Bits and pieces

Photo: Sky Sports

We’re now just over a week away from our first competitive inter-county outing of 2021. After a wait that has often felt like an eternity, the start of the football season seems to be arriving all of a shot.

There are a few bits and pieces of interest knocking around at the minute. In no particular order here they are.

Let’s start with one that may confuse you, as it did me. The GAA today announced the dates for the All-Ireland Championship semi-finals and finals at Minor and U20 levels, with these dates covering both the 2020 and 2021 competitions at Minor level. The dates for this year’s Connacht Championships at both levels have yet to be announced but I guess they will be in due course.

UPDATE: The fixtures and dates for this year’s Minor and U20 Connacht Championships have now been announced. Full details are here.

Next, the GAA announced yesterday that teams would be allowed to make seven substitutions in this year’s National Football and Hurling League campaigns. In light of the fact that county Senior panels (well, some of them) are only back in collective training for a few weeks, there are bound to be a good few pulls and niggles so it makes sense to allow plenty of substitutions to be made in the first few games played this year.

The number of subs could, however, become an issue if this dispensation is retained for this year’s Championship. If it is, it’s yet another leg-up to the stronger counties, notably the strongest one of the lot, who would be able to swap out half their outfield team with replacements of roughly equal ability. What are the odds again on the seven-in-a-row?

Next, it was confirmed yesterday that GAA GO will be streaming loads of live matches this year and, like 2020, the service will be available to those of us resident in this country. Our match with Down will be streamed live tomorrow week.

It’s pay-per-view, with single passes for matches costing €5 for League matches and €8 for Championship ones. A season pass, which gets you access to over 60 League and Championship matches, will, however, be on offer for just €25. That’s staggeringly good value, you’d have to admit, and the season pass goes on sale from next Wednesday.

Finally, there was a good interview by Declan Rooney on the RTÉ website on Wednesday with Eoghan McLaughlin (here; it’s also on Sky Sports here). Fond as I am of two-wheeled pursuits myself, though only at MAMIL level, I’ve always had a soft spot for the flying young Westport player, who was an All-Ireland Junior cyclist before he switched to playing Gaelic football.

It’s clear that, despite his high-profile exploits last year, Eoghan has his feet firmly planted on the ground. While he accepts that the All-Star nomination was both “grand” and “sound” he goes on to say that “I think we all know what the main objective is with the county.” That we do, Eoghan, and more power to you too.

46 thoughts on “Bits and pieces

  1. Have been out of the country for a good few years, a lot of those younger guys are unfamiliar to me…someone might shed some light on the names of the younger faces. I see the two Westport boys Colm Moran and Ben Doyle are back in this year, would I be right in saying they both were not part of the squad last year, but were in 2019?

  2. Wide Ball, thanks a million for that.
    Confession: I had to click on each individual photo – the O’Shea guy was the only one I recognised. Didn’t even recognise Diarmaid, when I enlarged.
    And the newbies? Who Padraig Walsh? Who Owen McHale?

  3. Padraig. Walsh the Neale, left footed midfielder injured a lot last year but very mobile player
    Owen Mchale Belmullet U20 Utility player
    Oisín Tunney U19 Fullback Breaffy
    Frank Irwin U19 Ballina
    Jack Carney U20 midfielder kilmeena
    Ends Hession U20 halfback/forward Garry more
    Aaron McDonnel U21 halfback Ballinrobe
    Conor Igor Bonniconlan Half back
    Colm Moran U23 corner forward Westport
    Aidan Orme U22 corner forward Knockmore
    Ben Doyle U23 Westport cornerback
    John Maughan U23 Castlebar Cornerback

    This on top of 14 new players in last years panel very fresh looking faces, Thanks for the update. Was hoping Cian Hanley and Shairoze Akron would get called back in.

  4. Happy enough with some of the selections. Felt Keiran King U23 Knockmore could have been called in as well after last years championship form, James Horan has to fill a few holes in defense and midfield with recent retirements. No sign of Conor o Shea either.

