U20 action gets going

Photo: @OfficialDonegal

All the talk this Bank Holiday weekend has understandably been about events over in New York. Back in Ballina today, meanwhile, Mike Solan’s U20 side made their first appearance of the year, as preparations start to ramp up ahead of the 2019 Championship.

Arrangements for last year’s inaugural U20 Championship were a bit harum-scarum. Some provinces – including Connacht – went for a straight knockout system, while others played theirs on a round-robin basis. This meant hugely varying game times for the different counties, with each team furthermore left to their own devices in arranging pre-championship challenge matches.

This year things appear to be better organised. Challenge matches prior to Championship have been binned in favour of Development Leagues and Mayo’s match against Donegal today was our first one in the group we’re in, which also includes Tyrone and Roscommon.

The Development Leagues are split into five cup competitions. The one we’re competing for is the Philly McGuinness Cup. The winners of our four-county group will meet the winners of a group comprising Fermanagh, Leitrim, Longford and Sligo in the final.

Full details on the various competitions within the U20 Development Leagues are here. Note, though, that the fixture dates may not be correct in every case, as our match today against Donegal was supposed to be played on 8th June.

We won today’s game, by the way, coming from two points down at the break to beat Donegal by 4-9 to 2-9. The goals came from Paul Towey (2), John Gallagher and Eoghan McLaughlin and details of our match-day panel for the game are here.

If the details in the match schedule linked to above are correct, then our next Development League match is against Roscommon in a bit over three weeks time, on Wednesday 29th May. Our first Championship match sees us up against Sligo at MacHale Park in the Connacht semi-final on Wednesday, 3rd July.

21 thoughts on “U20 action gets going

  1. It looks to be a promising U20 panel this year. When NUIG won the freshers A title earlier this year Evan O’Brien and Gavin Durcan were the midfield pairing while Tommy Conroy was their standout forward.

    No sign of Nathan Moran on the programme today. He was very prominent for our U20s last year so you would think he’d start. Also Aidan Orme who is putting up big scores for the Knockmore seniors. Stephen McGreal is also a good player for Claremorris.

  2. The very obvious player missing is Aidan Orme, but you don’t know how things are with injury niggles, unavailability etc.
    For sure he is in the top six forwards we have at u20. Right now he’s actually Knockmores best forward, in terms of shooting ability he is ahead of even Kevin McLoughlin.
    Aidan Barrett I would have thought would be in with an eye on next year. When he is a bit stronger next year as a final year u20 he should be excellent.

  3. From last years panel Joe Dawson Stephen McGreal Nathan Moran and Michael Keane where not involved The later three all played senior championship football with their clubs lately. Dawson didn’t play for Louisburg in the intermediate so may be injured. Early days yet but no Parke players involved and only Golding from Balla. Especially 5 from Westport. Orme scoring freely in the senior league and championship would think he would be involved at some stage. Pat Chambers in over his club mate Fintan McManamon and kilmeena’s keith Joyce all key players with Rice college last year.

  4. Hi JP, I don’t see any player from last year’s u17 team. I always thought they would bring a few players from that age group for experience even if they never got a game. Is there any1 from last year’s team who played senior championship?

  5. @highball
    Believe there is 13 players underage from last years panel, only three of Four players started for their senior club. Five of seven started for their Intermediate clubs, two played junior. The Three who started for their senior club werent involved yesturday Stephen McGreal, Nathan Moran nor Michael Keane.

