Minors march into Connacht final

Photo: @MayoGAA

On a day when we definitely needed some good news, the county’s Minors provided it. They blasted five goals past Sligo in this evening’s Connacht MFC semi-final at MacHale Park, winning by 5-7 to 1-10.

When the teams met in the group stage of this year’s provincial Championship in late May it was the Sligo youngsters who had the better of the exchanges, winning that one by four points. On top of that, our lads would have exited the Championship last weekend only for Sligo’s win over Roscommon so it was Yeats County’s own doing that they were up against us this evening.

From the outset, it was clear that this was going to be a very different affair to that Markievicz Park meeting last month. Sligo bagged the first score of the evening but then points from Paul Walsh and Frank Irwin edged us ahead before Paul Walsh goaled to send us four clear.

Two minutes later the same player had the ball in the net a second time for us. That put us seven points to the good and we led by this margin at the break, though it took two pointed ’45s in succession from Sligo to cut the gap back down to that level.

Coming up to midway through the second half, Paul Walsh found the net for a third time, this one a punched effort, but Sligo struck back in kind and then tacked on two points to cut the deficit to six with just under ten minutes left to play.

Any fears that we weren’t going to see the win out were, though, quickly allayed. Ciaran Mylett rounded off a fine move to blast to the net with five minutes to go and then Paul Walsh bagged his fourth goal of the game to cap a remarkable evening’s return for him.

The reward for this evening’s win is a meeting with Galway in the Connacht MFC final on Friday week (5th July). That provincial decider – our first Minor one since 2016 – takes place at Tuam Stadium.

Well done to the lads this evening and the best of luck to them in the Connacht final.

40 thoughts on “Minors march into Connacht final

  1. Well done to the minors. Have a proper cut at Galway. I’d expect our boys will be really up for this one and it’s a match they should really look forward to. C’mon Mayo. Never give up on the green & red.

  2. The future looks bright with ballers like Paul Walsh and Frank Irwin, Walsh really is easy on the eye,they should be playing Senior in a few years if they keep up the hard work.Hopefully we kick on and beat the men in Maroon ,I am sick of hearing about this record they have over us.

  3. Huge improvement on the last outing Vs Galway.
    Paul Walsh outstanding and full back line lead by Oisin Tunney snuffed out Sligo attack.

  4. Well done to the minors, some good news for a change! Now time to beat that maroon lot, sick to the back teeth of losing to them. Should be well fired up for this one. Hon Mayo!

  5. Paul Walsh looks the best Mayo minor forward since Cillian in 2010, You had Pearce Hanley in 2006 and Alan Dillion and Conor Mortimer before that in 2000.

  6. Great stuff…Now on to Galway who have been so dominant over us for so long at all levels. Hopefully this is the year the screw starts turning back the other way…

  7. Great win. Paddy Heneghan in the middle of the Park was outstanding. MOTM performance. Oisín Tunney FB excellent.

  8. Well done to the minors assured performance after the shock the last day.dont heap too much praise on any one player they all deserve praise but we dont want to be getting a big head
    Onwards and upwards from here we need to beat galway underage one win can change a whole underage system upside down they have us where they want us but we need to be up for this
    The winners of the connacht final play the losers of leinster imagine what an opportunity that is too progress further
    Mayo till we die!!

  9. Good win. There was a lot of hope here in Sligo that they could make a breakthrough this year with this team, but results can be deceptive at this grade, which is evident if you look back through the round-robin scorelines.

    I hope the lads give it a good lash in Tuam, and leave with no regrets. It would be great to beat Galway on their own turf, but it will be tough.

  10. Well done lads. Good news at last. Yes its time to end that Galway run against us.
    No fear.

  11. Looking forward to the final now.. Some great young footballers in action.. Can Mayo stop the 5 in a row?

  12. M Kennedy minor in 1954 had three goals v Sligo in a match with an unattributed goal. Still searching for a four goal minor.

  13. Good win for the minors tonight.the two managers were getting agitated with each other in ist half.two of Mayo goals were fortunate but take the breaks.need to improve on freetaking big time.
    Some very impressive performances from full back line and Walsh in forwards.not the finished article can take to much out of ball at times but has great speed and is an excellent player.

