Best of luck to the minors

MacHale Pk 04072015

Photo: @MayoGAA

This evening’s Connacht minor football semi-final between our lads and Galway throws in at MacHale Park in less than an hour’s time.  I’m up the other end of the country so I can’t vouch for certain what kind of an evening it is for football but if it’s anything like up here in the capital, conditions should be perfect for the game.

If you’re heading to MacHale Park, then enjoy the action. If you’re not, then Midwest will have full live commentary and there’ll be constant Twitter updates from the usual sources as well.

We’re heading out to friends for a BBQ shortly so I won’t be following the action all that closely myself this evening and I’d say there’s little chance of my rising to any kind of match report, which in any event would only be a second-hand account of what went on in the game. No doubt, though, some of you who frequent here will report back afterwards on the match.

It’s a big test for the lads tonight but one they should be well up for. With Sligo having dumped out the Rossies last night, a win for us would make it a double Connacht final between ourselves and the Magpies on Sunday two weeks. Here’s hoping that the way it’ll go. Best of luck to them. Up Mayo!

47 thoughts on “Best of luck to the minors

  1. Bright evening here in MacHale Park. A bit breezy.
    Good craic in the Sportlann watching the Rossies vs Cavan. John Maughan holding court and Kevin Walsh in the corner.

  2. Nightmare stuff from Mayo in the first half. Galway totally superior in terms of scoring ability and physicality. No points scored in the first half says it all….

  3. A serious and unacceptable performance going on here in Castlebar.

    Despite some good years at this level the successes are despite the lack of investment and planning by those running football in the county.

    But they’ll bad mouth Enda and his backroom for this, talk about planning, but like the decision to give Noel and Pat the u21 job no big thought will go into what is done.

    We might as well enjoy the last of the good days

  4. For once I’m glad I’m not at the game.

    From All-Ireland Champions to a humiliation at home in two years.

    Enda will find it hard to stay on after this.

  5. Have to admit I didn’t see us winning this game let alone running away with it like that.
    There was no great expectations for this team but in saying that I don’t think a full strength team was fielded in any of the league games.
    Lads like Conor Marsden, Ryan Forde, Cillian Brennan, Liam & Sean Kelly are excellent players though from the little I have seen of them.
    Very unusual to see a bad Mayo underage team but then again it may have just been a bad day at the office.
    We have had minor teams that flopped in Connacht & a lot of them progressed to win u21 3 years later so you never know.

  6. Poor performance.Need to look at structures not personalities.Where are the secondary schools in this….winning nothing at this age group.Surely St Gerards Muredachs and Belmullet x2 should be stronger in Colleges …also Westport etc.
    Dont think we need to panic …just ensure structures improved.

  7. Bad day at the office…not at the game so I dunno. Third time lucky for Galway. I wouldn’t get too carried away with this result. We need to except the u-21 team to step up next year if we are to challenge in the future or slip back into a huge hole that could be waiting for us

  8. A very poor performance now saying that Galway were outstanding and have some fine footballers.hard to know what the problem is or is there a bigger question with underage structures to be looked at within the county? Maybe we had it to good with minor teams the last few funny we could and prob should have being beaten by Galway the last 2 years at this level

  9. Genuinely expected this to be a tight game given everything I’d heard over the past few months. I couldn’t really believe the horror that unfolded instead. There’s just no point going into the intricacies of the game, of the lack of intelligent play or the blind panic that seemed to envelope the team any time they got possession. Sharoize was undoubtedly a big loss, and there was no leader out there tonight. Very disappointed for Enda and his team after all they have achieved.

    But given our underperformance – indeed collapse – at both minor and u21 this year, there clearly needs to be some serious soul-searching and self-examination done within Mayo GAA over the next few months –

  10. U21 performances have been very poor for a number of years. In fairness our minors have done quite well in the last few years but this was a terrible result. Fortunately our seniors have been giving us lots to cheer about but I would be seriously concerned when this great team of ours begins to break up. They have put in such a huge effort over the past 5 years and the truth of the matter is that not enough new lads are coming through to bolster the team we have. JH stuck to pretty much the same group of players for 4 years and despite this management giving lots of lads a chance we are back to much the same players again. We had some class minors in 2013 but they don’t even seem to have made the step up to U21 let alone senior,

  11. We were the better team 2 years ago but last year, I was at it in tuam, we were v lucky.

    We’ve been saying this for years now about underage but what good does it do. The county board haven’t a braincell… It’s very sad. Genuinely sad.

