The time is now ticking down rapidly ahead of the footballers’ first competitive outing of 2021. In fact we’re now less than 24 hours out from the big throw-in.
To complicate matters, there are three separate Mayo matches that are worth keeping track of tomorrow. The footballers’ NFL Division Two North clash with Down at MacHale Park at 2pm we all know about but at the same time over in Dr Hyde Park the hurlers are in action too. They face Roscommon in Round 2 of the the NHL Division 2B. The Mayo camogie team also take the field tomorrow, also against Roscommon and also at 2pm. That Camogie League Division 4 Group 2 clash takes place at St Aidan’s GAA club in Ballyforan.
Let’s shine a bit more light on that camogie fixture. Mayo, managed by Aghamore man Jimmy Lyons, have returned to action in the Senior inter-county ranks after an absence of a number of years and they’re competing in Division 4 of the Camogie League, where they’ve been bracketed in Group 2 along with the Rossies, Kildare and Louth.
Colm Gannon in the Mayo Advertiser has a preview piece on tomorrow’s Camogie match and you’ll find that here. The best of luck to the Mayo team tomorrow as they return to the camogie fray.
Sticking with the small ball, Keith Higgins – a man who has always relished a full-throated joust with the neighbours – will lead out the Mayo hurlers onto the pitch at Hyde Park tomorrow afternoon for their Division 2B clash with Roscommon. Derek Walsh’s side made the perfect start to their campaign last weekend when they narrowly got the better of Derry and a second win on the bounce would put them in a strong position for advancement.
Roscommon GAA are streaming tomorrow’s match live on YouTube, the link for which is here, and I doubt I’ll be the only one having multiple screens running from 2pm. Happy hunting to the hurlers in Hyde Park tomorrow.
Then the big one – albeit a contest that, like all the others on tomorrow, will take place in the absence of supporters – sees the Mayo footballers butting heads with Down in Division Two North of the NFL. That game is being streamed live on GAA GO (details for subscribing to which are here).
It was way, way back in early 1997 – when John Bruton was Taoiseach and John Major was still in Downing Street – when we last played a match in Division Two of the National League. Here’s a quare one for you – the most recent second tier game we played was, in fact, a relegation avoider play-off, which was against Clare in Tuam on the last day of March 1997.
We won that game, by 0-10 to 0-7 – James Horan was one of the players who got his name on the scoresheet for us that day, but then later that year the League went through one of its reorganisations and we got put into what they called Section A, along with Fermanagh, Galway, Kilkenny, Carlow, Leitrim, Louth and Laois (now there’s a cross-section of Gaelic footballing powers for you). We did sufficiently well in such company to land a spot in the new Division 1B that got underway that autumn, so beginning a top-tier stay that lasted until the back-end of last year.
So, there’s your ancient history lesson for the day. Well, seeing as there’s no sign as yet of a team sheet for tomorrow’s football game we have to get our amusements in other ways.
Back later on when those details are published and back again tomorrow with some final thoughts ahead of throw-in.