U20s lose out in shootout

Graphic: @MayoGAA

Mayo’s U20 Championship season for 2020 began and ended on the same day in the wind and the wet at MacHale Park this afternoon. Their elimination from this year’s U20 Connacht Championship happened in the cruellest possible way, as they lost out on a penalty shootout after the teams had finished level after extra-time.

The adverse weather was always going to have a major bearing on this contest. Our lads had the wind behind them in the first half and they made decent use of it too, as they led by eight points to two at the break.

Paul Towey was our main marksman in the first half, notching four points, all but one of them from play. Frank Irwin bagged two, while James Jennings (from a mark) and Paddy Goldrick got one each.

Galway started to reel us in straight away after the restart. With twenty minutes to go they had cut the gap back to two but, from then on, they struggled to get back on terms. In the event, it took a point from Cathal Sweeney deep in stoppage time to force extra-time.

The score at the end of normal time was ten points apiece. Paul Towey got both of our second half points, one from play.

The young Tribesmen had the wind advantage in the first period of extra-time. With half-time in extra-time approaching the sides were still level – we’d both added a point, ours a Paul Towey free – and so it was starting to look good for our lads once more. But then Matthew Tierney goaled for them to put Galway ahead for the first time.

That was the visitors final score of the game. Ciaran Gavin cut the gap back to two before the teams switched ends again and two further points from Paul Towey brought the game back level once more.

Neither team were able to break the deadlock before the end and so, for some utterly insane reason, the tie was then decided by a penalty shootout. Galway won the shootout 3-2 and so they go forward to next weekend’s Connacht semi-final while our lads’ U20 football year is over.

It was insult enough that today’s match went ahead with a severe weather warning in place. To compound this by deciding a Championship tie on penalties was, though, beyond stupid and utterly unfair to both teams.

While it’s okay to use this kind of nonsense for a light-hearted pre-season FBD match, there’s absolutely no way it should be used to determine the outcome of a knockout Championship tie.

Shifting the U20 Championship to early spring and squashing the whole thing into a few weeks in February and March hinted strongly what the GAA really thinks about its importance in the scheme of things. Using a penalty shootout to decide ties leaves no doubt in this regard. If this is the best the GAA can do for the U20 grade they’d be better off getting rid of the Championship altogether.

11 thoughts on “U20s lose out in shootout

  1. Was an insult to the players and the competition to play that game today. Torrential rain and status orange wind. Both teams deserve great credit for playing so well in the conditions. Mayo in my opinion were the better team overall but I was disappointed with management again this year. Referee didn’t give mayo anything.

  2. Enjoyable game considering the conditions. It was a day that suited backs so no surprise to see Coyne, McBrien, and Tunney put in a good showing. Hession was the strongest of the half back line. Mullin isn’t a midfielder but he got stuck in and won a lot of breaking ball. Surprised Frank Irwin was taken off at half-time but Kuba had to come on for someone.

    In truth, the forwards struggled outside of the excellent Paul Towey. Cruel way to go out but a handful of them can go on to become prominent senior players if they stick at it.

  3. Totally agree WJ.

    If the GAA is so impatient to run this competition through such a short period, and use penalties to decide games, then we would be better to abandon it.

    If I was a kid training that hard for one game, I’d be inclined to apply myself to another sport.

  4. No way to treat young footballers, extra time, and then penalties in championship, subs also got frozen in the stand, no proper gear,???

  5. Interesting you say get rid of this competition altogether. For the best part of a decade Paraic Duffy wanted to get rid of the U21 championship and before he stepped down as Director General he finally convinced those in congress to vote his way.

    It’s replacement U20 wasn’t going to be a long term competition and will eventually be scrapped. At a guess U19 will be next. Long story short the U21 championship should never have been allowed to be terminated by Grey haired men in suits.

  6. Feel we lost this in the first half. Kuba defintely should have started. He was trying to make a difference in two halfs in a row against the wind.
    Adam Barrett is another that in my view should have started. The first half we relied too much on Paul Towey.

  7. 45 – you can forget about posting here again until you deal first with that disgraceful post-match comment from yesterday. You might reflect on that first before you opine on anything else.

  8. Connacht final put back till 7th March , good job they got our game with Galway dealt with on the day , Jesus wept.

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