Covid concerns ahead of Sunday’s game

We’re back in the news with a bang today, with not one but two Covid-related stories. Combined, this amounts to more than a hint of chaos in our ranks ahead of Sunday’s Connacht semi-final against Leitrim.

A Covid scare is one thing and we’re obviously not the first county panel to be impacted in this way ahead of a match. With the pandemic far from being quelled yet, public health considerations remain paramount, with the impact this has on Sunday’s match necessarily of lesser priority.

Breaking Covid rules that are in place is another matter altogether. We were in the headlines on this months back and we’re the focus of another story in this vein today.

The official Mayo GAA statement on the Covid outbreak doesn’t appear to be online yet – it’s not on their website or on their Twitter account at any rate – but RTÉ, the Irish Examiner and the Connaught Telegraph all print the statement in its entirety. This is what it says:

Mayo GAA are currently working with the HSE on a number of Covid-19 related queries amongst members of the county senior football panel.

Mayo GAA are following HSE guidelines and our senior team are continuing their preparation for Sunday’s Connacht Championship game versus Leitrim.

The bit that jumps out there is that there are ‘a number’ of possible Covid cases within the panel being investigated. Your guess is as good as mine as to how many that represents but it certainly appears to be more than one.

This will obviously impact on any team announcement we make ahead of Sunday. There’s got to be a good chance now that we won’t see any team list until shortly before the game.

One man who’s unlikely to feature for us on Sunday is Lee Keegan. Colm Keys in the Irish Independent (print version) confirms the rumour that’s been swirling around all week that Lee has picked up some kind of shoulder injury and that he won’t be fit to play on Sunday.

Separately, the Irish Independent reports this morning (here) that the official Mayo kit van is being denied entry by Connacht GAA to Sunday’s game. This is because the van reportedly had “an unauthorised individual on board” as it was seeking to get into Markievicz Park for the Sligo game the other week.

This is the second time an incident like this has happened and it’s obviously embarrassing in the extreme. It’s one thing pulling a clownish stunt like this on All-Ireland day but, having been caught out and disciplined for that infraction, to try the same thing again is more than a little bone-headed.

As the Covid scare we’re now grappling with shows, the public health guidelines are there for a reason and so wilfully breaking the rules in the current climate is reckless in the extreme. All involved in this nonsense need to get their house in order and sharpish.

80 thoughts on “Covid concerns ahead of Sunday’s game

  1. As someone with 3 front line workers in my family I want to get this off my chest.
    The GAA overall has not dealt adequately with county boards and panels on this. The bans and punishments have been quite frankly an insult.

    2 counties were training(photographed) when they were not supposed to be training. 2 counties that were caught by the way.
    You then had Banty McEnaney on live television patting players on the back when they beat Galway. Dessie Farrell back on the line last weekend having served his “ban”. The Mayo county board are 100% responsible for that Kit Van and who is in it. What have they got to say. The only counties to suffer in the past year were the weaker ones(Sligo etc). That Sligo scenario would never and I mean never have happened to a Div 1 team, they would have gotten a week or 2 grace.

    Why did the GAA not sit down with county chairmen/managers early this year, clearly outline the rules and state that if there are more than 2 breaches the championship is off. It had been farcical

  2. Agree WJ about the van incident, the CB Chairman needs to make a strong stand on this. It’s bad trying something once and getting caught but it’s totally stupid trying and getting cought the second time. It makes Mayo GAA look like a laughing stock to the outside world. Time to cut out the amateurish antics by those in the Backroom Team.

    Regarding the Covid situation, I hope all affected players / contacts are OK. Health is the most important thing here. Things like this were always likely to happen, the rise of the Delta Varient means that it is much easier to pick up C19. Hopefully we’ll be able to field a team on Sunday, that said I’d expect a weakened starting 15.

