Connacht championship launched

Photo: Galway Bay FM

I’m just back in the door from a day in the west, where, in sizzling Bekan, I attended the official launch of this year’s Connacht championship. The weather was absolutely glorious there today, perfect conditions to fire the starting gun for this year’s provincial championship west of the Shannon.

Whether or not the provincial championships should continue to exist at all is a question being posed like never before and it was an issue that at least got a bit of an airing today. As you’d expect, the official line from the Connacht Council officers who spoke at the event was that the current format still has merit.

Local rivalries, the joys of getting one over on the neighbours and the dreams harboured by smaller counties of claiming provincial silverware were the main lines of argument rolled out to defend the status quo. All fairly weak and rather dated justifications, in other words, for a structure that will see precious few contests of note between now and the August Bank Holiday weekend.

To be fair, however, the outcome of this year’s Connacht title is – as Mick Rock noted at the event – anything but pre-ordained. We may be the favourites for the Nestor Cup but we’re not the defending champions in the west and, if we do manage to come out on top, we’re unlikely to have as easy a time as Dublin and Kerry will surely have in negotiating their respective ways to provincial success.

The main reason I was down sunning myself in Bekan today was to meet up with Rob Murphy to record the first Mayo News football podcast of the summer. More on that over the next few days but, including as it did interesting chats with the likes of Stephen Rochford and Cillian O’Connor (piece with him for RTÉ here), you can be assured that the opening podcast of this year’s championship campaign will be well worth a listen.

21 thoughts on “Connacht championship launched

  1. Only game in town in this Connacht championship is Mayo and Galway in Pearce Stadium on Sunday 11th June.A really dangerous game for Mayo in Pearce.Its hard to judge how good Galway really are winning Division 2.but it will give them a cocky confidence plus the way there under 21s performed aswell.Working in Galway I here that every man good enough in the county is on the panel in comparison to other years where some Corofin players had opted out and Mike Meehan and Sean Armstrong took early retirement. I fear Mike meehan and Damo Comer in a full forward line could cause us big problems.Meehan kicked 1-12 in a recent challenge game for Caltra but Galway still are very weak at centre back and in there full back line but have as gòod as forwards as any in the country.

  2. TH, Let’s take nothing for granted, Sligo after going 2points down versus New York with 20 mins left upped their game and put New York to the sword when they had to, if Mayo have their eye’s on Galway they had better be prepared for a shock in Castlebar on Sunday week.. Learn the lessons of last year, when Galway were written off by so many, especially by some recently associated with the Mayo team.. Nothing motivates opposition like, disrespect, (no doubt Galway were very motivated after some of the utterances of this time last year) be prepared to play to your very best or be prepared to lose. We have to accept that we will start favourites, but the score board will read Nil /Nil,. Anything is possible in sport.

  3. So excited that its that time of year again. I see on social media all the keyboard warriors are out in full force writing Mayo off again. I do think its going to be a tougher Championship this year for Mayo. They need to just focus and take one game at a time and not take any team for granted including Sligo. Mayo can’t afford to be complacent. I constantly hear everyone going on about Mayo’s biggest problem being that they don’t have the forwards but why then do we get so close each year??? I thought Danny Kirby was impressive this year in the League so fingers crossed. Let the games begin

  4. Any hear an ad on sky having a dig at mayo…
    Didt hear it but son 1 message me.

    Along there
    Support your team even if it’s mayo
    Anyone….

  5. All focus on next Sunday v Sligo for me. Let’s hope the weather is good as there is alot of rain forecast for the next few days. This time next week we will be eagerly awaiting team news.

  6. What excites me about this summer is the thought that a few players might bring a new higher level in terms of their own performance. In that bracket I’d be hoping about Stephen Coen, Danny Kirby and Conor OShea. If even just two of those were improved performance wise it would really add to things.

  7. Yes we do have Sligo of course and its a game that has to be won but if we can’t manage Sligo in csstlebar in late May , we will know this era has ended.

    Galway is where it’s at , that game could define our season , last year was a fook up , to hell with them qualifier s, this team needs stability in their timetable . I’ll be a total prick about it , beat galway , we win Connacht unless ros have improved 60% . Winning back the Nestor cup sets up nicely , one more game and its Kerry most likely in a semi final showdown. That’s the aim, call me arrogant , presumptious or whatever but I bet you that’s what management think is the best route. It gives you time , rest, a definite timetable for schedule etc , surely with this team at the stage they’re at would benefit. So its the front door I’d be looking to kick down all the way .

  8. Seems to have been a busy day all round yesterday if the Indo today (sorry some posters, spoiler alert) is anything to go by.

    Did you slip Kevin Walsh some sedative down there in Bekan Willie Joe? He managed to say absolutely nothing in the quoted remarks in said Indo. Rory Gallagher though was more forthright on Stephen McBrearty’s departure from the panel: “By his own admission, he wasn’t playing overly well with the U-21s and he felt that it was a good time for him to go.The reality is that we are now focusing on the 38 players that we have. We judge everyone by how they train”.

