his club’s Junior B team. “And I resent being called, ‘an elite player’. The GAA, for me, is about participation, involvement and enjoyment. And the Mayo Masters lads all enjoy ourselves.”
The Mayo masters squad, who won the All-Ireland title last year, have continued to train in recent weeks and are planning to ask club delegates at the next Mayo GAA Board meeting for their support again.
“It’s the only avenue open to us,” said John Pat Sheridan. “I would love to sit down with Christy Cooney or Padraic Duffy and put our case to him. There’s a reason that lads still play football at 40. We’ve seen and done it all before. And we’re going nowhere.
“Plus, what’s the definition of a Masters player? There is no such definition. For GAA purposes we are all identified as senior players. So, does that mean that the likes of Noel Stagg can’t play for the Hollymount club anymore? Can I not play junior ‘B’ for Burrishoole? Who says who can or can’t play contact sport?”
All questions that remain to be answered.


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Masters ? is this the end

Masters ? is this the end

Courtesy: Galway GAA Website

Date : 28/07/2010 19:57
The Masters (Over 40) Footall Competition has been scrapped by Croke Parks Competition Control Committee (CCC). The competition had already begun and Galway had prepared with challenge games v Corofin, Oughterard and Mountbellew/Moylough. The team was defeated last Thursday night in Shrule by Masters All-Ireland champions Mayo on a scoreline of 1-16 to 1-5. Preparations were at an advanced stage to play Derry in Tubercurry Co Sligo when news came through of the CCC decision.
A GAA committee has been set up to look in to the playing of football on a more casual basis. This Social and Recreational football would involve no contact, one hop one solo and could involve anything from 5-a-side to 15-a-side.
The Masters players are up in arms over this and would have no interest in this type of game. The Competition was very popular with past club and county players like Kevin Walsh(Killannin), Brian Silke(Corofin) Francis McWalter(Monivea/Abbeyknockmoy) all involved in the panel. Almost to a man they are all heavily involved in their communities in coaching managing or administration of their GAA clubs.



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Game over for Mayo Over-40s

Courtesy: The May News

Monday, 19 July 2010 19:23

Mike Finnerty

THE Mayo masters football team have been left with no option but to disband after the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) of the GAA decided to shelve the Over-40s championship last week.
The reigning All-Ireland champions learned of the competition’s fate after a training session last Tuesday night — just days before they were due to play their second game of the season against Sligo.
The Mayo News understands that the masters, a competition which caters for Over-40s footballers, has officially been suspended by the CCCC because it had become ‘too serious’.
This means that the competitive football careers of the likes of Burrishoole’s John Pat Sheridan, Swinford’s Kieran Gallagher, former Mayo All Star Pat Fallon, Castlebar’s Paul Jordan and Kilmeena’s Darren Madden are now over.
Ger Butler, one of the chief organisers of the Mayo squad for the last five years, spoke last week of his disappointment and anger at the GAA’s decision.
“Our players are very angry, disappointed and confused,” the Shrule native told The Mayo News. “We cannot understand why they want to get rid of the competition. It doesn’t cost Croke Park a cent. Last year we even bought our medals for the All-Ireland final.
“The craic was great and we made some great friends,” he added. “I’m completely baffled. We’re always told that life begins at 40. In the GAA life ends at 40.”
It seems that the GAA are looking to integrate masters football into a new social and recreational games model which is being rolled out by a new division of the association, headed by Pat Daly.
The rules of this new model are modified to make it non-contact, allow a clean pick and just two plays of the ball before release. It is envisaged that this game will appeal to those who want to play a less competitive brand of hurling and football.
“We’ve spent two years trying to sit down with authorities in Croke Park to discuss this matter but they never agreed to meet us,” explained Ger Butler.
“We also sent a motion to Congress from Mayo last April asking the GAA to recognise masters football but it never made the clár. Somebody in authority did not want masters football to continue.”
“There is competitive blood in all of us,” he continued. “Many of those involved still play junior football with our clubs. Out of a Mayo squad of 36, about 34 coach Gaelic football at some level.
“I’d say 95pc of those playing masters football will not continue to play if we are integrated into social and recreational games.”
This suspension of the masters competition comes less than four months after Mayo were presented with their 2009 All-Ireland medals.
Speaking on that occasion, then-Mayo manager, Kenneth Mortimer, was scathing in his criticism of the GAA’s attitude to the over-40s competition.
“It’s time to wake up,” said the two-time All Star. “The promotion of our games begins and ends with these men and people like them. If we don’t utilise these men for the betterment of the GAA we’re in trouble.
“These are the men who hold the future of football in their hands. They’re the men who are out there in the morning training the kids, they’re the men who are marking the pitch, coaching the skills, handing on the love of football. If they’re not utilised and recognised properly we’re doing them a disservice.
“If the GAA deny them the chance to play competitive football they’re going against the very principles upon which the GAA was founded,” said Mortimer.
The Mayo masters squad are due to meet later this week to discuss the issue further.


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Masters anger as GAA tells golden oldies to call it a day

By Colm Keys.

Irish Independent

Friday July 16 2010

The GAA's masters football competition has been shelved, to the dismay of many former top inter-county footballers, because it has become too serious.
The masters, a competition tailored for Over-40s, has officially been suspended by the CCCC, under whose remit it falls. But the GAA are looking to integrate it into a new social and recreational games model which is being rolled out by a new division of the association, headed by Pat Daly.
Social and recreational Gaelic games was piloted last month -- the rules are modified to make it non-contact, allow a clean pick and just two plays of the ball before release. It is envisaged that the scheme will interest those who want to play a less competitive brand of hurling and football.
But masters footballers are up in arms over the move to pull the plug on their competition at this stage.

Ger Butler, the man responsible for organising the Mayo team which has been managed by former inter-county player Kenneth Mortimer, says the GAA have yet to give a proper reason for suspending it.
Mayo won their first game last week against Galway and were training on Tuesday for their next game against Sligo when word came through that the competition was under suspension.
Butler admits masters football has been "teetering on the brink" for some time because of a lack of commitment from the GAA at central level.
"They just don't want it and that has been obvious for some years now," he said.

Down's Ross Carr and Mickey Linden, Dublin's Paul Curran, Joe McNally, John O'Leary and Jack Sheedy, Wicklow's Kevin O'Brien, Derry's Joe Brolly, Donegal's Brian Murray and Pat Fallon, Peter Ford, Liam McHale and Anthony McGarry have all played masters football.
Butler claims that roadblocks have been put up regularly in recent years to try to put it out of existence.
"There have been issues with insurance. Dublin players paid their own insurance this year, no problem, when it came up. They were happy to do that. Last year we paid for our own All-Ireland medals when we won it. Again, no problem," said Butler.
"There is competitive blood in all of us. Many of those involved still play junior football with our clubs. Out of a Mayo squad of 36, some 34 coach Gaelic football at some level. Now they want us to perhaps play a game that we aren't coaching, that we didn't grow up with and don't play.
"I'd say 95pc of those playing masters football will not continue to play if we are integrated into social and recreational games."

Butler points to rugby which caters for 'tag rugby' and also competitive Over-35s games.
He said incidents on masters pitches have been rare, denying it has become too serious.
"From talking to one GAA official recently, that's the vibe I got. We sent a motion to Congress from Mayo last April asking the GAA to recognise masters football but it never made the clár."
- Colm Keys

Irish Independent



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Seek Restoration of Over-40s competition

Courtesy: The May News

MAYO GAA Board will contact Croke Park “to seek restoration” of the Masters Football competition, James Waldron told last week’s meeting.
A Ballaghaderreen delegate said that Mayo Over-40s captain John Pat Sheridan was “the last man I heard speak with passion” about Mayo football. Mattie Murphy (Shrule/Glencorrib) and John Farragher (Garrymore) both expressed support for reinstating the competition.

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Masters Bate as Croke Park Pulls Out


No greater love can a man have for his county than to keep going til' he's over forty!



In recent years the playing of Masters football – over 40s to you and I -  has provided a platform for former county men and nearly men who never quite managed to hit the heights when they were younger.

Like a sort of sporting viagra, Masters football has given many’s the lad a new lease of life. The fellas once again have the opportunity to stand proud to attention before the action begins as the national anthem plays. They may no longer be able to offer the width and penetration they once promised, but their increased experience means they can conserve themselves and perform to level that delivers more satisfying results.

Now the CCCC has suspended the competition, hoping to integrate it into a new social and recreational games model which is being rolled out by a new division of the association, headed by Pat Daly.

