Boyle GAA Boyle Seniors in 4th County Semi-Final in 5 Years

GAA Seniors - McGovern Drilling TeamPhoto submitted by Boyle GAA

“Once more unto the breach…”
Boyle Seniors in 4th County Semi-Final in 5 Years
(Boyle Town I suggest that you ‘Put the Boyle flags a Flyin’ this weekend).
On Sunday next September the 6th the Boyle Senior men’s team return to a County Semi-Final. This will be their fourth time and attempt to succeed and scale the penultimate hurdle and arrive in a county final. They face a blue blood club in St. Brigid’s who have been here many times before and scaled not just county heights but reached the absolute pinnacle in 2013 with a national title. All that tradition does count but it is felt that St. Brigid’s are rebuilding and may not be quite there just yet. Boyle’s first semi-final of the four mentioned above was in October 2016 when they lost to St. Brigid’s. The margin was closer but the result the same the following year v Roscommon Gaels at Enfield. Last year it was closer still with a titanic struggle v Padraig Pearse’s. Pearse’s had many losses in finals and semi-finals in the last decade or so but finally reached the promised land after much heartache with their first senior title. Their persistence is an example for ourselves.

It is embarrassing to say that Boyle has not won a county senior title since 1927. Many good teams have come and gone but no group has knocked on the door as strongly as the current team. Each year they return stronger and this historic year they have shown, not totally consistently but in certain games that they are a different team this year. In the first game against Pearse’s, the county champions, Boyle led at one stage by 12 points with a titanic display after around forty minutes of that game. It ended up as a draw which was still a good result. The next game against Tulsk was uninspiring though Tulsk proved their mettle in a later game v Pearse’s. On a beautiful day in The Abbey Park Boyle gave a scintillating display when dispatching Michael Glavey’s. This was the game in which all the skills were on show and Boyle supporters and outside commentators felt that this team if they continue to play like that, are real contenders this year. The team was below par for 40 minutes or so v St. Croan’s last weekend in the quarter-final at Strokestown. Boyle has rarely found St. Croan’s to be other than difficult opponents. Still, this time when the opportunities were presented to Boyle they turned an opposition lead of four points into a match-winning Boyle lead with a surge of power and clinical finishing.

After the Tulsk game in a preview of the game against Michael Glavey’s the Sports Editor of the Roscommon Herald Ian Cooney wondered regarding the real Boyle team. Was it the team of the first 40 minutes’ v Pearse’s or the team that struggled against Tulsk? As I have already mentioned they played brilliantly against Michael Glavey’s. They played with pace and precision in an almost errorless exhibition. In that game, all the components were on song. Everyone contributed. This is key. We have some of the best players that Boyle has ever produced on this team but it not to pass the buck to those as ALL need to give it everything and relieve the primary players of the full responsibility of getting over the line. I digress here…I watched a documentary during last week on the Irish rugby team winning their first Triple Crown in around forty years in 1982 and repeating it again in 1985. One player scored two tries who did not remember them at all being concussed. The most memorable try was that of Ginger McLoughlin who charged over from some twenty yards with what seemed like a dozen English and Irish players on his back. I mention this in terms of the enormous spirit of those teams with players like Willie Duggan, Ollie Campbell, Moss Keane and an inspiring captain in Kieran Fitzgerald. Those rugby games, like many in that sport, were real battles where players gave their all with no quarter given or expected.

I know that many former Boyle players in far-flung places such as Little Rock, Arkansas; Boston, New York, and England and I imagine Australia, the Middle East, Canada and so on are watching the teams progress and wishing them well, hoping for a County Final appearance.

This is a special team in these traumatic times. 2020 will be referenced in the history books and in programmes like ‘Reeling in the Years’ for a century to come. It would be great that a Boyle sporting achievement might flicker in the gloom of this current nightmare.

The challenge to the team and its management now is to MAKE THAT HAPPEN. It is past time to be ‘also-rans’ and ‘what might have been’.

“The game’s afoot
Follow your spirit”
Team –  do not leave the field thinking ‘I could have done better’. Let you leave it feeling that you left it all out there and that is what has seen us clearing the second last hurdle and propelling us to the final for the first time in 93 years. Boyle ABU.