Maree/Oranmore hope to mark emotional season by clinching top provincial honours


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Maree/Oranmore hope to mark emotional season by clinching top provincial honours Maree/Oranmore hope to mark emotional season by clinching top provincial honours

By Mike Rafferty

Maree/Oranmore will contest their first-ever Connacht Junior Cup final this Sunday when they make the trip out the M6 to take on Castlebar Celtic at the home of the Roscommon District League at Lecarrow (2pm).

The Mayo club is celebrating its centenary and will be hoping to justify the tag of favourites and clinch silverware to mark that historic milestone, and a first Connacht title since 2003 when they defeated another Galway side, the Headford-based Moyne Villa.

Maree/Oranmore was another 10 years away from coming into existence at that time as the club it is today: set up as a juvenile club, it merged with adult sides Oranmore FC and Oranbay 90 ahead of the 2012/13 season to become the thriving club it is today, fielding more than 50 teams and catering for almost 1,000 players.

The appointment of Brendan O’Connor as manager of the men’s senior A side four seasons ago kick-started an upward trajectory that looks like it is still on the rise. Finishes of fourth, third, and third in the last three seasons has seen them as best of the rest behind the top two of Salthill Devon and Athenry.

“In many ways it has been a frustrating few weeks as we firstly awaited to see who we would be playing and then getting a date for it as soon as possible,” O’Connor told City Sport, in reference to the three-week delay in scheduling the final due to objections over the result of Castlebar’s semi-final win over Salthill Devon.

“Despite all the issues we are delighted to be where we are. We have enjoyed our best season ever, what with our joint best league position and with our highest accumulation of points gained, the FAI Junior Cup run and now a place in the Connacht Cup final. The players deserve this, they are a very diligent bunch and we can see the progress gained over the years,” he said.

Castlebar Celtic were beaten finalists last season, when a scoreless decider against Athenry was decided on penalties. In all, they are chasing their 10th provincial title while they are appearing in their 19th final, with Maree/Oranmore making their bow in the provincial decider, and O’Connor is hopeful that the long lay-off for his side won’t be an issue.

“The delay in the fixture has caused us problems in that we have not played for four weeks and with most teams finished for the season it was not possible to arrange any friendlies. In contrast Castlebar are in the middle of their season and are playing almost twice a week.

Pictured: Kevin Costelloe of Marsh Ireland Ltd presents a set of training tops to the Maree/Oranmore squad and manager, Brendan O’Connor, ahead of Sunday’s Connacht Junior Cup final.

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