Ends and beginnings for the U21s


Photo: @MayoGAA

Last night at Breaffy was a proud one for the county’s all-conquering U21 team of 2016. At a celebration event in the hotel, they were presented with their All-Ireland medals and very nice the medals looked too:

Manager Mike Solan paid tribute to his charges last night, saying that there was “massive talent” in the group and that their All-Ireland success was “no accident”. He urged them to continue to do their best.

With the likes of two-time Young Footballer of the Year Diarmuid O’Connor, along with Stephen Coen, Conor Loftus, Michael Hall and Brian Reape already on the senior squad, with others from the U21 class of 2016 such as Michael Plunkett, Sharoize Akram, Fergal Boland and Liam Irwin heading in the same direction, there’s every hope that this group could be central to our continued push for greatness in the years ahead.

Well done to Mike Solan and his players for giving us such a great year to remember, capped off by that an unforgettable day down in Ennis at the end of April.

But, just as the curtain falls on 2016 for the U21s, it’s soon to be hauled right up for the 2017 contingent. The pre-season U21 North-West Cup is now in its second season (maybe they’ll play it to the finish this year) and once again it’ll be played off in January. This year sees Derry replace Fermanagh in the four-cornered tournament, with Donegal and Sligo, along with ourselves, still in it.

Our matches in this competition are as follows:

  • Round 1 (7/1/2017): Mayo v Derry (venue and time TBC)
  • Round 2 (14/1/2017): Sligo v Mayo (Sligo Centre of Excellence, time TBC)
  • Round 3 (21/1/2017): Mayo v Donegal (venue and time TBC)

It sure will be good to have the football to talk about again, won’t it?

10 thoughts on “Ends and beginnings for the U21s

  1. With all that’s been happening over the past few days this couldn’t have been more timely. The Indo have been scraping the bottom of the barrel this week; meanwhile we have been quietly preparing for a new season and with some of these lads starting to make the transition, the future looks pretty promising.

    When I look back on 2016, I hope as time goes on the memory of 1st October and this last week will fade, but that the memories of the days on the road supporting this young team only get brighter.

    The day we beat Roscommon in Markievicz Park (that one will make me smile for many a year). The defiance against the bright young Dublin lights above in Tullamore. And that glorious, glorious day below in Ennis in those tiny seats when with two minutes to go we were on our feet roaring our five-goal wonders to glory.

    Pat and Noel certainly did one thing last week – they re-ignited the fire in the belly. Roll on 2017!

  2. H&C made fools of themselves and every body associated with Mayo. But in spite of it all we can truly say we had a great year. A big thanks to Mike Solan and his band of brothers for all the great memories of 2016.

  3. Mayo Gaa has a proud past, a brilliant present and a great future.

    Look at the sort of talent we have coming through, it’s brilliant! Names that will complement a great great team.

    Last week was just a blip let’s move on and get the ultimate! Then let’s get it time and time again.

  4. Anne-Marie your memory of that evening in Ennis brought tears to my eyes… that’s what we, the Mayo supporters are all about… roaring our teams on. Roll on 2017.

  5. Maybe someone can put me right here, but I seem to remember John Maughan being lined up for the U-21 job.

    I think there was a couple of comments about the county board being a bit backward and John withdrew from the running with Solan getting the job instead.

    I’m not taking away from Maughans’ part in the development of Mayo football, everyone has to do their bit if we’re to reach our goal.

  6. KeepMovingForward that is correct he was being lined up for the job but my understanding is there was a major u turn in the issue once H&C got the boot.

  7. Anne Marie,
    You hit the note dead on. Here’s to 2017 and looking forward to supporting the young men of Mayo in their search for glory.
    Meantime Brehony keeps rolling out bit players of the past in support of his effort to do down Mayo football. Eugene McHale today being the latest.
    One thing that can be said of the present Mayo team, and Tyrone”s Mickey Harte said it today too, they have given their all to achieve ultimate success. Whether they do achieve it is pretty much beside the point. Nobody can do more than give their all. Which is a hell of a lot more than Eugene and his generation gave. Hot one day, cold for several days after. Having gone through the archives it seems that Eugene made nine championship appearances for Mayo, two as a sub, of 15 games played 1981 to ’85 incl. scoring 2 = 6 in the process. Not exactly “star” billing as the Indo today would have it Not since Sean Fanagan’s era of ’48 – 51 can it be said of Mayo teams that they gave their all. I gather that the Indo are going to have another rehash of the story from Tomás Ó Sé later today, Sat. Nothing like flogging a dead horse until the stink gets you.

  8. These U21’s gave me my best day following Mayo that day in Ennis was really special for our county

  9. Do people feel that the North West cup has value particularly in January with the Sigerson just around the corner and the FBD league etc. It’s make a bit of a nonsense if player welfare claims by GAA. Perhaps a better structured U 21 Championship might be more appropriate run on a league initially and knock out basis . Perhaps it could be a pilot for changing senior championship format. ..just a thought…

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