Weekend’s action approaching

It’s Thursday already and, with the weekend drawing near, so too is the action slated for Saturday and Sunday. Mind you, the snow’s apparently on the way too, though the worst of the cold blast appears to be due to hit later on today and tomorrow so maybe playing conditions will be okay for the weekend.

There’s a definite Yeatsian flavour to the coming weekend’s action. On Saturday, the U21s are due to get their North-West Cup campaign underway with a Round 2 match against Sligo, which is set to take place at the Sligo GAA Centre of Excellence. Throw-in for that one is set for 6pm under the lights at Scarden.

While Mike Solan’s charges sat out last weekend due to Derry’s withdrawal from the tournament, Sligo got off to the best possible start in the competition with a 2-13 to 2-17 win over Donegal at Letterkenny (match report here).  Saturday’s opener for our lads will, then, see them up against a confident Magpies outfit aiming to seal a place in the decider with a second win on the trot. It should be a decent test for them.

The following afternoon the seniors have their second FBD League match of the year, with IT Sligo the opposition at James Stephens Park in Ballina (throw-in 2pm). The college team got an awful mauling from Roscommon last weekend (a 24-point one to be precise, going under by 6-21 to 0-15) and their cause apparently wasn’t helped by the fact (reported here) that their Donegal contingent opted instead to line out for their county in the McKenna Cup.

I thought the colleges had first pick in January but given the haemorrhage of experienced talent from the Donegal senior panel in recent days, it’s maybe not surprising that they’d want all available players for their pre-season campaign up there. I’ve no idea what this means for the kind of team IT Sligo will be able to field against us in Ballina on Sunday.

The senior panel are only due to arrive back off their hols tomorrow – what a cold blast they’ll feel then when they do so – so it’s got to be questionable if many (or, indeed, any) of them will be called on to play for us on Sunday. Last weekend’s defeat to NUIG combined with the Rossies’ bountiful positive points difference from their thumping of IT Sligo means that an FBD final place is an extremely remote target for us so there must be a strong temptation for Stephen Rochford to continue with the same kind of experimentation next Sunday.

The advantage of this would be that it’d give last Sunday’s panel another opportunity to shine, while affording the 2016 panel further time to prep for the League opener early next month. Ahead of that, some of the lads could be eased back into action the weekend after next in the final FBD fixture, an away one (in Kiltoom) against Roscommon.

No doubt the Rossies will once again be hell-bent then to extend their January dominance over us. From our perspective, though, this tie – our first proper inter-county match of the year – is the ideal time to field something resembling a League team ahead of the opening round of the NFL a fortnight after that.

There’s no word yet on a panel for Sunday and I’d say that, like last weekend, there’s every chance that it’ll only be on the day that this news appears. Now that you’ve had some time to peruse the team photo from last Sunday, however, there’s no excuses for mixing lads’ names up, regardless of what team takes the field for us then.

26 thoughts on “Weekend’s action approaching

  1. IT Sligo along with Carlow IT are the worst team playing in this years inter county pre season competitions.

    When NUIG play IT Sligo in round 3 they will beat them by at least 15 and regardless of what team Mayo line out with should also beat them by that margin.

    The U21 game will be a much better contest to view. Sligo are ever improving at underage and schools level. Should be a good competitive game that both managers will want at this time of year.

  2. Yes we have been watching Silgo at underage for a while and I agree they are improving as a county team. Hope to see the same squad out again on Sunday in Ballina. As has already been mentioned that they make a lot of mistakes but were there or thereabouts of effort. Even if their fitness left them down. Temperatures will have recovered from the cold snap and there should be a crowd there. Looking forward to game 2 of 2017.

  3. Watched Sligo minors last year in the Connacht league in Enniscrone (same day as Connacht U21 final) and whilst Mayo won it was obvious that the Sligo team were very well coached, in great condition and very big. Where Mayo won that day was a very good full back line. Cant really recall who played there (suffering after a wedding the day before) but there was a very good full back on show.

  4. MO2017,

    Where do you rate GMIT, hammered last w/e by Leitrim. I can’t recall the actual score but it was a hammering. It’s a long time since Leitrim figured in a real way in NFL or Championship.

  5. AndyD I would rate GMIT I little higher than IT Sligo. Truth to be known the ITs are struggling nowadays as the top county players are all going to UCD,UUJ,DCU instead

    Leitrim play their best football in January they have only lost I believe just once in the last 4 years of FBD league football.

  6. Don’t expect to see a team sheet until match day. I believe it will be an experimental side again minus the three Westport players we may get kenny and loftus back injuries weren’t reported to be long term. James durcan will most probably start

    Michael Solan all of last year never provide U21 team news until match day not sure what the big secret is. 0ther counties announces training squads but never in mayo.