Social and recreational Gaelic games was piloted last month — the rules are modified to make it non-contact, allow a clean pick and just two plays of the ball before release. It is envisaged that the scheme will interest those who want to play a less competitive brand of hurling and football.

The Powers That Be were apparently concerned that Masters football had become too competitive. Never mind the fact that these are consenting adults, perfectly happy to get it on with other like-minded people.

Last year we watched the great Henry Downey in action for the Derry over forties. Nothing had changed, maybe there was a yard of two off the original pace but he was still able to ghost across the pitch effortlessly taking up the right positions, covering danger and breaking forward distributing the ball or kicking great scores.

Can these guys not just be allowed to get on with it without interference from Croke Park. Like, there are still over forties playing club football in some places and its is precisely because of their experience, dedication and enthusiasm for the hard battle that they are still there!





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All quiet on the Mayo manager front

Courtesy:  The Mayo News

by Mike Finnerty Tuesday, 17 August 2010 11:24

MEANWHILE, the Mayo over-40s captain, John Pat Sheridan, has offered to lead the Masters team to New York to play in the FBD League Final if no manager is in place by mid-October. “Let there be no rush to appoint a senior manager,“ he said. “I know a bunch of footballers that are trained and ready to go over and represent the county.”
The over-40s are currently sidelined after the All-Ireland Masters championship was disbanded by GAA officials last month.


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mayo win all ireland masters gaa final
A jubilant Mayo team and management pictured after winning the All-Ireland Masters football final against Tyrone in Abbeylara, Longford

The true masters of Mayo football willl celebrate their third All-Ireland title in 4 years in Westport on Saturday night.

Picture David Farrell Photography

On the 20th December 2009, the Mayo Masters won their third All -Ireland title in 4 years by beating Tyrone 1 – 8 to 0 – 7 in Abbylara, Co. Longford.

To celebrate this feat a victory dinner dance is to take place on Saturday 27th March in the superbly appointed Knockranny House Hotel in Westport. A great night of entertainment is assured with former Mayo greats such as Pat Fallon, Anthony McGarry, Johnny Leonard, Kieran Gallagher amongst others in attendance.

Tickets are priced at €35 and music is with Matts Lads. Any people interested in attending should contact local squad and organising committee members Charlie Lambert 087 8109596 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            087 8109596      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or John Pat Sheridan 087 72226214



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Longford Masters Celebrate 10 Year Anniversary of All Ireland Vicrory

Longford Masters 10 Year Anniversary Celebrations

August 2010

Plans are a foot to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of our All Ireland Masters victory. Provisional plans are to get the 2000 and the 2010 panels and their partners together for two nights during the first weekend in December 2010, in Galway. Everyone who would like to travel whether they played Masters football or not are more than welcome to attend. A meeting will be held within the next week to discuss plans. Please phone Brendan Gilmore or Kevin Durkin on 086 8558225 if you would like to travel.



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Profile of former Westmeath Player Tom Darcy

 by Ballymore GAA Club

Sometimes Tom Darcy wishes he was 10 years younger. If he was, he would almost certainly have played a part in Westmeath’s historic Leinster football championship success in 2004.
It’s widely acknowledged that the seeds for that breakthrough victory were sown a decade earlier during Mattie Kerrigan’s tenure as Westmeath manager. In 1992, just a few weeks before Westmeath were due to play in the first round of the Leinster championship, the Summerhill man agreed to take on one of the least desirable positions in inter-county football.

Westmeath beat Carlow before going on to give the Mick O’Dwyer-managed Kildare a big fright in the provincial semi-final. Westmeath continued to improve over the next few years with the highpoint of the Kerrigan era being the sensational National Football League quarter-final victory over All-Ireland champions Derry on Easter Sunday 1994. But sadly for Darcy, his Westmeath career was coming to a close around then and he would never know what it was like to experience the thrill of winning a Leinster championship in the maroon jersey.

“I was delighted for the lads involved, especially for the likes of Paul Conway and Rory O’Connell who were starting out around the same time as I was finishing up. I would loved to have played in 2004 or even in 2001 when Westmeath reached the All-Ireland quarter-final and were unlucky to lose to Meath after a replay.
“But that’s the way it goes and you’ve got to accept the hand you’ve been dealt. There are hundreds of other footballers who never won anything with Westmeath, but at least now we can all say that we saw the county winning a Leinster title.”

Widely regarded as one of the most capable defenders the county has ever produced, Rosemount clubman Darcy’s senior career with Westmeath spanned from 1983 to ’94. For much of that time, Westmeath languished in the lower divisions and Tom’s only reward was an O’Byrne Cup winners’ medal in 1988.
A year after he was overlooked for the Westmeath minor football team, Darcy made his senior debut away to Donegal in a National League clash in October 1983. Westmeath lost the game 1-5 to 0-12, but Tom acquitted himself well by holding Martin McHugh scoreless from play.

The Lake County were managed at the time by Paddy Buckley from Drumraney, while the training duties were carried out by Joe Mulligan, a brother of Offaly 1971 and ’72 All-Ireland winner Eugene. “We used to train in the Carmelite College in Moate. The training was fairly tough – certainly a lot tougher than what I’d been used to with the club,” Darcy recalls.
Despite finishing bottom of Division 3 in 1983/84, Westmeath pulled off a huge shock in the 1984 Centenary Cup when they defeated the All-Ireland champions Dublin by 0-7 to 0-5 at Cusack Park. Tom missed the game due to a hand injury he sustained in a work accident but was back for the next round when Westmeath came a cropper against Wexford in Wexford Park.
The Birr-based butcher points out that Westmeath’s attempts to make progress during that period were stifled by emigration. “We lost a lot of good footballers through emigration that time, including Willie Lowry and Brian McCabe. Having said that, I don’t think we were as badly hit as the hurlers who lost nearly all of their best players. It was no coincidence that Westmeath had the best football and hurling teams in New York at the time.”

The O’Byrne Cup win of 1988 was arguably the highlight of the 1980s from a Lake County football perspective. Westmeath beat Laois in the final after extra-time and seemed poised to make a big impact in that year’s Leinster championship. But as Tom ruefully reflects, it didn’t work out like that.
“At that time, the O’Byrne Cup was played just before the championship and we were on a real high after beating a strong Laois team in the final. But some of us may have lost the run of ourselves and we got an awful land when Longford beat us in the first round of the championship in Pearse Park. It was a real pity because we had a nice bit of momentum behind us going into that game and there was no way of getting it back once you were beaten in the championship.”

The early 1990s were among the bleakest years in the history of Westmeath football. In 1990, Westmeath took two unmerciful beatings from Galway and Offaly in Ballinasloe and Moate respectively.
“It was difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel,” Tom remembers.
“Things had got so bad that we were struggling to put a team out on the field. There was a terrible lack of interest. We had good players, and had been unlucky to lose to Offaly in the 1989 Leinster championship in Tullamore, but the interest just wasn’t there.

“Because Dublin and Meath were untouchable in Leinster at the time, I think a lot of the other teams in the province lost hope, including Westmeath. It took Kildare to break that monopoly and by doing so, they opened the door for the likes of Laois and Westmeath to come through and win Leinster titles.”

Of course, the arrival of Mattie Kerrigan changed attitudes in Westmeath football forever. The team’s glorious run to the 1994 National League semi-final captured the imagination of the entire county and was the catalyst for the All-Ireland minor and under 21 successes in 1995 and ’99, as well as for the Leinster senior triumph in 2004.
“Mattie united the whole county. He got the players, supporters and the county board behind him. I’d say the ’94 league was the first year we started to get a bit of luck. John Murray scored a last-minute goal to beat Wicklow, and then Dermot Ryan saved a penalty in the last-minute against Longford to hand us the Division 4 title and send us through to the quarter-final.
“We then went on to shock Derry before losing narrowly to Meath in the league semi-final. I missed a lot of that campaign through suspension, but I can still remember the huge reception we got in Kinnegad on our return from Croke Park. It was as if we had just won a Leinster or All-Ireland title.”

“I think that was the turning point for Westmeath football. It created a feel good factor and helped to get the youngsters interested.”
Tom’s last appearance for Westmeath was in the 1994 Leinster championship when Westmeath suffered a surprise 1-9 to 0-13 loss to a Stefan White-inspired Louth at Pairc Chiarain in Athlone. It was one of several setbacks Westmeath would suffer before the Delaney Cup was finally captured three years ago.
“The defeat to Louth was a big disappointment because we genuinely felt we could do well in the championship that year. It reminded me a bit of 1988 when we lost to Longford after winning the O’Byrne Cup. But at least the 1994 league wasn’t a false dawn.