  3. Obviously the rumours are probably everywhere over the last 24-36 hours as to what has gone on (I know better than to share them here) but hopefully we are able to put together a decent team. It certainly seems like we will be short a good few players. Leitrim may not be a strong team but they certainly play with a lot of heart and won’t give up in the way Sligo did.

  4. I heard about Lee Keegan last weekend . Hence my unusually negative outlook on the Galway match and anything beyond that. Our full back line was in rag order as it was . If he is out for Galway match they are favourites . It’s 50/50 as it is

  5. Im reminded of the time controversial Man City footballer Mario Balotelli whipped off his top to reveal a tshirt saying ‘WHY ALWAYS ME?’…..only instead im thinking ‘WHY ALWAYS MAYO?’, why are we always hogging the headlines with self inflicted nonsense, any chance we could just keep our heads down and go quietly about our business like other counties.Its embarassing.

    Regardless its lucky its Leitrim we are playing this weekend and not galway, lets be honest our 2nd string would hockey leitrim without much fuss. Need to get the heads down for Galway though, thats a 50/50 game and whole season will be judged on it, you would hope we have keegan available for that to renew acquiatances wth comer

  6. I’m not so sure the information around the kit van this weekend is correct WJ.

  7. Are you questioning the accuracy of the press reports on the story today, 73Cahir? As far as I know the reports are based on the known facts but if you have any reports to the contrary that have been published it would be good to know what these are and what the points of contention are about the accuracy of the accounts published to date.

  8. And to think we were laughing at the Roscommon bus. Kit van is a waste of money anyhow managed without one for years, easy to throw bags of balls and cones into the bus luggage area. It’s not as if we have to transport goal posts and nets to every pitch we play on.

    Managed to get a ticket online late last night…maybe worth a check to see if any still available for those of you still looking.

  9. In fairness Olive most counties nowadays have a kit van sponsored by a local garage

  10. Fair point Big Mike and I know most of then are sponsored, point I was trying to make was that the sponsors could contribute money instead of a van and still get recognized for being a sponsor…..

  11. Rory Byrne starts . Horan is damn lucky it’s this game that Hennelly has to miss. Imagine if Byrne had to come in cold for the Galway game or any subsequent game . He will have the championship experience now we all wanted him to get just in case anything happened Robbie !

  12. Team is significantly altered which suggests several players have been caught up in this.

  13. Team just named – I’m on the road for the next while so if someone wants to post details then please fire ahead. I’ll do a piece for the record later on.

  14. True KM. Good for him to get some game time. This game could end up being rather less one sided that we hoped.

  15. per the MayoGAA websiute
    Rory Byrne
    Enda Hession
    Padraig O’Hora
    Michael Plunkett
    Paddy Durcan
    Oisin Mullin
    Eoghan McLoughlin
    Matthew Ruane
    Stephen Coen
    Conor Loftus
    Aidon O’Shea
    Bryan Walsh
    Tommy Conroy
    Darren McHale
    Ryan O’Donoghue

  16. Team is here for anyone who missed it…

    Actually quite an exciting team named, doesnt look to depleted by any covid outbreak, in fact it is close to our starting 15 imo.

    Big news in rory byrne starts in goals which im delighted with, it is criminal that we havent tried out a new keeper option outside of hennelly or clarke at any stage in last several years but better late than never.

    Other notable one is Padraig o’hora at fullback, he offers something a big different in that he is a jersey tight rugged defender, glad to see him back in as he is something different.

    Also happy to see Oisin Mullin out in halfback line ,the oace we have in that line is frightening now. I would not like to be an opposition wing forward chasing any of them lads around

  17. Rock I though the same
    But you have to consider that Keegan Diarmuid and Cillian are all injured so that’s three changes right away
    So a fair few changes leaving covid aside
    Apart from that there is one very obvious omission and maybe one more

  18. Is there any possibility we could be kicked out of the championship? We’re Sligo not kicked out last year for same or similar issue?

  19. WJ, I’m mindful of the (correct) ban on hearsay and rumour in this parish so I’m going to wait until the post-match vehicle report! Separately and more importantly great to see Oisin at no 6!

