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Even In Neighbouring Parishes, They Celebrated Mountbellew/Moylough

Even In Neighbouring Parishes, They Celebrated Mountbellew/Moylough

There was elation in Mountbellew, Moylough, and even the surrounding parishes on Sunday evening after the Galway senior football final.

For the first time in 35 years, and after suffering heartbreak in several finals, the Mountbellew/Moylough club defeated Corofin to claim the championship.

"There were people in the parish I didn't even know existed out with fires," said joint-captain Eoin Finnerty at the launch of the AIB Club Championships.

"Even in the neighbouring parish, we came through Abbey, they had fires out for us. Just past Killererin, they had fires out for us. It's something we'll never see again. If we win another again there won't be this euphoria of the first time for so long."

Mountbellew had lost five finals in the past 12 years, four of them to Corofin. Finnerty said last year's defeat to Moycullen, after they had finally jumped the Corofin hurdle in the semi-final, was the hardest to take. The feeling after Sunday's six-point victory was one of "just relief".


Mountbellew-Moylough and Galway footballer Eoin Finnerty in attendance at the launch of this year’s AIB GAA Club Championships and AIB Camogie Club Championships. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

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Manager Val Daly coached many of the players from under-10 to under-16, and again at minor level.

"Everyone knows each other, grew up together," said Finnerty.

"There's three national schools in the parish and everyone goes to them and everyone goes to the same secondary school, Holy Rosary.

"Yeah, there's great unity. We won a county minor in 2014, and 16 players have come through from that panel who play senior football and there were 10 starting the last day. It's like an underage group with a few other lads added in.

"It's probably just a once in a lifetime generation of players who have come together who were all good and loved playing football.

"The minor was the first time in 60 years, the [2016] U-21 [ccounty title] was similar. So this was seen as the generation of players that were finally going to bring Mountbellew across the line. It probably wouldn't have been seen on the outside, but there was pressure.

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"At Christmas you'd be meeting older club men who'd be asking you were we going to do it this year. And you'd be saying, 'We'll give it a shot, I suppose'.

"Especially after all the losses then, [the pressure] it would build. You didn't want to be seen as losers, not getting over the line."

eoin finnerty mountbellew moylough
14 November 2021; Mountbellew/Moylough manager Val Daly during the Galway County Senior Club Football Championship Final match against Corofin at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Through all the heartbreak of losing finals to Corofin, there was the consolation that they'd been defeated by the best team in the country, a side which won a historic three consecutive All-Ireland club titles between 2018 and 2020.

Finnerty said that since he made his senior debut eight years ago, the standards required to compete at club level have shot up.

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"In Galway that's definitely down to Corofin," he said.

"I remember when I first came along, I played my first senior game in 2013, the set-up back then compared to now it's basically now what inter-county was like a couple of years ago.

"You have to do everything. A nutritionist, S&C coach, you do your recovery, you're getting all this information. Fair play to Corofin, they were ahead of the trend, and that's why they obliterated everyone in Galway through the last seven or eight years and won three All-Irelands in a row."

Mountbellew's time for celebration was truncated. They were back at training on Tuesday night for this weekend's Connacht quarter-final against Ballinamore. Friday evening will be spent doing video analysis on the Leitrim champions.

"Going to Carrick-On-Shannon, we know we'll have to bring a performance to get out of there," said Finnerty.

"You go out after winning a county title, it's like you've been there and done that. You believe you can go on further now. Especially when you see the likes of Corofin winning All-Ireland titles.

"And back through the years other Galway clubs being sucessful in the Connacht and All-Ireland championships. Our near neighbours here, Caltra, won an All-Irleand in 2003. Salthill Knocknacarra in [2006]. So, yeah, there would be big belief."

Featured image: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

The AIB GAA Club Championships and AIB Camogie Club Championships will see AIB celebrating #TheToughest players of all: those who don’t quit, who keep going and persevere no matter what. These characteristics define the players who come back year after year and show up for their club when it matters most.

See Also: Tony Kelly Hails Impact Of Ex-Clare Footballer In Ballyea Victory

eoin finnerty mountbellew moylough

PJ Browne
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