Juniors in action this Friday

It’s championship season – which the weather of late confirms, even if the absence of any action suggests otherwise – and while we count down the days to our opening Connacht championship fixture the weekend after next, there’s some more immediate action to consider. This comes in the form of a Connacht JFC semi-final against Sligo, which is fixed for Fr O’Hara Park, Charlestown this coming Friday evening with a 7pm throw-in.

The Juniors have gone well in the championship in recent years. They head into this Connacht campaign seeking a provincial three-in-a-row, having come out the right side of narrow contests against Galway in both 2015 and again last year.

In both years they made it to the All-Ireland final but, unfortunately, on both occasions came up against the juggernaut that is Junior football in Kerry. In 2015 they suffered a right whipping in the decider, losing 2-18 to 0-10, while last year, in a game that acted as the curtain-raiser to our All-Ireland quarter-final against Tyrone at Croke Park, they went under by 2-18 to 2-11.

As the match preview in this week’s Western People (paper and digital variants) makes clear, however, this year’s Junior team is a much-changed one from the side that lined out in that All-Ireland final last August. Eleven players involved in last year’s panel are, for a variety of reasons, not available for selection this year.

The Western notes that all of the current Westport team, bar Lee Keegan and the injured Kevin Keane, are eligible to line out for the Juniors but, as yet, none of them have made themselves available. While this is obviously a disappointment for manager Sean McLoughlin and his selectors, it’s also an understandable position from the point of view of the club and the players. Their 2016 season stretched well into this year, culminating in All-Ireland glory, and now they’re adjusting to top-tier club life, with a second round of club SFC action not too far down the road.

One player who is, however, available to play for the Juniors is former senior player Mark Ronaldson. The Shrule/Glencorrib clubman has jumped at the chance to don the county jersey once again and he’s interviewed in this week’s Mayo Newshere.

As is explained in that match preview in the Western, Sligo operate a different criteria to us in relation to eligibility. Anyone who has played in the senior club championship in the previous year is ineligible to play Junior inter-county for us while, for Sligo, anyone not on the senior county team can play. As the Western notes, this means that a number of lads who were on the New York trip last weekend could line out for the Magpies on Friday.

Whoever emerges from Friday’s semi-final faces a very quick turnaround as the Connacht JFC final has been fixed for this day week (17th May). Leitrim will play the winners from Friday’s semi-final as they beat Galway in the other semi-final last weekend.

Best of luck to Sean McLoughlin and his charges as they set out on another JFC campaign.

21 thoughts on “Juniors in action this Friday

  1. Thanks Willie Joe. I love the way the blazers can organise some competitions to run off over a couple of weeks, while the Connacht senior championship rumbles on from April until mid July.

    On another note if it’s not off topic, I see Gavin praise of Paddy Neilan (just don’t give him our games) was timely. Referees panel for the championship has just been released – per Hogan Stand. Now his reasoning becomes apparent – don’t let those newbies in to anything difficult (Dublin), because it wouldn’t be fair.Here it is:

    Football championship referees’ panel: Ciaran Branagan (Down), Barry Cassidy (Derry), David Coldrick (Meath), Niall Cullen (Fermanagh), Maurice Deegan (Laois), Marty Duffy (Sligo), David Gough (Meath), Jerome Henry (Mayo), Rory Hickey (Clare), Padraig Hughes (Armagh), Sean Hurson (Tyrone), Fergal Kelly (Longford), Conor Lane (Cork), Joe McQuillan (Cavan), Noel Mooney (Cavan), Paddy Neilan (Roscommon), Anthony Nolan (Wicklow), Derek O’Mahony (Tipperary), Padraig O’Sullivan (Kerry), Cormac Reilly (Meath).

  2. Can’t see the juniors doing much, don’t think they have had 1 training session together.

  3. I wonder could we ever change the junior team to being a development team? There doesn’t seem to be any will to do it. It just seems to be a pick some lads, run it off and see how we go each year.

  4. Agree JP, see how Kerry treat it, basically an U24 squad with a view of moving the best into the senior squad. The way Mayo run it is a complete waste of time.

  5. If you gave it to a young enthusiastic manager like Damian Egan for example. Allowed him free reign to approach the clubs. Guarantee him x number of training sessions. Have it as simply all those players not on the senior panel of 31.
    Put in a few of the stronger U20’s. This years U20’s for example have a decent set of forwards but will not get the opportunity to don the Mayo jersey.

  6. Anybody have any idea what players are actually on the panel bar Mark Ronaldson?? I hear the Westport lads rejected the chance to play which I found surprising. Should always be a proud day if you get a chance to wear the green and red at any level.