“After missing a good part of the league, I was recalled at full back for the Louth game. It wasn’t a nice way to bow out, but we had good young defenders like John O’Brien and Michael Broder coming through and they deserved to play.”
Tom’s club career proved to be much more successful. He won championships at under 16 and minor level and played in three under 21 finals before captaining Rosemount to a famous senior football championship triumph in 1989. A 1-9 to 0-5 victory over Athlone in the final ended a 36-year wait for Flanagan Cup honours for the black and ambers.
Rosemount went on to contest two more finals in 1993 and ’95, losing both of them to Mullingar Shamrocks. “Mullingar had a super team at the time and were very hard to beat once they got into a final. We would have had a far better chance of beating them if we had met them in a quarter-final or semi-final,” Tom says.

Darcy also played in the 2001 intermediate final which the Roses lost to St. Malachy’s. He continued to line out for the club at junior ’B’ level until 2004, but came out of retirement to help Longford win an All-Ireland Masters (Over 40s) title the following year. He was joined on that team by fellow county men John ’Jockey’ Healy, Willie Finerty, Ollie Rogers and Padraig ’Amby’ Fogarty.

“I was working and living in Longford at the time and was asked if I’d be interested in playing for them. There was no rule preventing players from other counties playing with them, so I said I’d give it a go.
“I must say I was surprised by how seriously teams take Masters football and it was obviously a big thrill to beat a very strong Down team in the final. It was a great way to finish my playing career.”

Married to Catherine, Tom has two children, Stephen and Sinead. Stephen has followed in his father’s footsteps by donning the famed black and amber jersey and was a key member of the under 21 team that upset the odds to reach last year’s under 21 final.

Like all Rosemount supporters, Tom has been greatly saddened by the club’s recent demise which culminated in relegation to the junior ranks for the first time since 1928 last year.
“It was a huge disappointment for everyone associated with the club and I’d say there are some supporters who still can’t quite believe it. But it has happened and the players have got to forget about last year and concentrate on winning this year’s junior championship. Rosemount reached last year’s under 21 final so there is obviously young talent in the club,” concludes Tom who, as he embarks on a new management career with Ballymore, will always be remembered as one of Rosemount and Westmeath’s finest players.


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Australian Football League AFL and Cumann Luthchleas Gael, Masters Compromise Rules 2009 Series


Fixtures: Second Test: Saturday the 31st of October. St Anne's, Bohernabreena, Dublin. B Game @ 1.00pm.   A Game @ 3.00pm


Australia International Rules Masters Team 2009


Highlights from the 2008 Senior International Rules game at Subiaco, Western Australia



International Compromise Rules Masters 2009 Series. Warm Up Game. Cavan. Album.


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Clann na nGael to host International Rules game

Courtesy of


Whilst the International Rules series has been put on hold for 2009 the series at Masters level will continue over the coming two weekends when the Australian Wombats come visiting.

The series commenced in 2002 when a Dublin selection played the Australian visitors followed the following year by a visit to Australia by a group from Dublin. In 2004 the Australians visited Ireland and played two tests with Ireland winning both games. Ireland visited Australia in April 2006 and retained the trophy, with the Australians visiting us in October 2008 but being unable to wrest the trophy, which had been renamed after one of the stalwarts of the Masters game Paddy Gaffney, from our possession. The Australians had their first victory in the series in October 2008 when Ireland visited Australia but returned minus the trophy - a situation which we hope to rectify over the next couple of weeks.

The Australians first game here is on Friday 23rd October when they play an Irish Selection in a non test match at Kingspan Breifni Park, Cavan (7.30pm start).

The first in the two test series will take place at the splendid Clann na Gael at Johnstown outside Athlone on Sunday 25th October. A “B” game commences proceedings at 2.30pm followed by the "A" game at 4.30pm. The Clann na Gael club have put together a great programme to ensure that this will be a memorable occasion.

The second test will be held at St. Anne’s in Bohernabreena on Saturday 31st October. The home club of Dublin’s Joe and Alan McNally are planning a spectacular Halloween welcome for the Wombats. Proceedings get under way with a "B" game at 1.00pm followed by the "A" test at 3.00pm.

The Full Irish Panel for both the A and B games is as follows;











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Clann na nGael Notes 27th of October 2009

International Rules
On Sunday last Clann na nGael hosted an international game at Johntsown for the first time in the club's history. Australia came with a big reputation but Ireland put them to the sword with a 79 to 8 win in the 'B' game. In the 'A' game scores were that little bit harder to get and Australia ran out 31 to 25 winners. This result sets up a great second test which will be played in St Ann’s club in Dublin. A great day was had by all in the clubhouse before, during and after the games.


The club would like to thank the Australian and Irish teams for their presentations on Sunday evening. The day wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for all the help received on the day. So thank you to all those who helped out on the day.


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Irish GAA International Rules Masters B Panel v Australia in St Annes, Bohernabreena, October 2009


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Galway Irish Panel Members with Sponsored Irish Jersey 2009


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Sheridan states Masters case


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Courtesy The Western People

THE mystery of a disappearing trophy and a competition ignored by the upper echelons of the GAA grabbed the attention of the delegates late on in proceedings in The Castlecourt.

A huge round of applause echoed around the convention centre following John Pat Sheridan’s impassioned and well-worded address regarding the over-40s football competition at national level. The Burrishoole clubman and Mayo Masters captain, was speaking on a motion which proposed that the over-40s senior inter-county competition be adopted properly as an All-Ireland championship.

The legendary full-back described the pride and honour felt by those who represented Mayo at Masters level. He outlined the effort they exerted and described the joy felt by all who wore the Green and Red beside him.

A number of the Mayo Masters panel were in attendance and were given a rousing round of applause by the delegates.

“The reason we play football is that we love football. This is about playing football, our only opportunity to play football. We love it and we love playing for Mayo. We train hard, we put a big effort in and we represent Mayo very well.

“This is a great competition but we get no backing from Croke Park. In 2006 we won the All-Ireland and later that year had a presentation function, but the cup disappeared. Each player thought another had brought it with him to show around the schools or whatever, but we soon discovered that the cup had disappeared and a short while later discovered that the competition had disappeared as well.

“The following year a competition was organised and we beat a very, very good Down team in the final, but got no medals from Croke Park. I think that in this the 125th anniversary of the founding of the GAA a section of the organisation is being forgotten about.”

Former President of the GAA, Dr Mick Loftus, strongly supported the motion and explained that the competition began as a competitive All-Ireland championship. He commended the Mayo team for their wonderful effort and dedication and added that everything should be done to establish the competition on a firm footing once again.

James Waldron also expressed his admiration for the Mayo team and said that the players were an extremely dedicated bunch. He added that there was a problem with how some at a higher level view the competition but assured the convention that Mayo will do everything to bring the issue to the forefront of discussions.

Mayo captain, Pat Fallon, with the All-Ireland Masters trophy following the 2006 defeat of Dublin. Mayo retained their title a year later but the players believe they’re looked upon as second class citizens within the GAA.


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Mayo Masters power way past Tyrone

Monday, 21 December 2009

Mayo continued their dominance of the All-Ireland Masters Football competition with a 1-08 to 0-07 victory over Tyrone in Abbeylara.

Mayo, champions in 2006 and 2007 and beaten finalists in 2008, started brightly and Johnnie Leonard opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a point from play. Tyrone soon levelled matters with a point from Hugh Quinn.

Ger Butler tapped over a free for Mayo, but Tyrone were starting to get on top and John McIlhome evened things up in the 12th minute.

Tyrone kept Mayo pinned back for long periods and took the lead in the 17th minute with a point from Vinny Owens.

Hugh Quinn sent a rasper narrowly wide, before Paul Jordan levelled for Mayo. Tyrone added three further points through two frees from Eamonn Kavanagh and Fergal Gormley whilst Noel Stagg replied for Mayo to leave Tyrone ahead at the break, 0-6 to 0-4.

In the second-half Mayo dominated and narrowed the gap with a point from Michael Walsh.

Tyrone were struggling at the back, and in the 14th minute Leonard blasted to the net to give Mayo a lead they never lost.

The Ulster side narrowed the gap with their only score of the second-half, a free from Kavanagh in the 19th minute.

