With all the attention that has been lavished on the seniors of late (and there’s bags more of it in the Mayo News if you still haven’t had your fill – here’s the match report, Johnno’s post-match quotes, Killer’s post-match quotes, Ricey’s analysis and some more of the same from Ed McGreal, who also does the player ratings), it’d be easy to forget about the minors, who take the field for the first time in the Connacht championship this coming Sunday. But the Mayo News, bless ’em, haven’t forgotten: here’s Mike Finnerty’s preview piece on that Connacht semi-final clash with Galway in Sligo, which will be the curtain-raiser at Markievicz Park on Sunday.
Because the senior match has a 2 pm throw-in (I could, though I won’t, set off on a rant here about the demise of the Sunday at 3.30 pm throw-in time – I dunno about the rest of you but I found that 5 pm of a Saturday evening just didn’t have the same je ne sais quoi about it), this means that the minors have to be out of the traps early against the young Herrin Chokers: it’s a 12.10 pm throw-in for that one.
It’s as tough an opening match as we could have had. Galway are always difficult to beat and they have the added advantage of having already played one provincial championship match this year, as they beat Sligo in the first round. After last year’s heroics, it’d be a bit rough to see our lads fall at the first hurdle but, as last year’s champions Tyrone have already showed, success in 2008 at this level doesn’t necessarily count for much when it comes to 2009: they were beaten in the Ulster quarter-final by Armagh at the end of May.
And, of course, it’s a completely different team that Ray Dempsey will be fielding this Sunday, with only three of last year’s side – Alex Corduff, Aiden Walsh (he of the booming long-range frees last year) and Ciaran Charlton – still eligible for minor this time round. Any team with Aiden Walsh in it is has to have a chance but, as Ray says in that Mayo News piece, we won’t know until the match gets going on Sunday how the current crop of minors are shaping up.