  20. Thanks, 73Cahir – I’m all for accuracy too so hopefully whatever is reported about the incident is fully factual and if what’s out there is incorrect that the record is corrected.

    Agree 100% with your sentiments about Oisin at 6. I’d nearly push him a small bit further up but I guess he’ll do that of his own volition in any event.

  21. With no covid issues 12 of that published team would have started. The way it was reported you would think Mayo would have to tog James Horan and Ciarán McDonald. Mayo to win by at least 16 points on Sunday.

  22. What I don’t understand is why move Michael Plunket into the fullback line now and move Osion out to HB on the cusp of the serious end of the championship. Surely if that was the plan it should have been done earlier in the season.

  23. @Rock I wouldn’t call 4 changes as significantly altered.

    Keegan (injured) Flynn, Hennelly, McLoughlin


    Byrne,Coen, O Hora, Walsh

  24. Suspending the Mayo van for Sunday is proper order. After all it was the van that tried to sneak this person into Sligo – not the persons fault that was in the van. The same for final last year – it was the van that tried to sneak in the three people – not their fault that they were in the van!!.
    This van has to be taught a lesson!!

  25. Bryan Walsh was due to start against Sligo as well before injury so it’s only 3 players really.

  26. The van is running amok alright and needs to be taught a lesson.

    I hope it takes its banishment the correct way and comes back chastened for the Connacht final .

    Hopefully no more corona cases within the squad now.

  27. seems to be loads of nod nod wink wink stuff being hinted at in here today, and talk of rumours and gossip.
    I really am bang out of the loop playing and living up here in dublin it seems, none of the local mayo gossip finding its way to me :-0
    I have absolutely no clue what yis are talking about

  28. Lahanman I disagree with your sentiment. Management don’t have to get the system sorted from day one of the season, they just have to get it right the next day and the one after that etc. it’s evolving/changing all the time and the fact they’ve made this change now shows that they are responding to a perceived weakness they feel we have at this time or that Oisín will do more damage from half back and Plunkett may be better suited to the fullback line. I think it’s a good change and one I think will work as Oisín carries more of a threat going forward but Plunkett is defensively sound

  29. Don’t worry Supermac, I am a full time resident of this wonderful county of ours and I’d say you still hear more than me.

  30. If Plunkett in full back line works that would be great – I’ve been a fan of his based the performances he put in for the league and Oisin in half back line is obviously deadly.

  31. I love that Swaney is at fullback, could be a great man to do a job there if we need him and on certain forwards. That half back line of Durcan, Mullin and McLaughlin looks amazing on paper and I really hope it is the half back line that emerges for the next few years for us!!!

  32. South Mayo Exile,
    In PJ Loftus style.
    What the f….k was Van Morrison doing at a Mayo match.

  33. U20 tickets for Tuesdays match with Galway sold out quicker than hot cakes

  34. The hb line is the most exciting in the country.
    I hope they have arranged for one of them at least to hold back and mind the house for the day.

  35. Just to lighten the mood, a Dub just whinged to me about England playing most of their games at home…. Talk about the cat calling the dog hairy hole…

  36. Oh there’s never a dull moment , I seen someone earlier saying were not box office , you’re kidding right , we own the box office .

    That hb line is truly savage . Jesus the speed of it

  37. I will wait to see what team actually gets on the field Sunday and how they line out. I expect there will be changes

  38. @Johnnyboogeen I don’t think your comments about John Prenty are fair. I’m all for criticism when it is deserved and perhaps he deserves criticism (I don’t know him well enough to judge) but it seems to me you have gone too far in hitting out at the man in a personal nature. On the incident of the van in Croker and Sligo I would say there may well be someone else with a big ego who might need to have the wings clipped.

  39. I think Byrne and O’Hora are being thrown in relatively cold, and Plunkett has never played in the full-back line at this level.