    It’s completely unacceptable. Mayo football is going backwards and let’s be honest…even at senior, our chances are slim this year. In a year or two Moran, Dillon, Higgins, caff, cunniffe, Barrett, Boyle, sos will all either be retired or past it. I don’t see adequate replacements coming through.

    We all know our recent senior dominance was built on the u21’s of2004 and 2006.

    Our hopes cling to some of the minors from 2013 maturing and making senior… But as of just one (D’oc) has stepped up enough to have made enough impact to claim a starting place.

    You have to think the county board havent a clue, genuinely don’t care …are they just in it for the power? Clinging onto it like shadey politicians. Sure they lied straight in our faces during the managerial process but got away with it.

  12. There was a share of hard luck there tonight. What if Galway were without three major players like Marsden , O Braonain and O Ceallaigh or Forde? It could have been a whole new story. Minors can be brittle and I think our chaps tonight felt the loss of those few absentees.
    One great plus there tonight must surely be the excellent and eloquent commentary/analysis offered by Declan O Reilly . The quality he displayed put the Mayo defeat in v proper perspective and greatly lessened the disappointment .

  13. Does it all come back to strategic review? I was looking at Galway team and subs there there not one player from the 3 senior clubs in Galway City salthill Saint Michaels and Saint James and not one from tuam Stars either! Now looking at mayo team there a lack of players from North Mayo clubs .things do ebb and flow in football from time to time and no doubt there be a lot players from North Mayo again soon.i be more concerned about coaching at underage level clubs included.players need to be coached from a very young age how to kick with both feet hand pass with both hands and how to tackle properly! Kicking and shooting with both feet are crucial and should be encouraged from a young age!

  14. We won the minor all Ireland two years ago it’s not all bad and we were missing three top players tonight . You are in serious trouble at underage if you lose three big players for a game .

    The gripe I have is gilvarry , Mitchell and whoever else was management in 13 should of moved up to 21 s this year and someone else drafted into minor set up, surely it makes sense to move up similar to club underage management structures especially if successful.

  15. Just back from Castlebar and what a depressing outing. Only the good weather made it seem – not acceptable but tolerable – and I’m not speaking of the performance. Granted the loss of Barry Duffy so early was a critical blow but his joke [in the programme] about Sharoize Akram’s being always on the physio’s table seemed prophetic when neither AKram or David Hanley were able to start.
    But there seemed to be basic faults in the team anyway. For a start Tommie Keane does not have the height for full back. He was always struggling with his opposite no, Boyle. And James Carr at full forward made little use of the possession he got, which suffered due to inaccurate kicking from outfield players. He tried to do too much himself without trying to bring other players into the picture. Another critical aspect was Mayo’s total inability to do anything approximate to marking – always yards behind in any race for possession and totally failing to pick up opponents when Galway won possession.
    It’s very easy to blame the County Board – and I’m no admirer of their’s – but the basics in developing young players has to be done at club level. Too often our basic kicking skills let us down – from kickouts to the few shots on goal we tried. There is no point in blaming the Co Board for that.
    Can anybody recall our minors being so badly beaten? I do recall an All Ireland Minor Final [’62 or ’63] when we were hammered by Kerry but not otherwise.

  16. Don’t necessarily agree with that the minor management should have moved up .under 21 is a critical appointment and my 2 choices are james horan and Stephen Rochford.gilvarry did a great job with minors the last few years but under 21 level is the next step to senior it totally different circumstances to saying that of course he has to be considered for under 21 job with he’s success at very worried about what county board are going to do at this level they said they going to offer under 21 job to Holmes and Connelly for next year to and for clubs to send nominations as well.holmes and Connelly will have enough on board with seniors to be looking after under 21s to.

  17. Claremorris best Minor Team in the county and no representative on the panel. While Enda Gilvarry and his management team achieved a wonderful All Ireland victory, you have to be able to bring lads with you.

    The worrying trend of injuries to players who have gone through this grade in recent years has never been explained, and this should be of concern to all Mayo supporters

  18. Did anyone hear the comment from Declan Reilly at end of game . He seems to think the best minor players were not on the pitch today.

