No match for us today – instead it was Roscommon and Galway battling it out for the FBD title, with the four-goal Rossies claiming a first pre-season crown for 16 years – so not much to report on but two things are worth a mention.
The first relates to yesterday Hastings Cup semi-final defeat to Roscommon – by the way, a match report from the Mayo Advertiser is here – and specifically the post-match comments made by manager Niall Heffernan who did nothing to hide his disappointment at not having a full panel to pick from, with a number of the U21 lads not released from the senior panel for the game.
It’s difficult not to sympathise with Niall Heffernan on this point. The likes of Adam Gallagher, Stephen Coen and Diarmuid O’Connor will be key members of the U21 championship team in a few months and it would, you’d think, be reasonable to let them line out with the U21s yesterday. I know that the senior panel were training today but in this instance the U21s could and should have been given first call on all eligible players.
Mind you, the Rossies were missing a number of their lads as well yesterday, who lined out instead for the seniors in today’s FBD final, but some of them did play for both the seniors and U21s on successive days last weekend. It’s not an easy call about what’s best to do, I suppose, but given that our U21s could have done with a morale boosting win yesterday, I’d say the wrong call was made in this instance.
That’s it for pre-season and over the next seven days there should be a decent build-up to our opening League match, where we face All-Ireland champions Kerry (it pained me to write that bit, I have to admit) in Killarney. It’ll only be the third time we’ve ever faced the Yerras at their spiritual home – we played them there in a Division One clash back in February 1988 but prior to that you have to go back as far as 1932 for our only previous meeting in Killarney, which was a League semi-final encounter. We lost both of those, by the way, so we’re definitely due a win against them at the venue at this stage.
The only piece of info to note about next weekend’s League opener is that it’s been announced that Maurice Deegan will be reffing it. It’s been a while since we’ve had the pleasure of the limp-wristed Laois official’s company – the most recent match involving us that he took charge of was the 2104 All-Ireland semi-final win over Tyrone. From what I can see, Cormac Reilly hasn’t been assigned to any match this Sunday but I’m holding my breath as to whether or not this is in response to the pig’s tit he made of the last inter-county match he handled.