  5. I think James Horan deserves a bit of credit here, 25 different clubs across the country represented. A lot of talent to look at. It must be difficult to work on tactical aspects with that many players in the panel.
    I would have to agree with MayoMessi here on Kieran King, an outstanding club championship last year.
    With the amount of players brought in I am a bit bemused there is no 3rd keeper to even learn the ropes. Luke Jennings looked assured for Ballinrobe last season although still young.
    Mcnicholas from Kiltimagh has also looked impressive and then have you have Colm Reape and his booming kickout and maybe even Mattie Flanagan. Its a strange one that no player from an intermediate winning championship team is on the panel. Mchale/Duffy looked like they deserved a look in at least.
    Dylan Prendergast (Louisburgh) and Conor O’Shea due to his club form are the only two others id argue deserve a look.

  6. Great stuff wideball and mayomessi.
    Really looks like end of an era now.
    Good luck to all the newbies, this year’s and last. Its your time now.

  7. 11 players named u21, a few others will be disappointed. The future looks bright. Well done to the clubs, schools and academy.

  8. Great to see Harrison and Doherty there, I firmly beileve had we both fit for the AI last year, it would have been alot closer…….

    Tommy Conroy has put on serious muscle over the last few months. Fair play to him.

  9. Jack Carney is an interesting prospect. He’s not a player we’ve had too many of. Speed, stamina with a bit of height. He gets around the middle third very well, he gets stuck in.

  10. Thanks Mayo Messi. That’s serious new blood. Presume pace is a common denominator here.

  11. Panel of 48. Up 6 on last years panel. Backroom team of 20. One way of getting a nice crowd at the games.

  12. Out of that panel Hession, Carney, Irwin, Tunney and Owen McHale are still U20. They will probably head off with the U20s when that championship is starting up.

  13. Missed Luke Doherty Ballina from list above, I agree with clubman51 regarding the two balla players especially Barry Duffy felt he was worth a look, very short window this year for looking at new players. not sure if Dylan Prendergast is fully committed as he may be back playing Rugby. Luke Jennings the Ballinrobe goalkeeper is still U19 so he has time on his side and will probably remain with the U20 group. I agree that one of Mchale/McNicholas/Flanagan could have been brought in.

  14. Kieran King the big surprise for me. Outsanding in championship last year wheras Doyle was roasted v Breaffy. Strange. I hope there will be opportunities down the line for King,, definitely county potential imo.

  15. Is there a list of players on panel anywhere? I for one can pass on the headshots.
    Good news re televised games. €25 is great value

  16. can anyone put list of names on panel up here. , cant make out some from photos.

  17. Disappointing not to see Cian Hanley, Caolan Crowe, Conor O’Shea, Conor Diskin, Barry Duffy, Kieran King, Sharoize Akram, and Colm Reape not in the current squad and Its going to be hard watch Peter Naughton play against us for Sligo in the Connacht Championship, a decision that might come back to haunt JH. I would question some panel selections who got in before the some of the above named , club championship form suggested otherwise, Westport seem to be doing very well on County panelists for a team that flopped against Breaffy last year. JH really needs to find out who his best Goalkeeper is after Hennelly , and should experiment between Byrne, Reape or McNicholas in the League if he can.

  18. @TH Cian and Sharoize previously were busy with their business, last year they couldn’t commit we don’t know if they’re available.
    Not all the panel have a realistic shot at a jersey, there’s around 30 footballers at or close to top inter county level in Mayo. The others are needed to fill out training numbers for games.

  19. @Willie Joe above was from Sharoize interview in the papers this year for reference it was on several outlets, he mentioned on opting out.

  20. Just because a player is not on the panel – doesn’t mean he wasnt asked. Not every player can or wants to give the level of commitment needed to play county football. Some players are happy enough to play top level club football.

  21. The commitment point is so true, a point made forcefully by Chris Barrett on the podcast (which, if you haven’t already listened to, you really should – it’s a fascinating inside view of the Mayo senior set-up). Chris says it was always interesting to see new guys come into the panel and that you’d get an idea fairly soon which of them would cut it and which wouldn’t. In his opinion it was those who were willing to listen and learn who were likelier to make the grade, while the more obviously talented players often didn’t.