  14. @James Flemming. Sorry no ticket for the munster hurling.

    Phone Horan the Gaa President. Just tell him your from Dublin. He’ll probably give you 6 tickets and spending money for the day.

  15. If I did James he would have my number blocked by now I would say. No I don’t have his number. If you get it yourself don’t send it to me either. Good luck with your ticket hunt. If I hear of a ticket I’ll let you know.

  16. Free taking and point finishing in general sounded poor so need to fix that for the final. Hopefully the goal scoring touch remains!

  17. Well done to U 17… Huge level of intensity work rate compared to Galway game… half back.line esp excelled..Two fortuitous goals early in game gave team great self belief ..Sligo made dozens of unforced error and looked off the pace. Mayo looked fresher team and changes in selection paid dividends..lots to work on but tonights attitude moreoerformance should give them a real crack of winning Cinnacht title…

  18. Fair play to you Revellino . You made me smile on a day when smiles were scarce. Fair play to the minors also. Another reason to smile and be cheerful.

  19. Very up and down performances from Mayo team. Irwin impressive, Walsh promising but very left sided. We can expect decent opposition from Galway, so let’s see.

  20. Great result. Sadly it means no football for 100’s of minor lads in the county for July and most of August. It’s hard enough trying to keep club players interested over the summer without this and to add insult to injury, it’s literally only a dozen players who’s holding up all the divisional championships. It’s not their fault but you cannot ruin a summer of football for a 100’s of lads because of a handful of U17’s who may be playing minor.

  21. Thanks to win just once and James and everyone else.

    It’s on days like yesterday that this Blog holds peoples hearts together. Where posters sow a seed of hope and brightens up a very tough day, so thanks Mayo Gaa Blog too. Imagine dealing with yesterday’s injury news alone in your head.

    We do things together.

    I believe Mayo people love.their County more than any other people love their own County. Mind you the Armagh people love their County too and why wouldn’t they. I love to be asked where I’m from. It always make me smile.

    Sam Maguire means more than winning a football final. It’s the endeavour that a team and it’s fans put in, in their unquenchable thirst and desire to succeed.

    In a way, the most important way, Mayo have won many Sam Maguires since 1951. We’ll win another one this year.

  22. Revellino you’re so right. You’ve added mischief and smiles to a grim old day. But fair play we’re still standing and we will. It isn’t just about the destination, it’s the journey and the heart of a county. Like yourself I love to be asked where I’m from and I feel that pride that no words can express. Mayo it is, I am, we are. And we’re united through this brilliant blog and in a million other ways. Go deo … Maigheo. Míle buíochas.

  23. Rivellino you are brilliant yes we love our County and we will support and follow this team together UP MAYO WHEREVER YOU GO

  24. Revellino is a blog legend! Always positive and full of fun especially when we need it. Axel took me out of the doom yesterday too and many more.
    Great place to seek refuge in. We keep going so we might as well be full of hope and positivity and see where it gets us.

  25. Would have to agree with Liam’s comments above. 16, 17, 18 year old lads need to be playing football in the height of summer and to have a situation where most won’t play a competitive game in June and July is laughable and not right. We must look after the 99% of players not involved with county teams as they are the future of the club game.