    But in the long-run maybe all this is no harm. Our concerns in relation to back-up for Rob are long established. Many of us have also wanted to see more of O’Hora, although I doubt he’ll play at full-back.

    My final comment on the van – it’s not acceptable behaviour and we’ve embarrassed ourselves (again). I’d go as far as to say whoever made that decision shouldn’t be involved with the setup any longer.

  40. Why the Gaa didn’t run the championship late Aug to Oct is beyond me when probably everyone who wants a vaccine will have had one and could have likely increased revenue from gate receipts

  41. The van will not be a problem. All the ground surrounding the park belongs to the Mitchell’s. A bit of respect for John Prenty. Wait till some other county man has the job and there will be some whinging.

  42. Willie joe , I’m surprised you did not delete that negative comment about Mr Prenty. He is one of the best administrators in the country and the centre of excellence over which he presides is testament to his life long love and dedication of all things GAA. We had a similar dictator here in Cork for many years. Love him or hate him you had to acknowledge that his heart and soul was all in his beloved Sporting body. Prenty… you are a legend and keep up the good work ! As regards the selected team for Sunday I hope that’s the starting line up and that the full quota of subs is used well before full time. Up Mayo!

  43. Centerfield is right. This shortened championship when all people want is to go to or watch games. Then id to buy Sky sports to see 3 hurling matches last week bet some auld boys below in Loughrea or Westport dont have any way to get Sky. GAA leadership just making one crap decision after the other in my opinion. In fairness to the Rossies, Sligo whats tge point all thus training forone game and sure with the covid stslking Mayo ye will do well to keep it kicked out to Leitrim but seriously whats the fecking rush its like the cgampionship is an inconvenience to get rid of as quick as possible. On the Covid I hope no one in Mayo get any illness from this affair as when we bate ye in the Connaught final I want to hear no excuses about Covid ( joking Willie Joe).

  44. I just have Michaelincork. I’ve been behind the wheel driving across country for the last three hours so only catching up on comments now. I’m not finished with that particular contributor yet either.

  45. @Michaelincork. WJ said he is on the road today so probably hasn’t seen any comments for a few hours.

    Delighted Oisin is out to the half back line.
    Its going to be something to look forward to and to see how well the lads do (goalie and full back line). I’m really looking forward to this match although I wouldn’t be at all confident that the team named, will start.
    I hope the rest of the panel are hail and hearty and that anyone that has had to take precautions come through without issue.
    Its a strong looking team as it stands.

    If the van sceal is true then that would be very disappointing.
    Wouldn’t we all love to be at the game this weekend but we have to wait until the all clear is given.

  46. I wonder if Harry and Doc are close to coming back.
    James Horan made comment that they were getting close a couple of weeks ago.

  47. The kit van fiasco is embarrassing. – being on the back page of Independent today and Colm Keyes on the radio earlier. Its up to Liam Moffat as the boss to sort it for once and for all and show that backroom person the door. JP Kean’s facebook post is well worth a read .

  48. My uncle has 12 Gaa match programmes to sell featuring Mayo in Connacht Senior Finals covering a 20 year span from 1995 to 2015.
    All in good condition, and include the 5 programmes from Mayo’s 5 in s row, 2011-15.
    Can sell all individually.

    Anyone interested can e-mail me

  49. JohnnyBoogeen – I’ve deleted that disgraceful comment of yours and you’re now in moderation for the foreseeable future for your troubles.

  50. This kit van fiasco is a bit Irish alright, but its an “amateur”game at the end of the day, personally find it quite funny tbh, it will pass soon enough.

    My main concern is Keegans injury, we’re cursed with luck this year. Anyone know the extent or any media reports suggesting the time frame?. If he is out for Galway then its good night Irene, anyone isolating will be back in time.

    Happy with the team, Byrne is long over due a start. Oisin at 6 is spicy, but id prefer him at midfield going forward. Might be a change or two yet before throw in.

