Ruairi Henry believes recent results and performances have proved that this side can mix it up with the best of them. PHOTOS: RYAN GALLAGHER

Consistency is the key for Manulla this year


MANULLA manager Walter Barrett will be hoping his side can build on their recent cup runs ahead of the upcoming Super League season.

It has been quite the turnaround for Manulla, having come off the back of a poor Super League season last year, with inconsistency in results and the loss of many senior players proving a major issue. Barrett, who was appointed manager at the beginning of October, has since turned fortunes around. They accounted for Cloonfad United, Westport United and Carbury in the FAI Junior Cup – the latter two in dramatic fashion – before falling to Limerick heavyweights Fairview Rangers in a valiant effort.

The recent Connacht Cup has also yielded impressive results, with Mervue United standing in their way of a place in the quarterfinals.

“We’ve improved an awful lot,” said Barrett. “When I took the job, the team was awful depleted. We lost a lot senior players, lot of really good players. We had to start from scratch again and we sort of based our team on that which won the Helen Johnson Under 18 League a couple of years ago. Most of them players are here with us and we also have some of the older guys as well. There’s good chemistry there. We’ve a bunch of young lads who play football together and go socialising together afterwards.

“It’s great to have something to play for over the past few months. You could see it in the training sessions that everybody was trying to get into the squad and starting 11. Training was at a really high intensity and enjoyable for everybody.”

For Manulla defender Ruairi Henry, recent results and performances have proved that this side can mix it up with the best of them. “It’s always a mighty experience but I wouldn’t be long putting ourselves up there as one of the bigger clubs. If these games have shown us anything, it’s that we’re not pushovers. We can play ball and if that’s not working, we know how to fight. We know we’re going to put up a fight against any Super League team and put ourselves in the mix.”


A major obstacle for many Mayo League teams is the demands of GAA for dual players and as a rural club, Manulla are hampered more than most.

With neighbouring GAA clubs Balla, Breaffy and Mayo Gaels in the senior championship and Parke-Keelogues-Crimlin competitive in intermediate, that issue becomes even greater, but Henry feels their manager has done well in creating a good atmosphere around the club ins spite of those challenges.

“It’s not hard to hide the fact that we struggled and get a consistent 11 (last season). It’s tough to compete against the national sport.

“I think that’s one thing with Wally is that he’s going to create a good atmosphere around the club. So far, that’s happening. There’s a great buzz in training and good intensity, and lads have responded to that. Hopefully, this time around, we can push on more and be a bit more consistent.

“You really do need a good balance and sit down and go: ‘What if these guys are not there? Have we got a consistent team?’ admits Barrett. “Hopefully going forward, we have a basis of 15, 16 players without the GAA lads. Once you put in a sprinkling of them, it can turn a team into a real good, quality team.”

As to where Manulla will end up this year, Barrett is uncertain. But to keep a core group week in and week out given the problems last season would be a major positive. “I’d love at the end of the season to sit down, look at the team sheet and see that every single week, we have nine to 10 players playing week in, week out.

“That to me would be the biggest success this year, regardless of where we finish.”