It’s all gone kinda quiet and dark the last while and I’ve had other stuff (mainly work) to keep me amused but there have been a few developments that are worth noting so note them I will.
The first is the announcement that naming rights for McHale Park have been auctioned off for an undisclosed sum to Elverys in a five-year deal which will see the ground being officially named as, you guessed it, Elverys McHale Park.
While many may chafe at this development, I don’t think that it’s necessarily a bad thing not least in light of the extremely precarious financial position facing the county which is due in no small part to the cost of the recent development work undertaken at Elverys McHale Park.
Outgoing County Secretary Sean Feeney made the valid point regarding the naming rights when he said (in the article linked above) that money simply had to be found to help pay off the loans the county is now saddled with and that “clubs are always the first port of call when fundraising but there’s a limit on what you can ask them because they all have their own debts”. So, Elverys McHale Park it is, then.
In other news, the nominations for this year’s Club Stars awards were announced yesterday – full details are available here. As you’d expect, two-times county champions Ballintubber hog the list with eleven nominations, while beaten finalists Castlebar Mitchels have eight. A total of nine clubs are represented in the nominations and the Mayo News/O’Neills Club Stars Team of the Year will be unveiled at a banquet in the Knockranny House Hotel, Westport, on Saturday 10th December. Tickets for this bash cost €60 and may be booked by calling (098) 25311. All proceeds from the event will go to Western Care services in Mayo.
Despite the winter training ban, there is, of course, ongoing on-field activity in the form of the club championships and this coming Sunday Ballintubber face Galway champions Corofin in the Connacht semi-final at Elverys McHale Park, where throw-in is set for 2.30pm. This week’s Mayo News has an interview with Tubber’s manager Tony McGarry who reckons that it’s time for Mayo clubs to start punching their weight once again at provincial level. The same paper also has an interview with Ballintubber midfielder Jason Gibbons.
Sunday’s Senior club semi-final at McHale Park will be preceded by the Connacht Junior club final between Islandeady and Galway’s Clonbur, where throw-in will be at 1pm. The Connacht Intermediate club final is also on this coming weekend, with Davitts (who beat Melvin Gaels last weekend) up against Padraig Pearse’s of Roscommon next Saturday (6th) at Kiltoom (throw-in 2pm).
Finally, Conor Mortimer has been speaking about his move from Shrule-Glencorrib to Parnell’s here in Dublin while Ballaghaderreen’s Pearse Hanley has been musing about the possibility of one day returning to this part of the world to line out once again in the county colours.