The Mayo forwards continued to run at their opponents and three points in the last ten minutes from Kieran Gallagher two frees, and Leonard from play saw them lead by four with time almost up.

Sean Darcy for Tyrone did have a chance of a goal, but his shot was well smothered by Mayo goalkeeper Declan O’Boyle.


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Green and Red Mayo Blog

Mayo GAA news, views and over a century of results 


All-Ireland glory for Mayo Masters

Hearty congratulations to the county’s over-40s, who did the business down in Abbeylara earlier this afternoon.  They beat Tyrone in the All-Ireland Masters final by 1-8 to 0-7 to claim a third All-Ireland title in four years.  The only details I have on the game is this pithy notice on Midwest but if I see any more detailed reports on the match, I’ll post them here.  Well done, lads – a few hot ones are in order after that, I reckon!

Posted by: Willie Joe


Congrats to all the team you deserve it special congrats to my brother Tim Moriarty, your ace, love from Australia
By: Angelina Kelly on December 20th, 2009
at 1:41 pm


thanks Willie Joe for your coverage of this forgotten all ireland series
By: Mayo_lad on December 20th, 2009
at 9:21 pm


It was yourself, Mayo Lad, who first mentioned it and I don’t think I’d have picked up on it had you not done so. There’s a bit more coverage on the final in Hogan Stand here.
By: Willie Joe on December 20th, 2009
at 9:37 pm


Congrats to my brother and Uncle Gerard Butler for another All Ireland also Pat Fallon and all the Team.
By: Colette, Pete & Alex on December 20th, 2009
at 11:08 pm


Here’s another match report on the final, this time in this morning’s Indo.
By: Willie Joe on December 21st, 2009
at 10:20 am


Brilliant stuff Mayo
By: RogerMilla on December 21st, 2009
at 2:21 pm


Well done to one and all on the Mayo team. I am getting alzhimers , I was certain that it was Derry that they were playing in the final, hence the rant at Brolly. Apologies.
By: ontheroad on December 21st, 2009
at 4:07 pm


wel done Ken got the all ireland win as manager you deserved as a player!
By: km79 on December 23rd, 2009
at 12:03 pm

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One last chance to win an All-Ireland this year

Courtesy Mayo GAA Blog

The Festive Season is almost upon us but there’s still one final chance for us to end the year with a national title in the sack, as the county’s over-40 team faces Tyrone in the All-Ireland Masters Final at Abbeylara, Longford, this coming Saturday (19th) where throw-in set for 1 pm.  My thanks to Mayo Lad for bringing this to my attention: like almost everyone else, I was blissfully unaware that the over-40s’ championship season was set to reach its apotheosis in the run-up to Christmas and, having done some online rooting around over the last few days, it’s obvious that this particular championship is surviving on very thin rations where it comes to official support or media coverage.

My cybersweep did turn up confirmation about the date and time for this weekend’s decider and I also came across match reports on both our lads’ win over a very strong-looking Dublin team and Tyrone’s victory over Derry in last weekend’s semi-finals.  In addition, I found this piece in the Western that underscores the Cinderella status of Gaelic football at this level.

Well, I hope you do get to go to the ball next weekend, lads – at least those ageing Nordies shouldn’t be as adept at the swarm welcome as their younger brethren are so there should be no fears on that score.  We have a very good record at this unheralded level in recent years – with back-to-back All-Ireland victories in 2006 and 2007 – and so revenge for those senior and minor reverses to the Red Hand in 2008 could, then, be on the cards at Abbeylara this coming Saturday.  Best of luck, hombres.

Posted by: Willie Joe



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Galway Masters Football 2009
The Galway Mastersfootball team took to the field in 2009 after a lapse of several years. Former Galway senior player Peter Lee was the manager and the team prepared early in the season with games against Dublin and Mayo. A great weekend of football was had in May when the Galway Masters took on their London counterparts. The same weekend the Galway U-16 panel and Galway seniors played in Ruislip. The competition was set to start up in May but ran in to administrative difficulties. Eventually the competition started in September. While Galway defeated Leitrim they were beaten by Mayo and Roscommon. They now join teams from Ulster and Leinster in the Sheild competition.
The Galway Masters team who played Mayo on Sunday 29th March 2009
Back Row L-R; Peter Lee(Manager), James Concannon(Claregalway), Tom Reilly (Clonbur), Eamon Walsh(Oughterard), Tim Flaherty(Spiddal), Kevin Conneely(Ml Breathnachs), Vinnie Larkin(Leitirmor). Matt Duggan(Annaghdown), Cyril Ryan(Mountbellew), Paul Concannon(Claregalway), Frances McWalter(Monivea/Abbeyknockmoy), David McGinn(Oughterard).
Front row L-R; Pat Burke(Oughterard), PJ Kelly(Salthill/Knocknacarra), Séamus Glynn(Caherlistrane), Brendan McDermot(St Brendans), Ger Lee (Headford), Harry Walsh(Oughterard), Tom Greaney (Corofin), Séamus Healy(Annaghdown)
Missing from photo Ger O Farrell(Headford), Davy Walsh (St Michaels), John Fallon (Oranmore), Kevin Walsh (Killannin), Tadhg O Curaoin, Stephen Joyce(Clonbur), Davy Carr (Barna), Ricky Flaherty (St Michaels), Kevin “Terry” McDonagh (Carraroe), Seán Clancy(Spiddal), Seamus O Ráinne(Leitirmor), Brian Silke(Corofin), Vinnie Arkins( Claregalway), Paul Curran(Annaghdown),Paul Bradley (Cortoon) Ger O Farrell (Salthill/Knocknacarra),
International Rules
Six Galway players made the Irish International rules panel for 2009. Training took place in Breffni Park Cavan every Wednesday and Saturday during the month of September. The Irish team won the “B” series but lost the “A” series by a margin of 2 points.
The Irish team was sponsored by “Go Play” the playground equipment company. Photo shows the six Galway players with the Irish Jersey.L-R Tom Greaney (Corofin), Harry Walsh (Oughterard), Ger Lee (Headford), Brian Silke (Corofin) MD of Go Play, Vinnie Larkin (Leitirmor) and Eamon Walsh ( Oughterard)


Galway Panel v Longford in Newtowncashel, May 2009


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Leitrim Masters 2009 v Dublin

Pictures Courtesy: James Molloy




Pictures Courtesy: James Molloy




Pictures Courtesy: James Molloy all rights reserved





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Guernsey GAA Masters 7’s Tournament

Courtesy: Antrim GAA

Guernsey Gaels would like to invite you to our “GAA Masters 7’s Tournament on Saturday Oct 18th 2009.

Hosted on the Island of Guernsey easily accessed from Ireland via Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester or Southampton.

The Tournament is for Footballers over 40 years of age and open to
• County Teams
• Club Teams
• Team reunions (College/University/Firm/Friends etc)

Any gap in standard will be catered for with a separate Cup and Plate competition.

The rules are adapted to cater for bodies full of enthusiasm but low on mobility!
• 3 touch football (ball is released on the 4th touch)
• Kick outs can be taken from the ground or the hand.
• 7-8 minute halves
• Min 10 and max 12 per panel.

Places will be limited, we would encourage you to register your provisional interest before Aug 31st and a small deposit of £100 is payable on or before Sept 18th to cover booking fees.

Enquiries should be registered to the following

Ray Tully – Mobile: 00447781 117767 E Mail;
Larry Hughes – Mobile: 00447781 103018 E Mail:
James Mullan – Mobile: 00447781126025 E Mail:
John Payne – Mobile: 00447781414787


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Derry Masters - 2008 All-Ireland Champions
Derry 2-08 Carlow 0-7

Derry Masters (Over 40s) claimed the All-Ireland Championship on Saturday (13th September), with an impressive win over Carlow in Breffni Park, Cavan, allowing Captain Henry Downey to lift yet another All-Ireland Trophy. Derry's goals were scored by Collie McGurk and Basil Rafferty. NEW GALLERY NOW ADDED: Derry Masters 2008 All-Ireland Champions


Derry Masters panel
James Gerard Deighan  Ballerin
Ciaran McGurk                Lavey
Tony Scullion                  Ballinascreen
Gary Quinn                      Faughanvale
Johnny McGurk                Lavey
Henry Downey                  Lavey
Richard Ferris                   Drumsurn
Damian O'Boyle                Lavey
Ciaran McElhinney            Craigbane
Dominic Bradley                Glenullin
Basil Rafferty                     Glenullin
Seamus Quinn                   Magherafelt
Sean D O'Neill                    Ballinascreen
Seamus Downey                Lavey
Enda Gormley                    Glen
Brian Martin                       Magherafelt
Michael Smylie                  Magherafelt
Malachy McCrystal             Desertmartin
Gabriel McGuinness            Faughanvale
Don Mulholland                   Lavey
Colm McGurk                       Lavey
Peter McDermott                  Claudy
Liam Peoples                       Claudy
Lee Casey                            Steelstown 
Adrian Mallon                       Loup
Paul Mclaughlin                   Craigbane
Paul Rocks                            Newbridge
Paul Simpson                        Doire Trasna
Colm Rafferty                        Glenullin
Martin White                          Claudy 
Conrad McGuigan                          Craigbane 
Kieran McKeever                          Dungiven 




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Carlow Educate Longford Masters

Courtesy: The Longford Leader


Final Score: Carlow 4 - 5 Longford 2 - 9

 Longford Masters played the first round of the All Ireland Masters competition away to Carlow in the Eire Og club grounds on Saturday last. It took the Longford team, Captained by Seamus Boyle form Ballymore, ten minutes to settle into this, their first game, after their long trip to Carlow, in this short period Carlow had two goals in the Longford net.

