Sligo footballers are just one win away from an unlikely All-Ireland football title with serial football finalists Mayo standing in the way of glory. The Over 40’s All-Ireland Masters championship will reach a climax when Ballymote GAA hosts the 2017 All-Ireland Masters Gaelic Football finals and Shield final at 2.45pm on Saturday November 11th.
The two competing counties in the senior final, Sligo and Mayo, agreed to toss for venue rather than go to a neutral county and Sligo won the toss.
A double header will see Tyrone take on Galway in the opening game, the Shield final and large crowds are expected.
Boasting a rich collection of former Inter-county greats such as Eamonn O’Hara, Paul Taylor, David Durcan, Ronan Keane, Nigel Clancy, Fintan Kennedy, Paul Durcan, Con O’Meara, Padraic Doohan, Johnny Kenny and Dessie Sloyne, the Sligo side sprinted into the final by winning six and drawing one of their six group games.
Cavan were overcome by Sligo in the semi-finals last month while Mayo brushed aside Donegal. The Sligo Masters side is managed by Niall Carew, Gerry Monaghan and Reggie McNulty.
Eamonn O’Hara, the former Sligo captain, All Star and now RTÉ Sunday Game pundit, said: “I still love to pull on the county jersey, to soldier with guys I played with all my football career, and to test myself against the best from other counties. The Masters series is good for both the body and the head and it’s no wonder so many players want to be involved.”While the Yeats County side has more former inter-county stars than most there are many less well-known players excelling in this year’s Championship.
Eamonn adds: “The Masters is full of players who are excellent footballers and in great shape who, for one reason or another, never wore their county jersey, and it’s great for them to represent their county.”
Eamonn Cunningham of EJ’s Menswear in Sligo, one of the main sponsors for the county’s Gaelic Master’s side, is getting into the spirit of things and hopes to maybe even tog off for a sub’s appearance in the final on November 11.
He explained why EJ’s Menswear have backed Sligo for All-Ireland glory and a first title since beating Mayo in 2007 in the Connacht Championship: “Reaching the final is a fantastic achievement for Sligo and the chance of an All-Ireland title is what dreams are made of. I’d encourage everyone to get behind Sligo and bring the cup home.
“We believe in this side. They have a chance to do as Masters what they couldn’t as seniors and win an All-Ireland. It would give a tremendous lift to the county and we’ll do anything we can do to help that become a reality. There won’t be a cow milked in EJ’s if Sligo win.”
Joe Queenan sponsors the Sligo jerseys and EJs Menswear is providing tracksuits and training gear this year.
Readers can follow Sligo Masters on Facebook on @Sligogaelicmasters for updates, pictures and match reports, and also the national page for the Masters on @gaelicmasters.