A taste of the minors’ welcome home

Mayo Champions

Photo: @MayoLadiesGAA via Twitter

It’s inevitable that most of the focus since Sunday has been on our most recent failure to land the Big One at senior level but the days (and nights) since then have also seen joyful scenes around the county as members of the victorious All-Ireland winning minor team have been welcomed back into their respective communities. So, to brighten up your mood on this fine Friday, here’s a sample of some of the homecomings that have taken place within the county over the last few days.

Team Stephen Coen and the team being welcomed back to Hollymount:


Photo: @mayonewssport via Twitter

Eddie Doran’s homecoming to Achill:

Eddie Doran

Photo: @IrishgLeek21 via Twitter

Tommy ‘Goals’ Conroy getting the full treatment in Bangor on his way, via Belmullet, back to Geesala:

Tommy Goals

Photo: @KiltaneGAA via Twitter

29 thoughts on “A taste of the minors’ welcome home

  1. Brilliant result for the minors,just hope a few of them can make the step up to senior,an awful waste if we don’t make the most of the talent that’s there

  2. Well done lads
    Mind yourselves and enjoy the experience
    Some of you will land Sam for mayo in the coming decade, and more than once.

  3. I do not know what if any structures are in place to help these players involved and interested over the coming few years. As a team they will be scattered all over the country maybe a few abroad, most in pursuit of further education.
    I suggest that Mayo Co Board need to put a dedicated officer to keep contact with them regards football but also other welfare issues. It is interesting to look at the minor panels of the past few years, how many players came through to play senior from each and why some of those who looked most promising did not make it. To go through individual names would I think be unfair as I cannot know all individual circumstances and I will not do it. This person, if appointed, would feed into the U21 set up. The national boxing association found the need to look after people who had success in sport after the Kenny Egan saga and there is no reason why Mayo Co Board would not need to do similar.
    I also think that U21 training should begin as soon as possible with other promising older players also included. We need to find some new blood for next year to keep things fresh on the Senior scene. I am aware that rules forbid early U21 training [Jan 1st, I think is the date under rule] but organising a District competition on a league basis would solve that problem.

  4. Was in Hillymount Tuesday night and tow as great to see the minor team honoured with a great turn out. On etching I couldn’t help but wonder was how many of these young men will be scattered across the globe in the next 5-6 years? Joining the thousands of mayo folk throughout time who have had to leave the maritime county.

    Hopefully a few of them will remain in Ireland and come through the ranks to senior. Too many good minor players are lost. Let’s not make a mistake with these. In fairness speaking to a few of them, they seem to be very level headed and mature. Good omens.

    Can anybody tell me how many of the 85 wining team were members of the 89 senior panel?

  5. Great scenes indeed and well deserved.There are so many great prospects on that team…Doran, Coen, O’Connor, Doherty, Irwin to name a few…question is, can we keep them engaged in football and probably most importnat of all, as they go on from secondary school, can we keep them relatively local, as in somewhere in Ireland?

  6. The County Board should have learned its lesson from “allowing” Hanley go. I firmly believe it wouldn’t have happened in other counties, ie: Tyrone or Dublin. Anyway, a system or procedure should be in place to ensure quality minors are given the best chance possible to remain in the country and develop to their full potential, physically and mentally.

    Onwards and upwards boys!

  7. Fantastic win by a great bunch of young footballers….They know how to play and deservedly know how to celebrate……………..’Well done’ is an understatement for this side that has delivered our first AI in 28 years and they’ve carved the template as we search to find a formula to end the 63 year gap.
    Lets hope that the future is good for these lads in whatever it is that they decide to do, each and everyone of them are champions and if we are lucky enough in Mayo we may get to see their talent again in the future.
    Comhghairdeas agús MaighEo Abú

  8. History shows that about 3, or 4 if lucky players come through to senior from any given minor/u21 team.This is true,not just in Mayo but in most counties.A combination of many diffferent things leads to this,and its not just economic reasons.Some guys just lose interest,injuries,other sports,wine wimmen n song,etc.I cannot see any cataclysmic change with this bunch,good n all as they are-just hope the ones that do come through are forwards!

  9. @ Mayonaze Sure didn’t Kyle Coney go from Tyrone, and Kilkenny go from Dublin. The only difference is they didn’t make it.

  10. Thanks catcol.

    An interesting story I thought I would share. Spoke to a man home from Chicago in Hollymount Tuesday evening. He said Mayo should be twinned with the Chicago Cubs. A team that are waiting all be it longer than us to reach the holy grail….108 years and counting since they won’t he World Series. They also have a story of a curse placed on them in 1945. A man had two tickers, one for himself and the other for his goat. They ejected him to to a smell from the goat….he was thrown out and shouted the cubs would never win another series again.

    The team by all accounts collapsed in the next game and went downhill fairly rapid. They have been in 8 World Series since and lost them all.

    Now I am not saying I believe in this or our own curse. I believe a curse only becomes dangerous if the players of the day believe in it. Interesting how teams with long famines have different curses and stories attached to them. The Boston Red Sox for example ended an 86 year wait in 2004 after many believed the curse of the bambino.

  11. Catcol,

    Greg Maher was midfield with Fitzmaurice for the ’85 minors and wing forward in the ’89 Senior team while Tomás Grady of Burrishoole was a sub in ’89. M J Mullin of Kilmaine was a sub in the ’89 semi final. Kevin Beirne of Claremorris later came through for a few years but none of the ’85 minor team had extended senior careers. It was, in my opinion, one of the poorer winning minor teams. I think the John O’Driscoll who blazed a trail for Cork [and Ireland in the International Rules games] in the early nineties was midfield for Cork in the ’85 minor final but he was the only name I recognised as coming through for Cork from that team.

