It’s a new month, some would say it’s a new season but it’s still cold and it’s still wet, though an upturn of sorts is expected in the weather by the weekend. Up here, Griffith Avenue has begun to show off its summer foliage (the pic above, by the way, shows the newly-appeared horse chestnut leaves on the avenue by night) so the weather has to improve soon, right?
Another improvement is the return of inter-county action. April-for-the-clubs won’t go down as an unqualified success but hopefully lessons will be learned – not least the one about leaving it to the individual counties to decide what to do – so that the month can be put to more productive use countrywide next year.
But we’re into May now and so there’s football – and hurling – to be played. Here’s a quick run-down on what’s on the immediate horizon.
Leaving aside the 13th of May for now, the biggest match involving the county in the near-term is, of course, the LGFA NFL Division One final this coming Sunday. It’s another Mayo/Dublin decider, it’s on at Parnell Park and the throw-in is set for 4pm. The match will also be televised live on TG4.
I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it to the Donnycarney venue myself for this one. We’re recording the Galway preview edition of the Mayo News football podcast in the west the evening before and I haven’t yet figured out the day after from a logistical point of view. Time to do so, I guess.
If you are planning to go, then the advice is to get your tickets sorted pronto. Parnell Park only holds around 10,000 souls and, with four counties in action on the day (Cavan and Tipperary are in the Division Two final throwing in at 2pm), it’s no surprise that demand is high for tickets. Dublin LGFA tweeted this morning (here) that available tickets are selling fast. You can buy tickets online here.
Ahead of then, there are two other matches involving the county that are of interest. These are being played as a double-header at MacHale Park tomorrow evening (Wednesday).
First off are the Juniors who face Roscommon in the Connacht JFC championship quarter-final, with that one throwing in at 6.30pm. The new Junior management team, headed by Jarlath Trench, was only installed formally the other week so they’ll have their work cut out against a Roscommon side that are, by all accounts, well prepared for battle.
Following that game, the county’s Minors (which is now, of course, U17) open their Connacht championship campaign with a Round One match against Leitrim. That round-robin tie throws in at MacHale Park at 8pm.
The Mayo News today (paper and digital variants) has features on both matches – as well as the ladies’ League decider – and it also carries an interview by Mike Finnerty with Minor manager Tomás Morley. As ever, it’s worth getting your hands on.
Mike will be at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence today for the formal launch of this year’s Connacht senior football championship. Audio gathered there, along with some other bits and pieces, will feature in a new episode of the Mayo News football podcast that’ll be available to listen to later in the week. The Galway preview edition of the podcast will then be online early next week.
Today’s launch is well-timed as this coming weekend sees the start of hostilities in this year’s Connacht championship. The fixture over in New York usually gets a clear run to start the summer action but this year the May Bank Holiday Sunday sees two Connacht championship matches taking place, neither of which will be contested on Irish soil.
The first of these throws in over at McGovern Park, Ruislip, where London entertain Sligo (throw-in 3.30pm). Barry Cassidy is the ref for that one. Then at 7.15pm (our time, which equates to 2.15pm for the East Coast Yanks) New York square off against Leitrim at Gaelic Park. Derek O’Mahoney has the whistle for that one and there’ll be match commentary on it available on Ocean FM.
Of the two, you’d have to say Leitrim face the greater peril, though the last time they visited the Bronx they gave the home team a sound whipping. The other match, though, is of greater potential interest to us as the winners there face the victors from our showdown with Galway, in the Connacht semi-final.
Yes, after all that April inactivity the action is about to start for real very soon.