  19. went to castlebar to see this mayo minor team which had been wrapped in cotton wool by the management for the last few weeks of club championship. very obvious that this strategy of lads not playing was wrong as they were way off the pace.another worry was the lack of size in the defence and the individuality of the forwards. The team were like long distance runners , no pace, no anticipation, and unfortunately lacking in the basic skills. cant believe this is the best bunch of players we had preparing for nine months for this game. on the other hand injuries were a huge factor in this game also.

  20. I don’t know if it’s still an issue but not too long ago I know that there was a great disconnect between what was happening at U-16 Minor and U-21. One would expect that there aught to be some class of a director whose role would be to liaise between the three grades ensuring a uniformity of ethos for instance. Maybe this happens naturally and that I’ve missed something but then I ask ,when these two teams tonight performed in the Ted Webb was there the same gap in evidence. Did they get walloped then too, and if they did so be it, just not a great harvest in these times! Next group will make up for all the anguish.

  21. Why do people assume that if you win a Minor All Ireland in a year that you are guaranteed success for a few years after that. Its a totally different team 2 years after winning one.Get real folks.

  22. Fail to prepare
    Then prepare to fail

    The question of underage and the quality of players coming through all stems from national school level.
    We have no investment on quality trained and qualified people from the mayo co board going around to the various schools and improving the kids skills levels
    There is also the issue of all women teacher schools some of whom have no interest in any sports at all.
    Just look at Roscommon
    A club like St Bridget’s have their own games development officer in place now for 5 years and the Ros county board have pumped a lot of money into underage and schools

  23. Connacht minor is average at best this year and that makes this heavy home Mayo defeat even worse. Can’t rule Galway out at underage they should reach All Ireland semi final at least Sligo will go no further will be well beaten by Kerry in the quarter final.

  24. Knock out at minor level is cruel; if these young lads got the chance to play again next weekend it could be a different contest. So many of the great seniors were never heard of at minor level when the entire competition was on knock out basis. Add to the bargain that many adult teams cannot function without their on-field leaders never mind young lads.
    As to our Roscommon colleagues well done. They displayed a fair amount of grit and quite a bit of talent too. McDermott is still moving like a 19 year old, Cregg although slightly off his best was class and to bring in a rookie like Harney was the icing on the cake. Ok that’s it, now let the slagging commence…

  25. The Rossies were good last night and have a very realistic chance of reaching the quarter final stage with the way their draw options are.

    On a sidenote to all those telling me in here a few weeks ago about the massive die hard Ross support, where were they last night?

  26. A few points on last nights debacle in MacHale Park and the comments on it.
    1] Asking clubs to nominate a manager for U21 or other team is a cop out by the Co Board/Co Executive. They should have their own vision of where they want to go.
    2] Expecting an automatic “promotion” from Minor management to U21 makes no particular sense.
    3] Whether there are players from Claremorris or elsewhere who should have been on the team or not as some have suggested is questionable. Can anybody say who they are? I saw last years Minor final and no Claremorris player stood out as a likely future Co star.
    4] The disruption caused by Akram and Hanley’s failure to start allied to Duffy’s early departure has to be a major part of the failure last night but the failure of too many of the players who did play to execute the basic skills of the game has to be taken into account as well. These skills include kicking and passing [left and right], marking and tackling.
    5] The failure of management to recognise basic flaws in the team structure is also a major weakness. I refer in particular to our full back on the night. Not his fault that he is not 6″ plus but it is the fault of management to expect him to man the full back position.

  27. Why doesn’t it make any sense to go with your winning minors to 21 s as a manger ? It doesn’t make sense to say it doesn’t make any sense more like. When you can make a solid argument with a combination of familiarity and success , I can’t see how you can just rubbish it .

    Club underage managers often go from 12 s right up with them to minor level.

  28. Sean,

    When club underage managers go from U12 to Minor with teams it is often / usually because the manager is the father of one of the players involved and he wants to stay involved with his son’s team. And the end of that is often the end of his management career. Sometimes familiarity can be a hindrance as much as a help, when familiarity leads to a closed mind on player’s abilities.


    Your concern about injuries to young players is widespread as it is a countrywide issue and has been and is being investigated by medics around the country. My own [unqualified] opinion is that it has much to do with the lack of physical activity by young people generally so that when they are put under pressure in training, sometimes by unwise training methods and different trainers, they cannot cope.