  26. The minors put on a great show last night and, undoubtedly, the two goals coming in very quick succession put Sligo on the back foot. There was always that 6 or 7 point gap between the two sides from there until the final 10 mins when Mayo, with fresh legs in the forward division, raced away to the final whistle.
    For me, one of the highlights of the game was Mayos fourth goal. It involved 20 or 30 passes over and back the Sligo half back line, constantly probing for an opening inside. On at least two occasions we fed ball in to the full forward but between good Sligo defending and a poor shooting angle, the ball came back out to be recycled again. Mayo continued this for what seemed like minutes, but the thing that impressed me most was their refusal to just try a low percentage shot or run out of patience and then force an effort. Eventually, the opening presented itself in front of goal about 13 m out and BANG. It was hammered home. Patience, excellent ball control and retention, constant movement of the full forward line, and, a half back line that had pushed up in support but spread itself across the full width of the pitch (thereby thinning out the Sligo defensive cover) showed a mature tactical discipline. Something their more senior partners could do with improving on!
    Our keeper looked “ropey” under incoming ball and his kick outs hung in the air when he was kicking in to the strong breeze in the second half. In the first half though, he was landing them on the Sligo 45 m line! Tunney was very impressive at full back but for me, Ruairi Keane was the standout player at no.6. Tough, hard hitting and an absolute flyer when bringing the ball out of defense. Heneghan was excellent in midfield where he outfielded the bigger Sligo men and then showed very good composure with his distribution. Our full forward line looked more threatening than effective, and if the ball in to them in the first half had been more measured and accurate they could have gone to town on the Sligo full back line much earlier than they actually did.
    Obviously, the star of the show with 4-2 from play was Paul Walsh. Sligo just could not handle him. He displayed beautiful technique for his first 2 goals and two other efforts at points were just fractionally wide. Blistering pace with serious stamina that saw him run the entire length of the field, in possession, on more than one occasion. Obviously he has other things to learn, e.g. when to give and go, when to play in a better placed player and how NOT to react to provocation, but he was unplayable last night and he was allowed his indulgences.
    As a group, they look very well coached and displayed a willingness to hunt in packs, break at speed and they always supported each other on the break. As a coach myself, it was pleasing to see that they had no problem hand and foot passing off either side, yet another sign that the skills of the game are being worked on.
    On to Galway next where they will meet a much sterner challenge. Sligo never recovered from the two goal blitz in the first half so it is hard to judge them in a proper light. Sligo did start the second half much better and ran straight through the Mayo middle in the hunt for goals. Their two centrefield lads were tall rangey players and their no.10 is an excellent player. The old saying that goals win games was never truer than last night and the very big Sligo support in the stands had traveled in false expectation. They stuck with their boys to the end however but this game was really over at half time.
    Well done to all.

  27. The minors were hungry last night. Thought Paul Walsh, Irwin, Paddy Heneghan and Ruairí Keane were very strong. Walsh’s first bicycle kick goal was class and he covered a serious amount of ground throughout. Another player who covered a serious amount of ground was their No. 5, Dempsey. A class little player who’s level headed chip to mylett resulted in a goal and was reminiscent of a Clifford pass! Hope they can get over Galway now

  28. Pebbles, great analysis there and interesting insights. At this age it’s as much about confidence and self belief as it is about pure talent. But fair play to the lads last night, they got their lead and protected it.
    Sinéad you are so right. We’ve got each other on this site and even though we may often disagree (not you and me!!) But regardless of opinion and view we are all linked by our love for Mayo. I’m happy with that. Though I’ve thrown the odd tantrum at a game I always hope and often believe that Mayo teams in any shape or form will win. I believe in Mayo. Always will and delighted with that. And what I love about this site WJ is that ppl are free to moan and groan respectfully but always eventually come home to hope and passion and desire and pride. Let’s enjoy the weekend and the beautiful weather and let’s hope we’ll be happier still on Sunday morning. Maigheo mo ghrá.

  29. I agree fully with Pebblemaster regarding the build up play to our fourth goal.I commented midway through the play that it could be goal of the season and so it may prove.Sligo were still in the game at half time with a big wind to come but they couldnt get a look in from play and i think with fifteen minutes to play all their scores were from dead balls.Our half backs put in a great pacy shift going forward too.

  30. Re four goal minors. Can’t think of any but I seem to recall Des Griffith scoring three against Cork in the 1966 minor semifinal. He came on as a sub as I recall. Like most of those players, Sean Kilbride and Tom Fiitzgerald excluded, he had a short enough senior career. And MJ Mullin, I think, got three in the 1985 All Ireland Final and had an even shorter senior career.

  31. Before the corrections pour in, according to the results archive Mullin only scored two in the 1985 final.

  32. I,m far away from Mayo but have been following their fortunes for a long time and like you all l want to see them win;just once will do! What is it about Mayo that make us love them. This blog has given me many hours of entertainment and particularly Revellino, you make us laugh when it’s badly needed! A win on Saturday and onwards from there. Maigheo go deo.

  33. KIERAN O MALLEY from achill scored 3-3 in the 1978 all-ireland quarter final against new york en route to mayo winning minor all-ireland in 1978

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