The County Board executive met last night and at the meeting Damien Gavin was confirmed as the new manager of the county minors. The Swinford clubman was previously part of Enda Gilvarry’s backroom team and he now takes charge for 2017, aided and assisted by selectors Brian McLoughlin (Burrishoole), Padraic Costello (Ballinrobe) and Michael Doocey (Cill Chomáin).
Enda Gilvarry’s reign as minor manager saw the county capture its seventh All-Ireland title at this level. On that emotional rollercoaster day in September 2013, the minors lit up Croke Park beating Tyrone to claim the Tom Markham Cup, a success that was sadly to be overshadowed by the seniors’ narrow defeat to Dublin that same afternoon. The fruits of the 2013 minor victory have, however, been evident since then, with largely the same group of players going on to capture this year’s U21 All-Ireland title and with Stephen Coen, Michael Hall, Conor Loftus and two-time Young Footballer of the Year Diarmuid O’Connor already progressing through to the senior ranks.
The county’s minor fortunes have dipped since that 2013 high watermark, with defeat to eventual champions Kerry in the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final before a disastrous Connacht semi-final thrashing by Galway last year. The ship was steadied somewhat this year, with a narrow Connacht final loss (again to Galway) before elimination by Kildare at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage.
The task of the new management team will be to get the county back punching its weight at minor level, at a time when the grade transitions from U18 to U17. The best of luck of Damien and his colleagues as they take the reins. Best wishes too to Enda Gilvarry and his management team for their considerable achievements in their time in charge of the minors.
The county’s hurlers enjoyed a stellar year in 2016, what with Rackard Cup success and promotion back to Christy Ring Cup level for next year. It was, then, no surprise that JP Coen should be confirmed as the hurlers’ manager for a further year, with this appointment also being ratified at last night’s executive meeting.
The date for this year’s annual Mayo GAA convention was also fixed at last night’s meeting. The convention will take place on Sunday, 4th December, at the McWilliam Park Hotel in Claremorris.