May day

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.

19 thoughts on “May day

  1. I have to say it would be the first time ever that a Bohola man, a Swinford man and a Kiltimagh man agreed on anything. Maybe it’s because their is two bohola men on the Mayo U17 selector team. Kevin Filan and Tom Mulderrig. Also believe that Tomás Morley spent a time in Bohola National School. Wishing them all well and hoping they have a fruitful year. Good read in the Mayo news as always. 36 man panel names a lot coming from last years U16 A clubs and A level Schools Castlebar last year county champs having most with 5. Good representation from around the County you would have to say.

  2. You have a bit of nature in yea WJ. Fond of the bit of gardening myself I’m always watching out for the fine days. I love staring at trees and always wonder what age they are. I like the picture.
    Good luck to all the teams at the weekend. I hope the ladies put in a good performance.

  3. Excellent interview with Tomas Morley the Mayo minor manager in the Mayo News. One new thing that they are doing and I think it is a great idea. They have kept the 20 players who did not make the match day squad involved in the training. They have established training centres in Erris, Ballina, Castlebar and Bekan, There is a football and fitness coach at each of these centres. Quite well picked locations when you think about it. You would struggle to pick a point on the Mayo map more than 25 minutes drive from one of those locations.
    They spent January and February taking a panel of 120 down to 50. It really does look like it’s a well planned effort has gone into minor this year.
    Separately I read where the Mayo juniors tomorrow will warmup in their club gear. A classy touch I thought. Does seem to be an unfairness in that Roscommon are reportedly going to play fully fledged current senior panellists in that match tomorrow. Who of course will revert to the senior panel once called upon for the senior championship.

  4. willie joe. mayo gaa are looking for the name of the passionate mayo supporter,a picture is included on mayo gaa twitter.I AM SURE HIS NAME IS JOE RUANE.he was a frequent contribuitor to the blog at one stage. you may have his contact details. i hope i am not taking liberties on this blog

  5. 100% agree with you JP on the minor setup about the pod training areas. They got a good look of wants out there, you can tell by the clubs involved which include B and C level teams but have that one exceptional calibre player. I think its great they are keeping an eye on the future, keeping the 20 players because of player development. Just have to look at the big soccer academies best players at 16 and 17 rarely make the breakthrough, its the late developers that come out of nowhere you have to watch out for.

  6. @Mayomessi I think I counted 22 players from strong clubs in the 15/16/17 possible ages.
    Then as you said a mix of clubs after that. The core of the team I think will be from the strongest six clubs and then the two from Garrymore as captain/vice captain.
    Soccer has finally learned the lessons of dismissing players at 16/17.
    Robert Lewandowski, Harry Kane and Mo Salah. All dismissed as being too small and weak. Only really at their top level well into their 20’s.
    The same in Gaelic football. Managers are finally being smart and not only looking at ex minor n ex u21s. They are willing to put 2-3 years to knock the edges off a fringe 23/24 year old.

  7. Danny Hughes of Down says that Paddy Tally (formerly of Tyrone and Down and Mary’s college Belfast,who won Sigerson Cup last year) will bring that bit of Ulster Edge and nastiness to Galway and he added that he was the best coach he ever played under. Mayo had a player sent off in Salthill last year ( who appeared to react to sledging), did we also loose a player in the league in Salthill this year who also reacted to sledging? The Gooch wrote in his book that almost every one of the Tyrone players were willing to engage in sledging, so it is reasonable to assume that a lot of sledging will be directed at our players on Sunday week. Our players CAN NOT REACT to verbal abuse on the 13th, WE HAVE TO KEEP 15 PLAYERS ON THE PITCH THE NEXT DAY. We will need LEADERS all over the pitch if we are to beat Galway.
    John Mullane described Kilkenny’s win over Tipperary in the recent League Final as follows
    “Manic work, manic aggression, men won”, never-say -die attitude and keep going till the final whistle, another correspondent described Kilkenny as having a massive hunger for battle and that their work rate was huge. If Mayo play with the same attitude as Kilkenny, they will win, if not they will loose.

  8. MAYO UNDER-17 SQUAD (Published in The Mayo News)
    Ronan Connolly (Ardnaree), Sean Holmes (Knockmore), Eoghan McHale (Castlebar), Aidan Cosgrove (Kiltimagh), Ruairi Keane (Mayo Gaels), Liam Og Horkan (Garrymore), Conor Dunleavy (Balla), Jack Carney (Kilmeena), Harry Burke (Claremorris), Frank Irwin (Ballina), Ultan O’Reilly (Castlebar), Lee Traynor (Ardagh), Martin Ball (Lousiburgh), Fionnan Ryan (Belmullet), Enda Hession (Garrymore), Darragh Fallon (Claremorris), Luke Dawson (Westport), Paddy Heneghan (Castlebar), Liam O’Donoghue (Kiltane), Ethan Henry (Mayo Gaels), Peter Timlin (Knockmore), Fergal Sweeney (The Neale), Evan Ivers (Belmullet), Ciaran Mylett (Castlebar), Padraig Beirne (Breaffy), Canice Bennett (Balla), Conor Calvey (Westport), Padraic Cowman (Belmullet), Matthew Coyle (Ballaghaderreen), Liam Jones (Ardnaree), Jack Mahon (Charlestown), Alfie Morrison (Castlebar), Jason Murray (Kilcommon), Adam Naughton (Knockmore), Oisin Phillips (Ballaghaderreen), Ray Walsh (Westport).