  12. LOL…I have lived in Boston for almost 20 years and believe me the “Curse” took on a life of its own. Baseball as a sport has all types of odd traditions and superstitions to begin with, but this was on a whole new level

    upon closer examination it was found that they hadnt won for 86 years due to a combination of mismanagement, mediocre teams and politics.

    As I said last week our “curse” is about as real as the tale about the Devil appearing at Tooreen dance hall.

    Here are a couple of links I thought youd enjoy including a Red Soxs attempt to curse the new Yankee Stadium



  13. Mayonaze,

    The Co Board can do nothing to stop a player from going if he wants to. Unfortunately with the country in the state it’s in it would be hard to convince a player not to go if he had the chance. Many players from all over the country have gone so much so that it gets hardly a mention in the press unless it is a Dublin player.Most have come home not having made it. My own advice to a player would be to take the opportunity to get an education first of all as a football career is very short even if successful.

  14. Watched the1978 minor final the friday before the game ,some goal Jimmy Maughan scored.congrats to the boys for bringing the silver ware home. Willie joe again a credit to you, fantastic web site.Living in nyc green and red to the core!

  15. There is a whole thesis to be written on the two leaps from Minor to U21 and U21 to Senior.

    AOS and Kevin Keane were outstanding in 2008. Both were exceptionally strong for their age.

    Agree strongly with AndyD’s points about communication but what you don’t need is (to jump codes) a Don Givens who couldn’t seem to talk to youngsters properly or a Trappatoni who believed in minimal contact, or a text now and again.

    My thoughts would be for the Seniors to adopt certain players from the Minors/U21s talent pool and act as mentors. Andy comes to mind straight away

  16. I stand corrected on Greg Maher AndyD, though I think the final was the only one he started. Wasn’t forgetting about Mullen or O’Grady, because they weren’t part of starting final team.

    Agree that it was one of the poorer in terms of individual stars, but they were a cohesive sticky lot who believed in the value of the team ethic and who showed that you can win games without marquee forwards.

    Incidentally, switching to the seniors, I think all the talk about getting star forwards is bunk. Think Joe Canning, who is probably counter-productive for Galway hurlers now. We have the players; what we need is for them to produce collectively on the big day, and for good line calls to be made when necessary. That’s not to say that if better players come along they shouldn’t be used,

  17. Anyone else finding themselves thinking back to this day last week and thinking how excited we all were….I have to say I’m finding it hard to get out of this rut.

    Might go to some club games tomorrow and see if I can be cheered up a bit. Can only imagine how the players must feel.

  18. catcol, I believe you are correct re the whole marquee forward debate. I think it is a load of shite and being propagated by pundits that were saying that about us all year, and now because we lost by a single point, they are using it as justification. All the credit for our attack was that it was based on an almost “total football” style with scores coming from all over the place.
    It was poor shooting from a number of players that started our problems in the first half, 47% success rate in getting 8 points off 17 attempts. In the second half we scored 7 times, 1 goal and 6 points from 11 chances created . That is an improvement of 64%. However, the poor shooting in the first half had us in bother. Mayo actually finished with the same success rate as Dublin. Both sides scoring 54% of the chances created.
    I firmly believe that if there were better forwards out there then they would have been looked at and tried. What we have to do is generate an attacking plan that utilises the players we have.

  19. Steve, I am like you. I can’t shake it off. Everyone I meet is the same, no-one wants to talk about it. It is almost like we feel foolish for believing that this time, this team, this final was going to be different. It is almost like we are mad and embarrassed for thinking that. It’s like “what were we thinking?”
    We are good enough. We have the talent. We just underperformed on the one day you cannot afford to. The shite that happened beforehand obviously had a huge effect, the poor shooting hurt us and didn’t give us the cushion we needed and then the side-line performance topped it off.
    It’s like I said, we have to break it down to build it up again.

  20. Lads, on a brighter note, we do have at least one marquee forward, his name is Cillian, he’s 21 and TG will be around for a while. We have another one in the making, his name is Freezer and this year he began to solidify his place in this team. Please god, he’ll also be around for a while.
    There are IMHO four other spots up for grabs in next January’s team. Lets not recycle, go new,cast the net wider, go top shelf and try some of those All Ireland winning minors.

  21. Mac’s left boot, at the risk of WJ sending my posts for moderation and possibly yellow carding me, here goes. Anyway, it is far from hearsay or rumour at this stage. It appears there was hassle on the Thursday before the game that led to a disagreement between 1 player and the management. It has been widely reported that the player would not/did not travel with the team on the bus on Saturday and instead had to be persuaded to travel with one of the players in their car. An issue such as this so late in the season and before such a huge game is bound to have some negative effect on the mental preparation of the squad. I am not saying it is totally responsible for the performance but no-one is going to convince me that these things don’t matter.

  22. That’s perfectly fine, Pebblesmeller – all you’re doing is repeating what seems to be common knowledge at this stage. It would be good, I think, to get some coverage on the issue in the local media, if only to clear the air.

  23. The reason the did so well in 85 was that they had a great manager who jelled a good group of players into a great team Micfk Burke was a great manager and should havre been given the senior job but mayo county board politics took care of that.

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