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03rd Feb 2024

The Fergal Boland story continues as Mayo’s almost forgotten man seals win against Dublin

Lee Costello

Fergal Boland

“What a way to win the game.”

Fergal Boland was almost a forgotten man in Mayo county’s team, having been dropped from the panel last year, but managed to kick the winner against Dublin tonight.

Boland was left out of Kevin McStay’s squad last season, and the Aghamore clubman simply had to put his head down, focus on his football and work his way back into contention.

The centre half forward was given his chance last week, and grabbed the opportunity with both hands when Mayo dismantled a passive Galway side, with three of their scores coming from Boland.

Now up against the All-Ireland champions Dublin, he was never going to get it just as easy, and it proved to be the case, paticuarly as the Leinster side set up very defensive – no doubt to rectify the errors that cost them three goals against Monaghan the week before.

Dublin were probably the better team throughout the match, but in typical Mayo fashion, they squeezed a goal through Stephen Coen, and with the game on knife edge, a little bit of inventiveness from Ryan O’Donoghue resulted in him kicking a free kick quickly to Boland, who had the composure to slot the ball over the bar with seconds left on the clock.

After the game, former Mayo star Lee Keegan was asked about the resurgence of the flying forward, and he was happy to sing his praises.

“We talked about him last week in a positive context, he probably found tonight a bit tough, he was obviously more of a marked man, but what a way to win the game.

“He made contributions at both ends, but got a great score to win the game and probably nicked it more so than deserved it.”

A positive attitude is clearly one of the reasons that Boland has been able to turn his county career around, and his mind set was clear when interviewed by TG4 last week after the Galway game.

“I wouldn’t be the sort of fella to start arguing or anything, or to cause any conflict,” the Tooreen hurler told us back then.

“He gives you one or two reasons why you’re gone, or let go, and basically it’s up to yourself then. It’s up to me now if I want to force my way back onto the panel, it’s as simple as that.

“And you just have to be completely honest with yourself. You’re just going to have to get better as a player and play well for your club and then hopefully force your way back next year or whatever.”

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