  9. We have a Harry, an Alfie and a Canice on the panel. The names are changing definitely…..

  10. I am very much looking foward to heading to Gaelic Park this Sunday to see New York play Leitrim,In my time here I have seen them push Roscommon only 2 years ago to extra time,New York played corofin only last weekend and beat them well,could be the first time in history ny win a game in the championship,can’t wait,almost as much as the week after,
    Come on mayo,can’t let them do 3 in a row

  11. @New York Tommy…. Great to hear opinions on other match’s in the Connacht Championship.. I’m sure some of the Leitrim contributers to this Blog might like to disagree with you!… Interesting no doubt… @Gerard,..I’m quite sure there were plenty of verbals in our recent game’s versus Galway…. Unfortunately, although ‘a black card’ is supposed to be the punishment for ‘sledging’ I actually can’t recall any referee ever giving a player a ‘black card’ for sledging in a match.. Referee’s can really only expect to act on what they see….. Our experienced player’s will know this, and I’m sure some prominent players will not want lack of discipline to negativity effect the team again!… Mayo V Galway on the 13th of May.. I don’t expect the referee to be able to hear the conversations between the Men in Green and Red, and the Maroon and White…. He will be doing very well if he can SEE 50% of what is going on!

  12. London beat Sligo five years ago when they last met in the championship and then went on to beat Leitrim after a replay and reach the Connacht final where we fairly comprehensively beat them. That was a year where we racked up huge scores [remember Galway in Salthill and Donegal in Croke Park?] until the All Ireland semi final.

    HighKing, there has certainly been a change in the fashion for names of youngsters in the past number of years.
    Particularly so with girls. In my young days [some considerable time ago] Mary was by far the most popular girl’s name but I was looking at a programme for two girl’s All Ireland minor semifinals a few years ago and of over 120 girls there was only one Mary [Maria actually]. Some of the names would have been unheard of in my young days. Times change!!

  13. Having a quick look through that panel as listed by JP and last year’s U17 team I could not find a single player surviving from last year which seems unusual to me. Thinking back to the “good old days”, even if some of them were not that good, there were always players who were good enough to make two minor teams and occasionally three. What has changed? Surely it is not that our standards have declined that much?

  14. Pat Mc called Walshe into his office with a wave of his arm.
    “Come in Kevin, come in”.
    The 2 men sat at the desk. The great manager could see Pat Mc was very excited.

    “Kevin, I have a wonderful idea”.
    “We have a new Chicken sandwich coming out at the start of June”. “What better way of advertising it than you wearing this for the Mayo game”.

    Pat Mc dragged a box from under his desk and opened it. He emptied the contents on to the desk.

    “Whats that “? Walshe asked worriedly.
    “It’s a Chicken suit kevin. You’ll be wearing it for the Mayo game. Can you imagine the advertising I’ll get. 25 or 30 thousand in Castlebar. You’ll be in every paper and on every news in the country. It’s my best idea ever Kevin and I’ve had some good ones before”.

    “I’m not wearing that fuck&n thing”

    “You’ll do what your told”.
    “Do you have any idea how many nuggets I’ve had to sell since you became maanger, to put yea lard asses out on the pitch”. It’s time this Galway team put some cash back into Pats pocket”.

    A forlorn Walshe left the meeting with his new suit under his arm.

    Thursday nights training was a shambles. The great manager had decided, to get his team used to his new suit he would wear it for the session.
    The players stood and looked in amazement at the 6 foot 4 inch Chicken before realising it was their highly decorated manager.

    The laughing started with a couple of chuckles but quickly everyone seemed to be sniggering and trying to keep the laughing in.
    Walshe, no dunce, let a muffled roar through his Chicken head.
    “Are you laughing at me Comer”?
    “Begawak”, Comer replied.
    The entire squad collapsed on to the pitch in hysterics.

  15. Andy D, the age has changed. It dropped by 1 year so any lads from last year who were about to turn 18 were ruled out. Under the old age ruling they would have had this year again, but, by dropping the age from 18 to 17 that group of lads were omitted.

  16. Pebblemeller, I think that the point AndyD was making that it is a completely new group this year no carry overs from last years U17 group or at least the 27 players that were listed on match day squads. For the U17s there would usually be a few of the best U16s involved just like the U17s would be involved at the minor grade

    Maybe because the minor grade was ending they wanted to get the U17s involved last year. The other odd thing about last years U17 and minor selections was they didn’t appear to sing for the same hymm sheet
    3 players that made the minor panel weren’t involved with the U17s Oisin Mullin Dylan Prendrgast, both of these were instrumental in the Mayo SW Ted Webb win the year before. Cillian Golding played midfield for the minors sat on the bench for the U17s. Also Mark Moran Kuba Callagahan were part of the minor panel and also sat on the bench for the U17s. I know they were different managers but if you are good enough to make a minor panel you should be good enough to make a U17 team in the yeat

  17. Oisin Mullin and Cillian Golding suffered injury at the time.
    Looking at Mark Moran and Kuba Callaghan over the last while it simply looks like a bad decision not to have them starting. Kuba would be the first name people think of if asked who is a goal a game player at underage. Also his size and pace were above all other options.

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