    Panel of 38? No cutbacks there.

  9. Bring on Sligo and the Road to Croke Park September 17 has started. Mayo will lift Sam this year, I KNOW it! A special thanks to John for all his work on this blog and the countless hours of research and work! Those of us who follow are always grateful for the next new post! Thanks also to Rob Murphy for the wonderful Mayo News Pod Casts, you make my 3 hour round trip commute bearable and love the format with so many guest speakers and real emotion. A special thank you also to the Club 51 Crew (Michael and Anne-Marie and others) you keep our spirits focused and bring the dream of Green and Red alive! As a new fan of Mayo over the last 8 months you have all kept the spirit of our team alive through some dark days and now as the sun is shining on Mayo we can all rise and continue this quest in supporting the best group of players and managers in the GAA! To the Our Mayo team lads and management that have never stopped training and living the memories of September 18 and October 1, we all remain grateful for your dedication, diligence and commitment…we are all “In It Together ” and we will be your 16th team member…in the stands, listening via Midwest Radio, Live Streaming, waiting for the next twitter update from the heart of Mayo to my small town in Florida! Let’s do this! We got this! The time is now and we are ready!!! Maigh Eo Abú

  10. I think it must have been the sun that got to him, Catcol! From what I could see, he did most of his interviews down on one of the pitches and it was seriously hot down there yesterday. That kind of sun can drive a man to say all kinds of mad things.

  11. i agree with you 100% Sean Burke, front door is the ideal scenario,its as you said more structured schedule,
    cant wait for sunday week ,love this time of year.
    Hon Mayo

  12. Yeah, Sligo in Mchale followed by Galway in Pearse, which i think is actually preferable given our recent record at Mchale. I think we will play better in Pearse.

    Then Rosgommon back at Mchale which could be a banana skin for us if we cant put in a decent 70 minutes on our home patch. I would expect us to have enough though to get out of Connacht.

    Quarter final could be anybody and then no doubt about it, we will have Kerry waiting for us in the semi final in August. From there on we would need to be more streetwise than ever before with a good dollop of the “dark arts” thrown in because thats what will be thrown at us.

    Chances are we will witness 15 green and red clad young men carried out on their shields once again from Croke Park, having given everything on a wet afternoon in August. The green and gold marching on to another final. The 66 year wait turning to 67.

    Ah Christ. Change the record for once.

    Anyway one step at a time. Lets see what Sligo throw at us and make sure we handle it. The rest of them can wait for now.

  13. Sligo are first up not Galway. We would be fav but our McHale Park record recently is pretty poor.

    Should we get past them the Galway game is a huge game. IMO they are better than last year, the Corifin lads, lundy, Armstrong and Meehan are big additions. Everyone said they were weak at the back last year but that didn’t stop them having pur forwards in their pockets for the whole game. Mayo will need to be at their best to beat a very confident Galway side.

    Fortheloveofmayo, forwards are our biggest problem and have been for as long as I can remember, its the difference between close and winning. Top class forwards win big games. The only improvement is possibly Kirby at ff which could be a revelation if implemented properly.

    John lynskey, the ad on sky is purely innocent, Voiced over by Chris ODowd, really tongue in cheek, cant see how anyone can be offended by it.

  14. I think people are reading far too much into that Sky ad folks. Lets face it, its a Roscommon man saying it, I doubt he would give up the opportunity for a dig, but in the same vein It’s not as if Roscommon have acquitted themselves very well in Croke park at any stage in the past number of years, we at least get to Finals there. I’m sure they would love the shoe to be on the other foot when it comes to where we are versus their own records.

    Anyway – this isn’t about Roscommon. We may or may not meet them later on in the season but we have to overcome Sligo and Galway before having that particular opposition to concern ourselves with.

  15. Agree with Sean Burke. Front door is the best outcome at the end of the day. I don’t think the team has it in them to go via the backdoor route to be honest. Sligo is potentially a banana skin. Hopefully the players will have learned the lesson from last year against Galway. I also hope nobody stirs the pot ala James Horan last year.

  16. If Mayo approach Sligo as they approached Cavan in the league, they’ll be playing qualifier football again this Summer.

    That game was also at fortress McHale Park. This team under Rochy has a habit (and a bad habit) of taking the temperature of a game, pulverising the ‘losers’ they are playing for 10 or 15 minutes, and then going for an afternoon nap.

    Sligo are no mugs and they had some pretty decent results in the league, albeit lacking consistency at vital stages.

  17. For those reader’s and poster’s that find the ‘Sky’ ad offensive. Bear in mind the word’s of Oscar Wilde’………’ ‘The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about ‘….even more true today than it was over 100 years ago. Besides’ can’t see anything offensive in the ad.

  18. Ok lads tks ….didt hear it.
    ..Chris odowd….poor old sheepstealer….that’s enough
    .ha

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