The county’s dismal championship record at underage in recent years continues unabated. In this afternoon’s Connacht MFC preliminary round tie at MacHale Park, Damien Gavin’s charges were no match at all for Galway. Trailing from within minutes of the throw-in, our lads ended up shipping a severe beating, losing in the end by 3-15 to 0-11.
The writing was on the wall early on in this one. We had wind advantage, playing into the bacon factory end, in the first half but the visitors took control right from the off, scoring 1-2 without reply in the opening ten minutes. Although we settled somewhat as the opening period went on, cutting the gap back to two points, two further goals for Galway effectively put the game to bed before the break.
The young Tribesmen added further to their tally with three quick points after the resumption, in the process snuffing out any hint of a recovery before it even had a chance to get going. They won at the finish by a margin of thirteen points.
So for the third year in a row we’ve suffered defeat to Galway in the Connacht minor championship. More alarmingly, for the second time in three years that defeat amounted to a hammering and, like 2014, our minor championship year this year – the final one where it’s played as an U18 competition – lasted just sixty minutes plus injury time.
Winners of the Tom Markham Cup as recently as 2013, our form since then at this level is hugely worrying. Coupled with a similar slump in recent years at the U21 grade (notwithstanding last year’s hugely uplifting Clarke Cup success), this latest defeat naturally increases the concern about how long we can remain in the position we’re in within the province – not to mention at national level – at senior level. In this latter regard, it shouldn’t be forgotten that, for the first time since 2009, Galway will be seeking to defend the Nestor Cup this summer.
All told, it’s not a happy situation facing us. As other have already said, this latest defeat should prompt a thorough review of what the hell is going on within the county at underage level and what needs to be done to put matters right.
And that’s only the start of it because it’s only when such a review is completed and a clear action plan agreed on that the hard work – implementing it on the ground – begins. Today’s disappointing minor defeat suggests strongly that this work can’t start soon enough.