Match Review - Pre FINAL Junior Champ 07 "The Wearing Of The Green"- Mayonews 16/10/07

The wearing of the green

Pakie McGinty and Colm Cafferkey are Achill through and through

Daniel Carey

“In a sense, each of us is an island. In another sense, however, we are all one.”
J Donald Walters

FIVE years ago, Davitt Park in Achill played host to a football match between Mayo and Dublin. The game was played to mark the pitch’s official re-opening, which was performed by John Cooney, a member of the first Achill team to win the Mayo junior title, way back in 1942. Last Sunday, John Cooney was in McHale Park, Castlebar, to witness his club’s return to the county junior final. The big wheel keeps on turning.

Pakie McGinty has done more than most to keep that wheel in motion. The Achill GAA Club Chairman has seen his fair share of footballing joy and heartbreak, and is delighted that the side is just 60 minutes from glory.

“We’re over the moon,” he told The Mayo News. “We’ve a very young team at the moment. Maybe we’re a year ahead of ourselves, maybe we’re not. We’ll give it one hell of a go anyway.”

They’ve qualified for a date with Islandeady courtesy of an extraordinary semi-final replay, in which they edged out Charlestown B by 0-6 to 0-5. Possessed of a ‘very strong’ defence and midfield, McGinty acknowledges: “We’re not scoring a lot but we’re not conceding a lot of scores either. Overall, we’ve had a fantastic season. I don’t think we’ve been beaten in either league or championship this year.”

Achill last won the Petie McDonnell Cup back in 1995, when they had four points to spare over Lacken in the final. Man of the match Raymond McNamara scored the game’s only goal, while Gerry Hassett (‘lethal from frees’) finished with five points to his credit. Hassett also played his part in 1983, when the islanders overturned a four-point deficit before Michael Gielty’s goal ensured victory over The Neale.
Before that, you have to go back to 1965, when Achill defeated ‘the invincibles’, Kilmaine. Both Pat Kilbanes played their part (‘Big’ Pat even going in goal for a time in a swap with Eamon Kelly), as did Tommy Cafferkey, while a match report carried in this newspaper described Pat Corrigan as ‘a human dynamo’.

Terry Reilly and Ivan Neill’s book ‘The Green Above The Red’ also makes reference to 1949, when a number of Achill men played their part as Mulranny defeated Swinford in the junior final. Before that, of course, there was 1942, a team which included Pádraig Seoighe, Denis Gallagher, Tony Mulloy and Seán Meeneghan. It’s a proud history, and the long gaps between finals means the big days are savoured all the more when they come around.

“It’s fantastic, and we’ll be back in green again on Sunday,” said McGinty, referring to the fact that a clash of colours saw Achill sporting white on Sunday. “We have three minors playing for us. Martin English is the old head – he played in Dublin for Thomas Davis for a couple of years, so he brings great experience and when we were under pressure on Sunday, he dropped back.”

Achill can also call on players like Michael Denis McNamara (pictured), Martin Keane and Colm Cafferkey, who was awarded man of the match after a superb display last Sunday.

“It’s great to be back in a county final,” the former county under-21 player told The Mayo News after accepting the award from Mayo GAA Board secretary Seán Feeney. “We’ve put a lot of work the last two years with a young side, and it’s starting to pay dividends. We went a long time without a score, but even then the lads persevered, they kept working, they stopped Charlestown from building.

“We’ve been starting slow in games lately, so we made a conscious decision to tear into this game and get some early scores. But we’ll have to make a conscious decision to do that for 60 minutes next week. Islandeady are a strong team. They’re always fit, they’re always fast, they’ll obviously be favourites! But you never know on the day. Both teams know each other well, so it’s going to be a close battle. It’s going to come down to a kick of a ball.” 

Article taken from, and copyright of the "Mayo News" 23rd October 2007.