  29. You saw last years minor final, well several of those Claremorris players would now be one year older. We’re gone way too far the other way in terms of selection. James Carr didnt bring other players into the game, do you really think playing with Ardagh minors he would pass much?
    There is a massive quality gap when you go below Division 1 at minor. The game winning minors have almost always been from Div 1. Almost never are there physical good players from Divisions 3 n 4. Theyre training n playing at too low a standard majority of their development. Theyre also the stars of their team and simply able to outrun the extremely poor opposition from Division 3 downwards.The Mayo minor team should be mainly Division 1 players. This business of referencing Kerrys abilitu to use junior club players refers to senior players who amalgamate to bigger clubs for championship. Our selection and scouting is our primary problem. Btw last decade Div 1 Ballina cant almost buy places on Mayo minor panel. Suddenly Balla n Mayo Gaels feature on every panel n Iv only truly been impressed with Adam Gallagher.

  30. Think the under 21 lack of competitiveness is a bigger problem than the minors myself.
    On another note, were the seniors playing Westmeath today? How did they get on, does anybody know?

  31. “There is also the issue of all women teacher schools some of whom have no interest in any sports at all.”

    There’s many an excuse for our underperformance at underage level but this one takes the biscuit. When in doubt, blame the women!

  32. JP,

    Is Enda Gilvarry not from Ballina? If he is he should have a fair idea of any likely Ballina player available.
    I have often suggested here that Ballina and Castlebar should be dominating underage football in Mayo with their pool of potential players. If the clubs are not putting in the work from children’s level [U6/U8] upwards a county minor manager [or academy managers] will not and cannot make the difference.
    Somebody spoke of St Brigid’s having their own games development manager for the past 5 years. And so they should have – they have the resources with a thriving social centre/bar to finance this activity. Ballina and Castlebar are no different. Are there any other towns/clubs in Mayo with this facility or the opportunity to develop one? I think not on both counts. I have in the past asked what proportion of young people in Castlebar and Ballina are playing football at any level. Nobody has ever answered. Perhaps because the answer would be embarrassing.

  33. Anne Marie

    I don’t blame women teachers but this is a fact which occurred out of the Celtic tiger years as more and more males went for trades or enineering professions

    I see it myself with my own young kids no male teachers need schools and useless coaches from the county board coming in every so often to try and train the stars of tomorrow

  34. The 70s was a barren spell for mayo football and I say there was a lot of male national school teachers in that time.proper coaching needs to start from under 6 under 8 under 10 etc.clubs now have these players at that age now so coaching in national school may not be as relevant as it would being 20 years ago where players only started playing with clubs at under coaches need to be coached on how to coach teams properly.

  35. Happen to work in one of those “all women schools” referred to above…its a bit offensive to try and hang that at our door …many a male teacher i know that has no interest in gaa or coaching it..

  36. Big percentage not playing compared to other towns but … they have the population to be inefficient in playing percentage. Ballina are still always close to top of Div 1. Three clubs that since 98 minor campaign have had years where there has been very poor player selection. Ballina/Moy Davitts/Swinford.
    Swinford a few years ago beat Ballina in the minor final think it was 2012. Pretty certain almost no players in starting 15. Specifically Swinfords big mobile midfielder who dragged them there as I remember his name was Mccarron.
    98 Kilmaine Moy Davitts two excpetional teams, Pat Kelly, Brian Maloney, Paul Quinn n sub Robert Moran. Two exceptional teams 4 panellists while players from weak clubs played was a mistake.
    99 – Ballina win the minor title n only Gavin Duffy plays on county minor team. Amazingly no defender from Ballina or Moy Davitts while Burrishoole get a second player n.Ballinrobe also. Two teams Ballina or Moy Davitts would have hammered.
    Swinford a case in point from late 90’s had these big sons of farmers mobile n 6′ plus naturally well built from just been from Swinford. These Swinford teams could barely buy a player through to County minor.
    Mccaron might have got picked at minor but pretty sure wasn’t.
    Seems to have been trend since around 2006 Aughamore can have any reasonable kind of player n they make minor panels. Lately any reasonable player from Breaffy/Aughamore/Balla/Mayo Gaels.
    Not blaming those clubs n Im aware of one year 2010 where Moy Davitts had plenty representation but again big n physical Mark Regan a sub while smaller players started. That year there was MD selector involved.
    Core problems are:
    1. Not enough value placed on.Div 1.
    2. Some long term club biases in particular against Ballina/Moy Davitts/Swinford.
    3. Big physical mobile players who can play football ignored for tidy 5’7″ – 5’9″ small club stars.
    4. No proper scouting.of performances at club level. The ridiculous East\West\South\North trials still operates. Tyrone have just scrapped trials announced this week.
    5. Game winners n.dominant players it is not fully appreciated that they will almost never come from Div 2,3 or 4 in minor. Adam Gallagher exception that proves this rule. All minor teams have a core few game winners. Last years was Brian Reape and Cian Hanley. Interestingly Reape completely unheralded for dragging them as far as he did with his goals. Hanley proclaimed irreplacable by.comparison.