    Rory Brickenden played for Westport Junior side
    Basil McLeod Louisburgh Intermediate
    Conor Hunt unused sub for Aghamore Seniors
    Oisin Mullin Kilmaine Juniors
    Joe Dawson regular for Louisburgh Intermediate but was not involved in Round 1 maybe injured
    Evan o Brien Ballinrobe Intermediate
    Cillian Golding Balla came off the bench
    Aaron Murphy Lahardane Intermediate
    Stephen McGreal Claremorris seniors
    Nathan Moran Hollymount seniors
    John Gallagher Mayo Gaels Intermediate
    Michael Keane Belmullet seniors
    Tommy Conroy The Neale Intermediate

    No minors/U18s on that list, A few of last years minors played in the senior championship Liam Donohue played CB for Kiltane Fionan Ryan played midfield for Belmullet with Ethan Ivers Belmullet Liam og Horkan Garrymore coming off the bench Jack Mahon Charlestown and Enda Hession were unused Subs. In the intermediate Conor Dunleavy played CB for Balla. Fergal Sweeney started at CHF for The Neale another minor Zach Feerick also The Neale played MF. Harry Burke played for Claremorris junior side. Zack Feerick was the only one that wasn’t on last years Mayo U17 Panel.

  6. Mayomessi outstanding stuff. That took serious research.
    I think you captured every u20 panellist in your wide list a few months back? Maybe only missed David McBrien and David Gannon.
    I’d have to check back.

  7. I had David Gannon, didnt have Ballaghaderreen’s McBrien, McBrien has broken into their senior team of late believe he is still U19. Not sure if the panel is set in stone, alot of good players not involved yesturday but the competition must be hot. Like the half back line plenty of speed with McDonnell Mullin and McLaughlin as well as the full foward line of Paul Towey, Mark Moran and Tommy Conroy.

  8. Great work Mayo Messi.

    What about:
    Colm Moran?
    Paul Lambert?
    Oisín Mc Loughlin?
    Ryan O’Donoghue?
    Jordan Flynn?

    Are some or all of those eligible?

  9. @Catcol, all of those ineligible, all are U21s.
    To pickup on a point Mayomessi made there. This is in my view the most athletic team we have togged at U20/21.
    I’ll go a step further. The full forward line of Paul Towey Mark Moran Tommy Conroy that played is quicker than any full forward line we have togged at senior being even senior championship fit. If the likes of Kuba Callaghan step in there will be no dip, he is equally quick and is a bigger stronger type of full forward.
    Ten of the team that beat Donegal are U20 next year and then you factor you have Pat Lambert, Kuba Callaghan and Adam Barrett as attacking talent available as final year U20s next year.
    It’s why the insane supporter that I am that I am most excited about next years U20s. It really looks like a title challenging team next year again.
    Going through the team that togged.
    1. Jamie McNicholas Kiltimagh – U19 A modern well rounded keeper keeping Michael Schlingermann sidelined
    2. Jackie Coyne Ballyhaunis – U19 Two year minor from Ballyhaunis. Hard to judge, haven’t seen much of the Haunis.
    3. Rory Brickendon – u19 Modern full back, tall and powerful. Composed.
    4. Kieran King Knockmore – For an U20 he now owns the full back jersey for Knockmore.
    5. Aaron McDonnell Ballintubber – u19 Gets confusing with all the Aarons and Alans and McHales McDonnells Morans McGloughlins. Has been breaking in with Ballintubber of late. All of those Aarons and Alans are good players.
    6. Oisin Mullins Kilmaine – U19 An elite player at this grade. One of the best defenders we have had coming through at underage in recent years.
    7. Eoghan McLoughlin Westport – U20 Huge engine, good speed, a skillful and force of nature type footballer. Kind of player who steps up his levels when his team needs it. Capable of moments of magic for a defender.
    Evan OBrien Ballinrobe – U20 Experienced and athletic footballer. A core player on the team.
    Gavin Durcan Castlebar – U20 In my view an underrated player in the county. Elite athletic, I think he will be a force this year at U20. Cousin of Paddy and bigger than Paddy.
    Ciaran Gavin Ballintubber – Still 18, an u19, he turns 19 much later in the year. A forceful senior type footballer and still a year more underage in 2020.
    John Gallagher Mayo Gaels – U19. one of the highest scoring forwards at intermediate level. Still think he can push to higher levels at U20 next year when he is a final year U20. A top forward at U20 level.
    Padraig McLoughlin Charlestown – U19, springy athletic tall player coming through in Charlestowns recent golden grop of underage talents. Well done Charlestown, a great feat by that club.
    Paul Towey Charlestown – U19, shorter explosive player. Can’t be stopped one on one by a taller more traditional type defender, he’s simply too quick on the turn. If you are faced with him one on one he is taking you on. We ain’t seen nothing yet, with that pace factor him in a year down the line at U20 with more strength and weight hitting the defenders outstretched last ditch tackle.
    Mark Moran Westport – U19, I could not believe how much he had developed football and strength wise when I seen him against Aghamore. Maybe my eyes deceived me but he seemed bigger and stronger than his older U21 brother Colm. An elite passer of the ball, has that stocky explosive natural build that some players have. Again, very hard to stop him one on one with a traditional defender.
    Tommy Controy The Neale – U20, generally always in for goals regardless of what team or level he is playing at. An elite player for U20 level. Capable of moments of magic. Wins lots of frees. Elite quick.

