By Mike Fitzpatrick
New York 0-9, Mayo (Ireland) 0-13
New York, seeking revenge for the last time these two sides met, fell to a 4-point loss to old rivals Mayo in the FBD Final at Gaelic Park on Sunday.
It was a first-round Connacht Championship game in 1999 in which the two sides last met, and though there were few survivors from that day in Castlebar, the end result was the same: a disappointed New York left the field after a Mayo victory.
The lineups were not the only differences however. Last time out, Mayo inflicted a far heavier defeat on the boys from the Big Apple, firing in 3-13 to New York’s 10 points. On Sunday, the home side, though missing quite a number of players who Manager Frank Brady would no doubt have had pencilled in if available, held the lead at several times during the game, and often times looked like grabbing an unexpected victory.
Having defeated a highly fancied Bank of Ireland selection a few weeks ago, Brady may have had quite a degree of optimism in this tie, although it’s never easy getting a squad of players unfamiliar with playing with, as opposed to against, each other, to gel. The selectors then, must surely have been somewhat pleased with the outcome, despite the defeat. A number of players relatively new to the New York setup, such as Paddy McConigley and J.P. Boyle of Donegal, Mayo’s Pierce O’Reilly, and Tommy Gee and Bill Dennehy of Leitrim certainly will have given performances to warrant inclusion in the next challenge game the New York side play.
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The game itself was an even affair throughout the first half, and although the dreadful weather conditions certainly hampered proceedings somewhat, the home side, clearly less used to playing in the cold and rain, held their own and actually went ahead toward the end of the first half.
Early in the game, Bingo Driscoll hit the crossbar for New York, and Trevor Mortimer, on a counterattack for Mayo, hit the first point of the afternoon. Bill Dennehy leveled, and after that it was a seesaw effect until it was five points apiece.
Niall Mcready, and doubles from Dennehy and Kevin Lilly gave the New Yorkers a one point lead after Fergal Costelloe, James Gill and Colm McManaman had hit efforts over the bar for the visitors. Mayo then hit a 5-point salvo without reply thanks to McManaman, McNicholas, McDonagh and Gill, but New York to their credit, hit back to bring the tie to within two thanks to Bingo and Moran. A phenomenal display from the tireless Johnny Driscoll certainly kept the scoreline at a respectable level when he prevented Mayo moving forward with some valuable interceptions, but in the end, Mayo’s experience held out and it was they, and not New York, who went home with the FBD Cup.
New York: Eunan Doherty (Captain), John Driscoll, Pierce O’Reilly, Paddy McConigley, Paddy O’Connor, Richie Purcell, Sean Nolan, John Meehan, Kieran Ryan, Jim Donohue, Tommy Gee, Bingo Driscoll (0-1), Kevin Lilly (0-3), J.P. Boyle, Bill Dennehy (0-4). Subs: Mick Moran (0-1), Niall McCready, Willie O’Donnell, Kieran Walsh, Enda Lohan, Bernard Traynor.
Mayo: Peter Bourke, Ray Connolly, Paul Coady, Aidan Higgins, Fergal Costelloe (0-1), Alan Roche, Noel Connolly (Captain) (0-1), Colm McManaman (0-3), Rory Hannick, James Gill (0-3), Billy J. Padden, David Nestor, Martin McNicholas (0-1), David McDonagh (0-1), Trevor Mortimer (0-2). Subs: Fergal Kelly, Michael Coleman, Stephen Carolan, Ronan Loftus (0-1), Ronan Walsh, Sean Grimes, Sean Grimes, Paul Carey.