It was immediately apparent that the strong Carlow outfit, who were back boned by no less than eight of the Eire Og team who won five Leinster Club Championships between 1993 and 1999, were very familiar with each other, and had adapted quickly to their pattern of play, in their own club grounds.  Barely had the game started when the ball was in the back of Longford net, only to be followed up by a second goal minutes later.

Worse was to come for Longford, when they lost Mark Breslin, who had being playing very solid in the corner back position, after only 12 minutes. Indeed, even prior to the game, Longford had a long list of injuries including Dessie Barry, Mickey Joe Keogh, Mickey Harkins, Des Scally, Willie Finnerty, and Barney McNiven.

However, this spirited Longford team, who are managed by Billy Bratten and Pat Masterson, and have plenty of experience, skill, and success in their side, having won two All Ireland Masters in the past, were in no mood to give up after Carlow’s whirlwind start. After some good switches from the sideline, Longford reshuffled, shook themselves down, and took the game completely to Carlow and dominated the remaining twenty minutes of the first half.  Longford forward line were really on top at this stage and goals from Seamus Boyle and Amby Fogarty, a brace of points from John Corcoran, and some well worked points by Seamus Smith, Kevin Hourican, and Amby Fogarty completed Longfords best spell of the game. However, a missed penalty was to prove a turning point after the Carlow keeper brought off a top class save.  Longford went in at half time two points down.

Carlow’s ability to score goals shone through again at the beginning of the second half. They conspired to pull the Longford half backline out of position and then time and time again they ran the ball down the middle scoring another two goals in the process. Carlow were well contained however in the final quarter when Longford changed their tactics from man-marking to getting men behind the ball and pushing the Carlow forwards out of scoring range.

At the other end of the field, Longford's forward line, already limited by injuries, lost one of the chief marksmen Seamus Boyle through injury before the half way mark, while a brave Amby Fogarty, who is one of their top scorers, operated in a limited capacity for the full hour with a groin strain. As a result scores became harder and harder to come by. During the second half Longford were limited to two pointed frees along with two points from John Corcoran and a point each from Ollie Rogers, Amby Fogerty, and Kevin Hourican.  In what was an round team performance a lot of some of the better players on the day were Mickey Bratten, Niall Nerney, John Breslin, Francie Mulligan, Seamus Smith, Seamus Boyle, and John Corcoran.

In the second round of the round robin series, Longford take on Dublin this Saturday the July 5th, in Pearse Park at 2:45pm (venue & time to be confirmed). Dublin, last years beaten All Ireland Finalists, are considered the strong team in the group. They have a very experienced panel including Jack Sheedy, Joe McNally, Mick Deegan, John O’Leary, Ciaran Duff, Kevin O’Brien from Wicklow, and many other experienced players. This will obviously prove a stiff test for Longford. A better start will be required and their back line will need to play as they did during the last quarter against Carlow. However, they have prepared well and with the benefit of playing at home, the advantage of a game under their belts, and hopefully a number of players back from injury, they are in an excellent position to attack this match head-on and earn their first points in the process. This will be one of their two home games so it is a match they will need to win if they intend to make progress this year and reach the quarter final knock out stages.


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All Ireland GAA Masters Semi Final.

Courtesy: The Longford Leader 

Longford 1.14 – Derry 1.17

In what was an extremely competitive All Ireland Masters semi-final, played in front of a large crowd, in Blacklion, on Saturday last, a very strong, well drilled, and star studded Derry team won the day and the right to play either Mayo or Carlow in this years All Ireland Masters Final.

 This Derry team who had no less than five All Stars including Johnny McGurke, Richard Ferris, Tony Scullion, Henry Downey, and Damien O'Boyle, had  many additional panel members that won the 1993 All Ireland Senior Championship Final, have raised the bar in this competition. Their controlled style of play, getting large numbers behind the ball when defending, and then sweeping forward as a unit with fantastic support play when attacking, their huge work rate and resolve, and their accuracy in front of the posts from both frees and play, proved just too much for a gallant Longford squad.  

 Longford who are jointly managed by Pat Masterson and Billy Bratten were missing the services of Ollie Rodgers, Frank McNamee and John Hughs (unavailable) and Mickey Joe Keogh, Johnny Kilane, and Mickey Harkins (injured)  the semi final, had solid displays from Mickey Bracken, Niall Nerney, John Breslin, Noel Boyle, Marty McNerney, Eugene McCormack, and Amby Forgarty.

 A testament to the strength of this Derry was their ability to come out on top of a strong and confident Longford side. Longford had prepared well this year and after many good preseason challenge matches, went on to win a very strong group. In this round-robin series, they had only been beaten once, when under strength, and away to a strong Carlow team who has many of the Eire Og team that won four Leinster Club Championships in the nineties such as John Smithers, Johnny Nevin, Willie Quinlan, and Jimmy Dooley. However, from there on Longford went from strength to strength, beating Carlow in the return leg in Pearse Park in what was a cracking game, and recording excellent wins both at home and away against a fancied Dublin team which includes house hold names such as Joe McNally, John O’Leary, and Jack Sheedy, and who had reach the Masters Final for the past few years. Having won their group Longford went on to beat Cavan in the Quarter Final, before qualifying to meet Derry.

 LONGFORD: Jack Hyland; Niall Nerney, Micky Bracken, Nichlas Farrell; Francie Mulligan, Seamus Smith; John Breslin, Joe McDermot, Dermot McCormack, Noel Boylen (0-1), John Corcoran (0-2);  Seamus Boyle (Captain  0-2), Andy Fogarty (0-3), Marty McNerney 1-1. SUBS Used: James Breslin (0-2), John Davis (0-1), Kevin Hourican (0-1), Mark Breslin (0-1) and Barney McNiven.



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Down GAA.Net

Masters: Down 2-15 Leitrim 2-10

This rearranged game was played in burren last thursday night, the second half played under floodlights as leitrim didnt field untill well after 9 o clock the result being that down were on the pitch from the scheduled throw in time of 8 o clock for their warm up.
From the throw in Leitrim put the pressure on down going into a 2 point lead inside 5 minutes before down registered their first point from Mickey Linden but then almost immeadiatly they rocked Down with a gift goal through a bit of silly passing between the keeper and the full back. Down then knew that Leitrim didnt make the long journey to burren on a thursday night just to fufill the fixture and started to put a little more urgency into their play with a goal from Micky Linden to get within a point of them when 4 minutes later another bit of defenceive sloppy play resulted in another gifted goal from the lively leitrim forwards. points from Micky Linden (2) Sean magone and Collie Pyres before half time left the score Down 1.07 Leitrim 2 04. The second half started with Down playing a bit more like them selves with Brendan mc Kernan winning most of play around midfield ablely assisted by new kid on the block Gerome mc Crikard (leitrim fontenoys) and Sean Devlin (kilcoo) the latter taking points apeice along with evergreen Micky Linden (3) who proceeded to wear down a very good Leitrim team who are trying to gain a place in the quarter finals for them selves. Mark mc Cartan scored a goal from the ground after a sustained period of Down pressure where Audi mc Veigh and Gerome mc Crikard knocked over points apeice. Downs defence got it tough but Eamon o Rourke was always in control ar full back with John Donnelly coming into his own in the last 15 minuets at left half back while John Heenan took over from Micky mc Mahon in goals shortly after half time keeping a clean sheet. Eamon Quinn (carryduff) replaced Sean Mageon (mayobridge) after 50 minuets and Jude Savage (l font). Dermot Magorrian (carryduff) took over from Micky Linden and Collie Pyres (annaclone). Down were without Peter Withnal, Roby Coulter, Danny Carvil (downpatrick) Paddy Hardy (castlewellan) Martin Durkin (bredagh) Sean Macrory (glen) all holidays, Gary Mason (loughlinisland) John Farrell (annaclone)ingured while Ross Carr and DJ Kane are unavaible and we hope they are not available again until late september. masters next game is down for next saturday vs Cavan but will likely be changed due the all ireland qualifires on the same date.
The remainder of Downs lineout vs Leitrim were ;