  10. Great stuff JP.
    However, I seem to remember posters going on and on about how many of last year’s team we would have eligible this year. Can’t find said posts now of course!.

  11. Catcol – Oisin Mullin, Evan O’Brien, Nathan Moran and Tommy Conroy started last year while Joe Dawson, John Gallagher and Stephen McGreal came on as subs. All are underage this year. Might be 1 or 2 others I forgot.

  12. Mayomessi’s knowledge is far beyond mine. Yes, there were many of last years U20s underage this year. Most the U20s this year were involved last year bar Eoghan McLoughlin and Kieran King.
    Nathan Moran, Stephen McGreal and Joe Dawson might be involved this year if they are fit.
    My thinking on next years U20s is that the bank of experience they will have and also the fact several of them are out and out killer instinct forwards. Can’t recall us having underage forwards lines with maybe eight really good forward vying for six starting spots and two good forward subs to come on.
    Then you think Rory Brickendon, Basil McLeod and Oisin Mullins next year.

  13. JP & Mayomessi – WOW !! – some great insight there into some of the players coming into view for this years U20 campaign.

  14. @rober
    Seen him on Mayogaatv lately against Islandeady he was one of yer main players at a young age. Played CHB and then moved into midfield. Ballinrobe dominated the sector thereafter. Switch to Ballinrobe around the same time Donnie Vaughan moved to Castlebar. Still leaving Cert this year but was on Ballinrobe CS half backline a couple of years back in their All lreland run with Oisin Mullen and Liam Hughes who both made the U20s last year.

  15. Serious knowledge there lads. Please keep this discussion and the club discussion going. Whilst our county team are strong this is on the back of great work at club, academy and county underage level. Recently got a good look at the work the Mayo academies are doing. Trojan work, knowledgeable and unique involving a lot of ex players who give of there time voluntarily. Whilst the work is good there is further need for paid coaches and also for qualified people who can give of their time in the area of administration. Maybe the new commercial officer will partly fill this role.

  16. My view is that the biggest leap has been in club minor and u21. In a world where we always here of decline in my view the graded minor and u21 club teams and amalgamations teams at those ages mean most promising players get a better series of matches and coaching from 17-21.
    Also the core schools have came on massively at A and B grades. Again hitting that 17-19 years ages.
    We have less clubs being basket cases at u18/21. That was a weakness in the 90s and 00s. The u21 championship was formerly a basket case. Now club a prepare for it and target it at A, B and C grades.

  17. Great insights Mayomessi and JP, invaluable information for those of us who live outside the county.
    Great to know there’s a decent pipeline of young players coming through and even better to know that we’re starting to produce quality forwards – the missing link for many a good Mayo team.

  18. Really great panel outline MayoMessi and JP. Cant wait to see that U20 FF line in action. Was impressed with Conroy last year. We have been missing that type of player who is goal-greedy and loves to take the defender on one to one – in the Paul Mannion/James McCartan/Mickey Linden mold. – Would be great of one of these guys develope to even near that level in the years to come.

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