    From the outside looking in, I think we all have to accept that we’ve little or no idea who has been asked to come in, who have said they could or couldn’t commit (given everything else going on in their lives) and how those who have come in have shaped up in the senior panel. It’s easy to toss names out and say it’s surprising they haven’t been called up in the absence of any firm information on the interaction may have happened with individual players and how they themselves feel about the borderline insane level of commitment demanded to make the cut in a senior panel such as ours.

  22. Very well put Willie Joe, need to leave the trust to the main man when it comes to selecting the squad as its probably where his biggest strength has been as manager. Did the mourne men go back to training earlier or what was the story with the six county teams?

  23. Does anyone know if those pen pics have been taken down?i saw them yesterday but can’t get it up now on the phone

  24. Agree completely with that assessment WJ. Name dropping like this is disgraceful. I know of a number of named persons who have moved on, from previous outings, or are unavailable at the present. Chris called it and was very honest in his assessment I believe. On a positive note there are 3 or 4 on the panel that I was really pleased to find. Hopefully they can fulfill their potential.

  25. Yes, No Doubt. They appear to have dlsappeared.

    10 Newbies V Down?

    The Hurlers won.

  26. Getting out of Division 2 will not be easy.Horan will be thinking of the championship and will be putting out a good semblance of what he will use in the championship. This year games are coming so fast that there will be little time to experiment.

  27. Getting out of Division 2 will be very tricky..JH would have a chance to try out some options with the goalie, full back and midfield in a normal 7 game league. But we have to hit the ground running with our strongest team available againt Down . This is a must win in probably the strongest half of Division 2. Expect to see Hennelly in goals right throughout the league and championship.

  28. Over the years there has been a tendency on this blog to think that the first league team named will be the championship team. It rarely works out that way, let’s have patience this year as nobody knows what’s going on behind the scenes.

  29. Sorry MartyK, I was referring to his brother as corner forward.

    Mark definitely is.
    .
    There are so many newbies.

  30. Who will fill the midfield slot. We need more competition for that position. Of all the retirees.some fantastic servant s to mayo football. The likes of zippy.parso s sos. The most man we are going to find hard to replace is David Clarke.. mayo all time best keeper.

  31. Agree with you Craggy boglands, it’s going to be a big operation to get a long term goalkeeper settled into the squad, won’t be this year anyways

  32. Thanks for that Ciaran 2………Mark looked impressive in his first season and just wondering if he was still in the camp…….

  33. PJ Mcmanus name dropping the players we think should get a chance for Mayo is hardly a crime? Surely the point of the blog is for healthy discussion.
    Jack Carney def an exciting prospect, could see him ending up at centre back or wing forward. Have seen him kick 45’s and take free’s at club level.
    Bemused that there is no third keeper added to the squad surely it would be no harm to give them experience and knowledge of the requirements needed to be an intercounty goalkeeper.
    Would like to see David Mcbrien at full back, its problem area for us for awhile now. With the possibility if we keep winning of seven games before a Connaught final, there will be plenty of chance to blood these young lads. Great to see Colm Moran back in, has the killer touch you want from your corner forward. Also, excited to see Aidan Orme, thought he was outstanding for Knockmore last year as a creator and scorer and not afraid to mix it.

  34. Clubman51 – I’ve deleted that comment where you’ve named a player and said he’s injured “from what I hear”. I’m not interested in hearing what you’ve been hearing about and you should know, as you’ve been posting comments here long enough, that you can’t post information like that on here if it’s not already public information.

    You’re also missing the point in your response to PJ, which related back to a point I made, about people naming players and bemoaning that they hadn’t been drafted. The point I was making was that doing this in the absence of not knowing what that player’s situation was and the interaction that may or may not have happened with Mayo management was unfair.

    I’m all for healthy discussion here but I want it to be informed discussion, of which, happily, there’s already plenty and with the football restarting hopefully there’ll be plenty more over the coming weeks and months.

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