  37. btw the best selection year 2013 we won the minor title and Breaffy had several players and were county champions.
    Claremorris another club ignored at underage despite being Div 1.
    Tomas Griffin from Claremorris was a very bad ignore in terms of selection. He was a natuonal sprint champion n built like a tank. Club players hated facing him. Mystery why never a county option. Injuries caught up to him.
    Say it again but Kevin Keane Swinford was a brutal brutal case of there being no proper scouting. He was top class with pace n physique.

  38. Lads there is no bias against certain clubs your either good enough or not.north mayo was once a strong bed for Mayo football not now but may come again to be.things like these ebb and flow and whoever thinks that a division 1 player is better than a person playing for a division 4 team needs there head examined! One life one club if your good enough your good enough it doesn’t matter what division your in.i seen the claremorris minor team last year all good footballers very similar ability the only guy that really stood out was a diskin guy whether he minor or not this year I don’t know.just because teams are winning county championships doesn’t mean that they should have 6 or 7 players in a panel.there might be only one or two really good enough for county if any.there a lot of clubs in mayo!

  39. I would believe there would be at least three starters from Claremorris and a couple of panel members. The real question is why there is no south mayo selector who could give a geographical balance and also bring a knowledge of players in that area. The treatment of Minor Players being asked to pick between their clubs and county is nothing short of shameful.

    We have a County Coach who has never visited our Club in the last 10 years, apart from the week of the Cul Camps. We need to educate our club coaches and put less emphasis on the schools.

  40. I don’t necessarily agree with bias in selecting from one club rather than another but I do think there is something wrong in the selection process itself. When we won the minor all ireland we had what I would regard a relatively small (height wise) but mobile team. The strategy in training and perparation was to run the socks off the lads so we would have a fast counter attacking team and it worked. Now that strategy won’t work year in year out.. you have look at the type of players you have and set up accordingly. I heard recently that a lad who had an absolute stormer in the minor trials at full back was dropped.. why you say, the answer given was, he wasn’t attacking enough.
    Some clubs like louisburgh produce good under age teams from time to time and some very good individual players like Austin O’Malley and Padraig Prendergast more recently for the minors. It’s not fair to say that these players aren’t getting enough experience in the lower leagues as often they are man marked by several players and have to drag their team across the line by shear effort.
    And this stuff about all female teacher schools not having an interest in gaa is pure sh*/e talk in fairness. There are a lot of schools who don’t have a interest in gaa full stop because they have enough to do.. If the parents and community have an interest in the development of gaa in their schools then they should do something about it not blame a section of society.

  41. Toe to hand I’m aware there are county minor standard players in clubs like Louisburgh. I’m just stating their playing potential ceiling is hampered by the fact all their underage games n training was at a much lower standard than division one. These players go out and drag their teams across the line in every game. But the single bad habit they pickup is a lack of match practice at linking up with other players. Austin OMalley was a very good forward. But in the seasons he was involved he was not giving assists or working quick one twos so frequently. Very much a take on the defender type of player.
    The best midfielders are bar Adam Gallagher 95% of the time in.Division 1.
    The match practice at a high standard on kickouts is essential. Padraig Prendergast is a good honest player but like other lower division midfielders bar Adam Gallagher Iv seen no examples of a dominant one. Ronan McNamara lacked pace and unfortunately so does Padraig Prendergast.

  42. By the way Louisburgh had a fine freetaker at u21 in 2010. Lovely striker of the ball off the ground. Fantastic club for producing a gem every few years.

  43. Three midfielders from lower divisions in 20years who had ability in air and inter county pace to make quick sprints for tackles n counters.
    Adam Gallagher
    Tom Parsons
    Cormac Rowland.

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