Colum Rogers jun (glen)
Domnick Kearns (clann na banna)
Garvin Bradly (clann na banna)
Micke mc Keown (st michaels)
Terry o Higgins (leitrim fontenoys)
Donal Ward (castlewellan)
Barney Roberts (tullylish)
Sean Sherry (carryduff)






Billy McNicholas receiving his award as recognition of his success with the All-Ireland winning over 40's Masters team

Courtesy of Swinford GAA website:


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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

GAA: Ginger guides Masters to crucial victory
By Liam Henry

Mayo 2-14 Roscommon 1-8: IN soaring temperatures at Fr Griffin Park on Saturday evening the Mayo Masters sent pulses racing even faster when recovering from last weekend's reversal against Dublin to emphatically defeat Roscommon, in the process securing safe passage to the quarter-finals of the competition.

Despite losing influential half back, Niall Loftus, prior to throw-in with a calf strain, Mayo, with a strong, athletic and powerful midfield diamond, brilliantly directed by captain, Martin McLoughlin at centre half forward, left the blocks running.

By the 17th minute, the victory almost certainly guaranteed; by that stage the green and red had raked up 1-6, without a single flag in reply from the tired and lethargic looking opposition.

Ger Butler, kicking immaculately throughout, had the first point on the board after a mere 50 seconds, and with Mark Butler, Pat Ruane and Ciaran Carey sweeping up a multitude of possession on their own 40 metre line, the agile inside Mayo forward line soon began to reap the benefit of some exceptional distribution from Martin McLoughlin, the star of the show. Butler had recorded his second score by the 7th minute, and Noel Stagg, sprightly and dangerous for the duration, Mark Butler, Martin McGrath and Mark Butler again, an exceptional score from long range, had all registered points as the second quarter commenced, and crucially the points had been supplemented by a clinically converted Johnny Cribbin goal four minutes earlier.

Liam Heaney and Paul Newton did eventually get the visitors off the mark, but despite the sun continuing to beat down unsympathetically, Mayo were relentless in their pursuit of the much desired victory and a brace of Ger Butler points in the closing moments of the half left Roscommon lagging 9 points adrift at the break, 1-8 to 0-2.

Even the loss of towering midfielder Mark Butler in the dying moments of the half failed to have any sort of negative effect upon Mayo. In a tactical readjustment, Billy McNicholas slotted comfortably into the half back line, with Tom Morrin moving to centre forward and Martin McLoughlin coming to partner Pat Ruane at midfield. Ginger‚ excelled in his new berth, directing the Mayo traffic in the direction of fertile territory time and time again.

Within two minutes of the restart, Ginger had released Noel Stagg to plunder his second point of the day and Ger Butler and Johnny Cribbin had both registered scores before Roscommon's third point came courtesy of Donal Gavaghan in the 43rd minute.

Injury forced the withdrawal of Liam Niland and Padraig Flannery, but with equally strong and effective substitutes, Pat Fallon and Tom Grealis available, Mayo continued to press forward, although a Roscommon goal from giant full-forward, Paul Newton, did momentarily offer a glimmer of visiting hope.

Paul McStay then emerged from the bench and marked his arrival with a brilliant goal after clever build up play involving Martin McGrath, Johnny Cribbin and Noel Stagg. The major left the final outcome a foregone conclusion and Mayo finished the stronger, pointing through a brace of Noel Stagg efforts in the final moments.

With a place in the last eight now secured, most concern will centre around the fitness of the injured parties, ahead of that date. The only negative on the day from a Mayo standpoint was the lack of any appreciative support. Hopefully that will change now as All-Ireland glory comes ever near.

SCORERS – Mayo: Ger Butler 0-6 (4f), Noel Stagg 0-4, Johnny Cribbin 1-1, Paul McStay 1-0, Mark Butler 0-2, Martin McGrath 0-1

Roscommon: Paul Newton 1-4 (1-0f, 3f), Donal Brady 0-2 (2f), Liam Heaney and Donal Gavaghan 0-1 each

MAYO: Pat Reape, Ger Hession, John Pat Sheridan, Padraig Flannery, Tom Morrin, Ciaran Carey, Gerry Carmody, Pat Ruane, Mark Butler, Johnny Cribbin, Martin McLoughlin, Martin McGrath, Ger Butler, Noel Stagg, Liam Niland.

Subs: Billy McNicholas for Mark Butler (28, inj), Pat Fallon for Niland (40, inj), Tom Grealis for Flannery (40, inj), Paul McStay for Morrin (46), Tom Connolly for Ger Butler (53).

ROSCOMMON: Anthony McCormack, Donal Gavaghan, Michael Kelly, Anthony McManus, PJ. Glynn, Michael O’Kelly, Gerry Connelly, Derek Doolan, Padraig Oath, Donal Brady, Joe Connaughton, Liam Heaney, Anthony Brennan, Paul Newton, Michael Conacar.

Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo).


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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

GAA: Three out of three for Masters
In Pearse Park, Longford.

Mayo 2-12 Longford 1-11

A SUPERB 53rd minute goal from substitute, Ger Butler, helped secure a third consecutive victory for Mayo in the All-Ireland Masters football championship at Pearse Park last Saturday. In beating the reigning champions, Longford, on their home soil, the Green and Red laid down a serious marker for all-comers; especially since having to come from two points behind with ten minutes remaining.

Having led by seven points at one stage of the first half, the Mike Morris managed team then conceded a goal and six points without reply before the introductions of Butler, and Liam Niland, helped restore the dominance of the visitors.

Mayo started brightly and led 0-6 to 0-1 by the 11th minute with Noel Stagg (3), Martin McLoughlin, Pat Fallon and Mark Butler all firing over the black spot. A brace of Longford scores helped narrow the margin until Stagg, a six goal hero in the opening round, bagged a 19th minute major after good build-up play.

The Hollymount attacker inreased his personal tally to 1-4 before the interval while Tom Morrin and Ciaran Carey also traded points with the opposition before Longford plundered a messy goal on the stroke of half-time which helped rejuvenate their cause.

Trailing 1-9 to 1-5, the hosts stormed out of the blocks on the resumption and by keeping Mayo scoreless for the next 20 minutes, managed to sneak two points clear having raised the white flag on six occasions.

However, Mayo boss Morris pulled a ‘master’ stroke when calling upon Ger Butler and Liam Niland from the dug-out and the former’s 30 yard strike to the net, moments after also converting a point, settled the heretofore edgy westerners.

Midfielder, Pat Ruane, further calmed nerves when driving over from almost 60 yards near the sideline, before Ger Hurst’s final contribution, a free, brought down the curtain on what was a tough and uncompromising battle, highlighted by the late dismissal of a Long-ford player for striking.

In victory, Mayo could thank goalkeeper, Pat Reape, for his wonderful finger-tip save in the final quarter, and John Pat Sheridan, Sean Grealis and Anthony McGarry all performed soundly in defence. Pat Ruane and Pat Fallon, while faced by formidable opposition, gave as good as they got in midfield while among the forwards, Martin McLoughlin, Noel Stagg and Tom Morrin were most effective.

MAYO: Pat Reape, Padraic Flannery, John Pat Sheridan, Ger Hurst, Anthony McGarry, Niall Loftus, Sean Grealis, Pat Ruane (0-1), Pat Fallon (0-1), Mark Butler (0-1), Martin McLoughlin (0-1), Martin McGrath, Ciaran Carey (0-1), Noel Stagg (1-4), Tom Morrin (0-1). Subs used: Ger Butler (1-2, 1f) for McLoughlin, Liam Niland for Carey, Ger Hession for Hurst, Gerry Carmody for M. Butler.

Mayo’s next game in the All-Ireland O-40s Football Championship Round Robin series is scheduled for next Saturday against Tipperary. Home venue and time yet to be confirmed.