    Con-telegraph was reporting that Douglas picked up a thumb injury and is doubtful for Sunday

  7. While I accept with reluctance that not revealing your hand may be part of a tactical ploy at the latter stage of the championship, it defies all logic why the panel of players for sunday is not made available to supporters. Instead we are left to discuss the match in a speculative manner.
    That said, I do hope James Durcan starts, it would be a nice confidence booster. If Douglas is injured then it is unfortunate. To his credit he never stopped trying last Sunday when things were not always going right and he was central player in some quick incisive passing movements. Neil is a quality club player who deserves time to see if he can put it in for county.

  8. James Durcan could be a late bloomer alright. You’d imagine he’s close to as fit as Patrick.
    Might just need plenty more football to catch up a bit.

  9. Well he may not have benefitted from the same strenth and conditioning program that Patrick did with the county panel last year. I do agree he could be in the same mould. Confidence building is huge and these are the games for that. And yes JP plenty of football.

  10. I imagine it will be some of the same team as last week minus the U-21’s .
    Be tough expecting U21’s to play again, even dangerous with heavy pitches .

    Last year or maybe year before North Mayo lads got a run out in this fixture the likes of the Ruttledges from Knockmore , Alex Corduff and O Hora from Ballina, Stephen Duffy from Crossmolina, Farrell from Killala and one or two from Adrnaree so if those lads were added instead of the U21’s and maybe the likes of Ger McDonagh and O Donnell form Charlestown if they are fit should be close enough to the team?

  11. Just saw in the mayo news that Neil Douglas has a broken thumb and will miss the rest of the FBD League. Very unlucky for him although I’m sure he’ll get a shot in the league when he’s recovered.

  12. @wide ball
    He must be bitterly disappointed, this is the third mayo management team he has tried to impress. Had little chance last year with Castlebars run in the club championship. This year he must have felt it would be his year, Hopefully he is kept on for the league campaign.

    @outside of the boot
    O Donnell from charlestown was going to miss some time with his injury. Don’t believe he was going to be available for the FBD. Is Ger McDonagh unavailable or injured, he was supposed to run last year but injury prevented this from happening.

  13. Another article in the mayo news, Mayo’s next best 15 that were either involved or unavailable last week by Ger Flanagan. His selection was
    Matthew Flanagan
    Tom Cunniffe Seamus Cunniffe Shane McHale
    Padraig Feerick Conor Walsh Shairoze Akram
    Padraig Prendergast Aidan Walsh
    Kevin Gibbons Conor Keane Darran McHale
    James Shaughnessy Mikey Conroy Mark Ronaldson

    Not sure what everyone else thinks but in time Flanagan, Seamus Cunniffe, Akram and maybe Prendergast will get their chance but for the remainder Conor Walsh would be the only one that maybe should be looked at a little closer. He had a really good year. Most of the other players have been tried and tested, some even in the Junior setup like Feerick, Keane and Gibbons.

    Interesting to see that Darran Coen,Ger McDonagh nor Matthew Ruane names don’t appear.

  14. Ger McDonagh was on the senior panel last year so I presume he’s on the holiday. Agree with you about Coen and Ruane’s ommission.

  15. Tom Cunniffe unavailable? Since he broke ranks with his blathering to Brehony I think he can have no interest in coming back and that’s it’s only wishful thinking that can see him coming back. It is a pity as he still has an awful lot to offer but I think he has burned his bridges.

  16. Cunniffe never ranked that high for me as a defender throughout his time with the Mayo senior team. Was very happy to see the path being cleared for Harrison last year. Onward and upward.

  17. It’ll be interesting to see how Donie Newcombe will get on, like Brendan Harrison, he always struck me as a game lad. He has a good attitude. He was captain of Castlebar as well in the past so that’s a good sign. He is no stranger to popping over a point or two either, when he gets the chance. We’ll see how it goes anyway.

  18. Caolan what’s his name and Drake of Ballagh…. are they away with the revellers as well? They re fellas who ought to be out and about ASAP and Regan and Freeman on top of all the young prospects being mentioned. Regan in particular needs a right good run and not necessarily in the corner.Hes become kinda typecast in a funny sort of way….neither this nor that …in contrast to so much initial promise!

  19. Hey guys easy on the Mayo there with Tom Cunniffe. He has given outstanding service to club and county. Who can forget those powerful runs out of defence that changed the trajectory of many a game, his shoulder on Peter Harte, and phases of intelligent defending too numerous to mention.

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