  7. Can anyone tell me, who sets the rules for counties in junior selection. Is it CP or is it the individual county boards. If it’s the latter, then I think Mayo need to rethink our system.

  8. It is a terrible way to organise a football competition. Kerry are smarter in this regard. Our approach to most things is half baked at best. Mediocrity is the goal and we are improving at it.

  9. In fairness, we seem to take the competition more serious than most. Galway lost to leitrim in the other semi final while many counties don’t even enter the thing.

  10. David Clifford scored 2-8 for Kerry minors this evening. More than the entire Cork team. I saw this guy last year at 16 and he was outstanding, one of the best minors I’ve ever seen. It would be some Craic listening to the Kerry pundits if Tadhg Kennelly took him away to Australia! Wherever he goes he looks likely to be a major star in future provided he stays injury free. Hopefully Mayo might produce one or two players like him in the next couple of years

  11. The aussies are already looking at Clifford .hopefully he will go.mark o Connor supposed to be making his debut for Geelong this weekend.

  12. I would hope Clifford stays, the game needs the type of player which he is shaping up to be no matter who he plays for (would be better if green and red though). but if he gets an offer and he wants to go then I hope he makes the most of it.

  13. I also hope David Clifford stays. It’s like Matt Le Tissier used to be in the Premiership. You need those players in the game who give that spark of magic to keeping your overall interest in the overall game. I think it would be such a waste of talent skill wise to not see him stay in our game.
    Mayo will be out of the championship early some years. It would be nice to be watching good football/footballers each year. I find each year I am more excited by minor and U21 than all that goes on at senior level.

  14. I think that David Clifford is a cousin of the O’Shea boys. I seem to remember Aidan sending him a tweet of congratulations after last year’s All-Ireland minor final. Pity he and his family didn’t follow his cousins to Mayo!

  15. Yeah Wide Ball, your right there, I just googled it now. David Shaw seems to be is a handy footballer as well.

  16. I’d be interested to see what happens with Cian Hanley now. He’s been very unlucky with injuries since moving to Brisbane and unfortunately hasn’t made a breakthrough yet. It’s a very tough gig to make it over there, and it should be remembered that most Irish players that go across don’t make the grade for one reason or another. I’d love to see him emulating his brother Pearce but if it doesn’t happen in the next 12 months the AFL is a cut-throat world and he might start looking towards home. He’s a quality player and I’ve no doubt he’d be competing for a place in the Mayo panel if he ever returned…

  17. Mayo have no choice in their selection of the Jinior team – it’s players from Intermediaate and Junior clubs only. Sligo and Leitrim operate under different rules because of their smaller number of clubs. Leitrim have only one, that’s right – one – Junior club and 11 Intermediate clubs. They have not taken part in the Connacht Junior Club Championship for several years. Kerry on the other hand have only nine Senior clubs because of their amalgamation policy which gives them a huge advantage when it comes to Junior Inter County and to the All Ireland Junior and Intermediate Club championships. Mayo could opt for the Kerry tactic but not for the Leitrim one.

  18. The Mayo team for tonight’s Junior Connacht semi-final final against Sligo at 7pm is:

    1. Mattie Flanagan (Balla)
    2. Barry Leonard (Lahardane)
    3. Padraic O’Malley (Louisburgh)
    4. Conor Walsh (Balla)
    5. James Kelly (Belmullet)
    6. Ray Neary (Parke/Keelogues/Crimlin)
    7. Barry Duffy (Balla)
    8. Michael Forde (Ballycastle, Captain)
    9. Peter Collins (Islandeady)
    10. Mark Ronaldson (Shrule/Glencorrib)
    11. John Reilly (Kiltane)
    12. Kevin Gibbons (Louisburgh)
    13. Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet)
    14. James Maughan (Lahardane)
    15. David Walsh (Bonniconlon)

    16. Chris McGlynn (Moy Davitts)
    17. Cormac Gordon (Islandeady)
    18. Ronan Neary (Bonniconlon)
    19. Stephen Rochford (Ardagh)
    20. Brian Henneghan (Moy Davitts)
    21. Robert Holian (The Neale)
    22. Kevin Lynch (Mayo Gaels)
    23. Sean Gaughan (Belmullet)
    24. Adrian Leonard (Lahardane)
    25. Liam Moran (Swinford)
    26. Oisin McHugh (Moy Davitts)
    27. Eoghan McGrath (Cill Chomain)

    Manager: Sean McLoughlin
    Selector: Nigel Reape, John Gilmore, James Kelly, Frank McHale.

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