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Cavan give master class

Courtesy: The Hogan Stand

The Cavan over 40s team put the tragic death of team-mate Paddy Gaffney behind them to win the All-Ireland Masters Shield in 2006. Here, wing forward and Arva clubman Conal Conneely shares his recollections on the success.

In a year when the Cavan footballers failed to make an impact at senior level, the county’s over 40s team gave supporters something to cheer about when they captured the All-Ireland Masters Shield following a two-point victory over neighbours Leitrim in Mullingar.

The Cavan players were quick to dedicate the success to their former team-mate Paddy Gaffney from Denn who died unexpectedly during a junior club match last summer. Paddy had just returned from Australia where he had played for Ireland against the home nation in the Masters International Rules series.

When the Irish and Australian over 40 teams renewed their rivalry under the new floodlights at Kingspan Breffni Park at the end of October, Ireland became the inaugural winners of the Paddy Gaffney Cup which was presented in Paddy’s memory. Fittingly, the Cup was presented to another Denn man Martin Cahill, who captained the Irish team, while the other Cavan men who contributed to the victory were new senior football manager Donal Keogan (also Denn), Michael Brady, Kevin Madden, Gabriel Patterson, Aidan Watters, Jimmy Galligan and Tomas Smyth.

“Paddy was on the Cavan Masters team for 10 years and following his untimely death, we decided that we would make a big effort to win the All-Ireland,” explains Arva’s Conal Conneely, who was wing forward on the Cavan team.
“That didn’t happen, unfortunately, but we regrouped for the Shield competition and managed to win that. It was nice to salvage something from the year, but if we had a full squad we might have won the big prize. We were never able to be put our best team out, but it’s easy to forget that lads do have other commitments outside of football.”

2006 was Conal’s first year on the Masters team, having accepted an invitation from club colleague Philip Brady to become involved. His team-mates included ex-senior stars Kevin Madden, Bernard Morris, Jimmy Galligan, Aidan Watters and recently-appointed Cavan senior manager Donal Keogan.

Although Conal has officially retired from club football, he enjoyed the experience so much that he intends lining out for the over 40s again this year. “I found it to be very enjoyable and I’ll definitely give it a go again this year,” he says.
Jointly-managed by P Cahill (Crosserlough) and Terry Hyland (Lacken), Cavan played four games in the All-Ireland championship and two in the Shield competition. There was no organised training. Instead, challenge matches were arranged against junior club teams and against the Leitrim Masters.

In the All-Ireland championship, the Breffni County beat Tipperary in Cappamore, drew with Roscommon in Mullahoran and lost to both Dublin and Mayo in Malahide and Kingspan Breffni Park respectively. As it transpired, Dublin and Mayo went on to contest the All-Ireland final which resulted in a 2-12 to 0-10 victory for the Westerners.
“Mayo only beat us by a point and Dublin beat us by five so weren’t that far off winning the main competition. Dublin had a very strong team which included the likes of Jack Sheedy, Joe McNally, Mick Deegan, John O’Leary, Ciaran Duff and Kevin O’Brien from Wicklow, and I was surprised that they didn’t win it out.

“The result that really cost us was the draw with Roscommon. If we had won that, we would have gone through to the quarter-final and who knows what might have happened after that.”
All was not lost for Cavan, however, who then defeated Sligo to qualify for the Shield final against Leitrim. The game was played at St. Loman’s, Mullingar on the eve of the All-Ireland senior final as a curtain-raiser to the Mayo v Dublin clash, and a strong second half showing was the key to the Breffni County’s 1-8 to 0-9 victory.

The final was a keenly contested affair with the sides level on no less than seven different occasions. Cavan were favoured by a strong breeze in the first half, but fell behind to a fourth minute point from Leitrim’s Frank Niblock. Tomas Smyth levelled within a minute and the stalemate continued over the next six minutes with Leitrim’s Shane Heslin and Cavan’s Adge King trading points. But Leitrim were two points clear at the end of the first quarter thanks to scores from Hubie Reynolds and Fergus O’Donnell.

Cavan responded, however, with three unanswered points from impressive substitute Seamus Donohue to lead for the first time. But a Niblock brace had Leitrim 0-6 to 0-5 in front at the break.
With wind advantage to come, Leitrim seemed poised for victory but Cavan rolled up their sleeves and resumed with points from Donohue and Keogan. Former All-Star Mickey Quinn then shot two marvellous scores to restore the Connacht side’s slender advantage, but after Donohue restored parity, the same player scored the only goal in the 41st minute to put Cavan in the driving seat at a crucial stage.

Leitrim were awarded a penalty three minutes later, but Quinn’s spot kick hit the crossbar and was cleared. Shane Heslin pointed for Leitrim with 10 minutes remaining, but they were unable to reduce the deficit further as Cavan held on for a deserved victory.
“It didn’t look good for us at half-time when we trailed after playing with the wind,” Conal remembers.

“Leitrim had about 10 subs, whereas we had only two. But we upped our performance in the second half and the goal gave us some valuable breathing space. And after Leitrim missed the penalty, we did just enough to hold onto our lead.”
Conal has represented Cavan at all levels, although he made just one appearance for the county seniors in a McKenna Cup game against Monaghan. He was a key member of the Arva team that won an intermediate league and championship double in 1983. Those were successful times for Arva and in 1988 they contested a senior league semi-final against Mullahoran, having finished second in the league table.

But emigration soon took its toll and within a few years, Arva were back plying their trade in the junior ranks. One of the highlights of Conal’s playing career was winning a junior league medal with his beloved club at the age of 39.
Married to Donegal woman Shirley, Conal has four sons between the ages of 15 and eight – Sean, Peter, Danny and Charlie. The four boys have inherited their father’s passion for the GAA, with Sean and Peter winning under 16 championship medals with Arva last year and Danny winning an under 12 championship.

Having lived in Lucan for many years, Conal recently decided to move the family back to Arva. This has allowed him to help out with underage coaching and he is currently over the under 10s along with John Hamilton and Niall Gormley.
Conal continues to work in Dublin where he is manager of Belgard Motors’ Fleet Division. Conal joined the Tallaght-based company in 1981 and was instrumental in setting up the Fleet Division in 2000. Belgard Motors are main dealers for Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Citroen, Mazda and Porsche.

The Cavan team which won the All-Ireland Masters Shield was: Martin Cahill; John Duffy, Kevin Madden, Sean Henry; Colm McBreen, James Gilchrest, Paddy McGovern; Tomas Smyth, Jimmy Galligan; Conal Conneely, Don McDonald, Packie Kiernan; Tomas Doonan, Adge King, Donal Keogan. Sub: Seamus Donohue and Tony McDonald.

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Members of the Longford Masters Panel who Represented Ireland in the 2006 International Masters Rules Football



Left to Right:  Frank McNamee (Fr. Manning Gaels), Kevin Hourican (Dromard), Dessie Barry (Longford Slashers), Padraig O'Brien (Longford Slashers), Amby Fogarty (St. Mary’s Athlone), and Seamus Boyle (Ballymore).


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Masters success for Longford

Courtesy Longford GAA Website

Longford Masters (over 40s) collected their second All-Ireland title in five year’s when they had a three-point victory over a Ross Carr inspired Down at a wind and rain swept Ballyconnell, Cavan yesterday. The day itself was not conjunctive to flowing football instead it was a game of two free-takers with both Michael O’Brien (Longford) and Ross Carr (Down) accounting for the bulk of their sides tally.

LONGFORD – V O’Rourke; T Darcy, M Mimnagh, J Toole; J Healy, J O’Brien, B Considine; J Breslin, M Duggan; A Fogarty, O Rogers, M McNerney; M O’Brien, S Boyle, E McCormack. SUBS: J J Reilly for Duggan (41 mins); J Breslin for Reilly (44 mins); G Clarke for Boyle (53 mins); W Finnerty for J Breslin (58 mins).


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   The Kerry Masters Hurling Team (over 40’s) were beaten by Tipperary who secured their third All-Ireland Masters hurling title in four years at Bruff last Saturday with a 3-19 to 1-10 win over Kerry. The Premier County laid the foundations for their win with a resurgent second half display with former star county men Ken Hogan, Liam Maher and Pat Fox grabbing the all-important goals for the winners.