  51. Mayolass that backroom person is there at the behest of one person and it is up to that person to take action.

  52. I purchased 4 tickets in a pod for the Stand. I now cannot attend. The tickets are valued at 120e. I will sell for 100e or nearest offer. If anyone is interested we can exchange no’s if that’s okay Willie Joe.

  53. Jp2, Well whether it is Horan or Moffat – I’m not fussy who gets rid of this person once he’s gone!

  54. I usually let the comments build up after a match before I go through them. There is normally the odd deleted one, usually posted at a very late hour. I often wondered, what did I miss, I wonder what that was about.
    Today I saw a comment before it was deleted. I wonder no more, because if its comments like that I’m missing, I ain’t missing anything.
    Thanks WJ, you must have some patience.

  55. Very interesting to see people on here daring to Question the CB.
    I nearly got thrown off ( unfairly) for Daring to do so a few years ago.
    Mayo will win without too much trouble on Sunday no matter what team they play.

  56. That’s not the history of our disagreement as I recall it, Mike H! I can still remember what you posted about me then but bygones are bygones so I’ll say no more about it.

    Questioning and/or criticising has always been and always will be allowed here but what will always be rule here as well is that anything posted has to be couched in reasonable terms. Providing it is then there’s never an issue, this only happens – and it happened again as recently as earlier on today – is when people stray well beyond reasonable comment.

  57. Like Ros +Town ,I also have a pod of 4 for the stand. Can’t attend due to work .will sell on for €100 or nearest offer

  58. I usually never comment or add my opinion here, I love to read the comments on the matchups on players, the tactics, the results but I have to say I agree with the comment which was unfortunately deleted by yourself Willie Joe. I don’t agree with the personal sentiments but I do agree with the factual information which has been raised regarding the van and the misinformation that has been put out there as bait. I’m sure this will be rectified in the media and if not then it just goes to show that misery loves company and we’re not really that interested in facts. Perhaps if we stop and think that there may be additional agendas here in tarnishing the management/chairing of the team? Is that possible? Were any of us actually there to know what happened? Or who are we relying on this information coming from? Sad to say there can be a negative strain to reporting within Mayo for many reasons personal and otherwise and you’d want your head in the sand to not have noticed that, we know the papers never refused ink, certainly not when it comes to Mayo GAA. Not excusing the event in Croke Park at all but this is simply incorrect. No one here will ever know the dedication and commitment, unless you are at training each night with that mayo setup, that not only the kitman but the whole background team and players bring – and to be constantly lambasted with negative press whether it’s their performance or incorrect media reports it is shocking. And here we are again like vultures giving our own 2c. I think it was Elverys running with the tag line ‘in this together’ and all I can say is that year in particular the players never received such abuse, and the setup hasn’t seen much support from so called fans since, my own opinion of course. For some reason we love a bit of negativity in Mayo, players, management, background, co board, it’s never ending. And we think none of this seeps through to the team and their families themselves. Some supporters we are!

  59. I remember doing the old pitch entry gate during the H block protest. We had strict instructions not to let anyone in without a special ticket. Ros officials got onto field with their tickets but wanted the injured Dermot Early in with no ticket. We made one of the officials leave to let him in. Petty weren’t we and we still got beaten.

  60. Agree with Ah now, re WJ’s patience.
    Thanks WJ for all the work you do and for this fantastic site.
    I’d imagine it’s difficult enough without your having to delete comments, and put lads into moderation.
    I loved “I’m not finished with that particular contributor yet either!”; we must have had similar teachers in NS. Your pupils are waiting to see how you’ll dispense six of the best. Keep us posted!

  61. I’ll move away from all the CB / Prenty / VanGate narrative. I didn’t think how or if we’d be able to produce a better 1/2 back line than Keegan / Vaughan / Boyle so soon but for me Durcan / Mullin / McLoughlan is better. It’s more athletic which is where the modern game now is. The previous 3 were immense but with this line in place we can really press on. It’ll be hard to fully judge v Leitrim but it’s setting a template. The team / squad is falling into place.

  62. Well said Willie Joe – you nailed it. That is very tough on Lee – he has had a lot of injuries. This carry on with the kit van is crazy altogether. I couldnt make out what county PRO was saying in his statement. I didn’t hear any apology or a sacking anyways (I wont ask is there any update on the TILES! I am gone past caring how they fundraise!)

  63. A half back line of the 3 players mentioned above need to be measured on their defensive qualities first. Then they need to be measured on their ability to link with the half forwards and get accurate, early ball in to the inside line. They need a good track record of containing the counter attack when possession is given up. If they excel in all these areas first, I will start to get excited about the pace they all possess.
    I see that stupid poster just let himself down big time re John P.renty A gentleman and a scholar of Mayo GAA

  64. Mayomad…i haven’t seen any abuse of the Mayo players here or anywhere. I thought our loyalty and respect to the players was/is never in doubt. Could you flesh out please your comment re the ‘misinformation that has been put out there” in relation to the kitvan? And what part of whats been reported in the media is incorrect?

  65. I don’t think the blame for this latest incident can fairly be laid at the door of the supporters, Mayomad. Also there was no element of “unfortunately” in my decision to delete that comment as it clearly broke the rules and was personally abusive of a named individual.

    On the van incident itself, if the facts as reported are incorrect then no doubt this will come out. It’s fair for supporters to have their say on the facts as they’ve been reported and what people have had to say here on the incident has on the main been reasonable.

    I take your point, though, regarding deliberate misinformation and the agendas that could be at play here. I decided some time ago to keep the debate here on the blog focused on the on-field stuff for the reason that there was so much poison in the air behind the scenes and some people posting comments seemed determined to drag the blog into this, which I was equally determined to avoid. That’s still my position, though I’m well aware that, if anything, the off-field atmosphere is even more poisonous now.

  66. Very interesting. Anyone have a sense if we will see Harrison at some point. Love his experience back there with the youth of EH.

  67. Mayo win shortened from 1/500 in to 1/100 on the high street , mind you it is 10/11 minus 16 points . now i like a punt but backing Mayo best price 1/50 on the exchanges is not my idea off a good thing .

  68. Fair play mayomad, something suspicious on this aul sceal about the van . Can i ask again have mayo gaa admitted to what has been said by CC?

  69. “All those who attended the recent Connacht Championship game of Mayo versus Sligo attended the game via a match ticket. The role of those stewarding the game was to ensure that the controlled zone had 40 people (26 players, 12 backroom and two county board officers) in it and Connacht GAA ensured this. All vehicles were cleared by Connacht GAA and only those on the access list were allowed to enter the controlled zone.”

    this is what im on about , is that a denial ?

  70. Sean I too cannot fathom what that statement means. Can anyone here make sense of it?

  71. This van is out of control & as others have said, it needs to be taught a lesson. Those in the van are completely innocent, but the van needs to be dealt with

  72. All I can say is i hope for a speedy recovery for Lee.
    On the covid side of things there is great people giving up their time to try and keep our games going.unfortunetly there are too many making comments spreading rumours and just not helping matters.As coaches and administrator’s the only reason we do this is for the love of the gaa and get youth playing our games.
    Covid has put a huge work load on everyone,games being cancelled trying to field teams training numbers down and yet we plough on.
    I just wish people would think before they post everyone seems to have the answers but no solutions.
    Fuck it I’m exhausted.

  73. @sean burke my reading on this, and assuming that all statements are accurate, is that there was someone in the kit van when it entered the stadium who had a match ticket but who was not authorized to be within in the controlled zone.

    To my mind there’s two scenarios here:
    1.) Whoever was driving the van gave a lift to someone into the stadium
    2.) Whoever was driving the van had not been registered to stay in the controlled zone but did leave after parking up

    First one is just a bit of silliness.
    Second is probably a case of the usual GAA fuzzy rules

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