   The Kerry Team in this their first year participating in the competition had a great run and they can be very pleased with their performances.  Although they were beaten by Tipperary in the first round they went on to score fine victories over Dublin and Limerick.  Tipperary, Limerick and Kerry finished level on points at the end of the round robin series.  Tipperary went into the final on the basis of a higher scoring average and in the play off Kerry defeated Limerick for the second time to go into last Saturday’s final. 


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Loftus, Dr. Mick

01 January 2001

Courtesy: The HoganStand

“The success of the Masters competition has exceeded all my expectations. I never thought it would be nearly as successful as it has been.


In the true meaning of the much-hackneyed phrase, Mayoman Dr. Mick Loftus has done that, been there and worn the jersey over the course of over 50 years involvement at the highest levels of the GAA. His enthusiasm and passion for Gaelic games is as vital as ever as we discover.
Within the claustrophobic world that is the higher echelons of Gaelic games administration, Dr. Mick Loftus is very well got - as they say in the vernacular. He’s even more well got around his native Crossmolina in County Mayo both within and outwith his medical practice and GAA involvement.

Despite the fact that he has worn so many hats for so many years in the world of GAA and beyond, it’s amazing that you don’t hear a bad word said about the genial Mayo gael.

Given the fact that he has been President of the GAA and a lifelong member of his native Deel Rovers, he must have thread on as few corns as is humanly possible. Why, even journalists haven’t a bad word to say about him!

So we know how the well-known is regarded by all sundry who come into contact with him. But what’s he best known for? Is it as the GAA’s former top man, as Chairman of the Seanoiri - the Masters competition organising committee - as the champion of the movement to separate Gaelic games from all things pertaining to alcohol? Perhaps its for his days as All-Ireland finals referee or as the captain of a Mayo All-Ireland winning junior team. Either way, Mick Loftus has long since been identified with everything that has been positive and uplifting about the country’s biggest sporting organisation.

For the moment, Mick’s involvement in the hierarchical GAA matters is confined to his role as President of the Connacht Council. Even after all these years, he still fails to tire from bread-and-butter meetings on behalf of the Association. He is also, of course, still a Deel Rovers clubman.
In the days that are in it, being a gael from Crossmolina does tend to see you share the limelight. So how does Mick think the locals will do against Bellaghy in their forthcoming All-Ireland club championship set-to?

“Bellaghy have emerged as winners of the Ulster club championship so they must be a very good team. Any side that comes out as winners of a competition involving defending champions Crossmaglen must be a top class team and so I expect Crossmolina to have to be at their best to progress to the final.
“The current crop of Crossmolina seniors are a good bunch of dedicated and committed players and they give a lot of their time to the club. They deserve all the success they’ve achieved so far and hopefully there’s more success to come for them.

“Winning the Connacht club title last year gave everyone involved with Crossmolina a great lift and fair play to everyone who has been involved in bringing on so many talented underage players since the late eighties and before that,” adds Mick who was suitably impressed by Crossmolina’s victory over Corofin in this year’s provincial decider.

Then again, a lot of things about the GAA locally and nationally continue to impress Mick. The ongoing success story that is the Over 40s hurling and football competitions - his brainchild - is one which gives him much pleasure.

“The success of the Masters competition has exceeded all my expectations. I never thought it would be nearly as successful as it has been.

“I know there has been some criticism that some counties have taken things too seriously but my feeling on that is that like all good competitions, it has that competitive edge which adds so much interest and generates so much excitement and enjoyment for players and spectators alike.
“I’ve been particularly pleased by the degree of comradeship and fitness which the Over 40s has fostered among the players since its inception.

“I’ve been really delighted by the way the idea has grown and developed since it was first introduced in Mayo. In this regard, I have to pay credit to Seamus Meade in Croke Park. He has really been the engine which has driven the competition forward at such speed and with such success.”
It’s easy to understand where Mick was coming from when he instigated the establishment of the Masters Competition on a nationwide basis back some ten years ago. Like all passionate, enthusiastic footballers, he yearned to extend his playing career but with no Masters competition to wean him off the big ball game, he was left to take up refereeing. It wasn’t a bad substitute at all.

Mick was a natural at blowing the whistle and he was recognised as such by being appointed to referee the All-Ireland senior football finals in 1965 and ’68 in which Galway and Down triumphed.
Before that, he excelled as a player in his beloved green and red. In 1947, he was on the Crossmolina senior team which won the club’s first county championship title, a team captained by the great Sean Tansey of Sligo fame. Two years earlier, he collected a junior medal.

On the county front, he featured on the Mayo minor team which had a fascinating tussle with an Eddie Devlin-powered Tyrone side in 1947.

Junior All-Ireland medals followed in 1950 and again in ’57, the latter occasion a time when Mick captained the team.

The affable, dyed-in-the wool GAA man was a players’ player in his time and, accordingly, it’s not surprising that he says modern day players deserve to be looked after for all the commitment and effort they put into the game.

In this regard, it’s significant that he is Chairman of the Green and Red Trust which seeks to help out players with financial assistance at times of need. Here, he has a special word of praise for Secretary Johnny Mulvey.

“It’s meant for players who fall into difficulty in their private lives and was started in 1988 by former Mayo player Seamus Daly.

“When you see how people make lifetime friends from being involved in the GAA and the great camaraderie that develops between them, it shows just how fellas can get all wound up in connection with their own team, give each other a torrid time at matches but then end up as friends for life. The Green and Red Trust is a means of simply saying thank-you for people’s efforts in forging this sort of camaraderie,” adds Mick, a member of the GAA’s national medical committee which has an advisory role with regard to players’ fitness, injuries, etc.

One of the leading lights in the Dothain organisation which seeks to address the whole area of alcohol abuse, Mick’s views on the influence drinks companies have in the world of sport are well known, suffice to say that he isn’t in favour of the Guinness sponsorship of the All-Ireland Hurling Championship “but the majority thought otherwise.”

The successor to Paddy Buggy as President of the GAA in 1985, Mick has been credited - along with current Director General Liam Mulvihill - as having been responsible for sowing the seeds of the recent and ongoing development of Croke Park. Mick was part of a delegation from the GAA which visited stadia in New York and London back almost 20 years ago.

But what was the highlight of his time as President?
“It was a tremendous experience all told but I think visiting so many clubs around the country was particularly nice because it gave me the opportunity to really see how things were going at grass roots level.

“I met some very interesting and hard working people on those trips around the country. It has been a great source of pleasure to me to see how so many clubs have since progressed to acquiring their own grounds. Back in 1984, only about half of the clubs in the country owned their own grounds.”
And the spectre of Croke Park opening its facilities to other sports?

“I can see the difficulties which the GAA may experience in the years to come with regard to the upkeep and financing of Croke Park and the fact that it may only ever be full for semi-finals and finals. However, it will be up to people at the helm in the distant future to decide.”


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Faughs Appoint Outsider and Nudie Gets His All Ireland Medal

The Faughs broke with tradition in 1998 when they appointed a manager from outside the club. That yearCavanman PJ Carroll and Tony Dunne took over the management of the Faughs senior team. Success returned to the senior side dethroning Clontibret in the final and adding title 33 to their total.

Nudie Hughes at last won that elusive All Ireland. This time it was as a member of the over 40s Master team when they defeated Galway in the All Ireland final. The club also had the honour of having Peter Duffy selected to play with Ulster.


Courtesy: Castleblayney Faughs


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AIB GAA and Dublin Master's Tour
Courtesy: The History of the Gealeic Athletic Association in Canada. By John O'Flynn, Ainsley Baaldwin

On Monday August 1, 1994, a Toronto select team of over 40's, played the Dublin Masters and won 1-20 to 3-8. with the Dublin team was former GAA President Mick Loftus who had chaired the founding meeting of the Canadian County Board in 1987. The Dublin Masters would travel on to Ottawa where they would win their only match of the Canadian tour.

On Sinday October 2, 1994, a travelling party of 60 or more from the Allied Irish Bank GAA club were hosted by Toronto GAA's President Cormac O'Muiri. AIB's tour had included stops in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. So the Canadian bran of Gealic Foorball and hurling was played that day saw a great deal of skill for all to enjoy.


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Tyrone Masters 1994


1994 Tyrone Masters Panel


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1990 Armagh v Tyrone Over 40s at Maghery

Courtesy Magery CLG

The Tyrone over 40s team who were in action at Maghery on Monday night



Armagh over 40s team who played old rivals Tyrone at Maghery


Gerry Mellon Moy pictured with the team captains Kevin Rafferty, Armagh, Patsy Forbes, Tyrone and with Rev Fr McGinley CC Maghery



Enjoying the festivities at Maghery




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