Feast of football on Saturday

Graphic: @MayoGAA

This can often be an odd time of the year from a football perspective, with the Championship up and running but at the same time not enough action to get your teeth into.

That shouldn’t be a complaint for punters heading to MacHale Park on Saturday. It was announced yesterday that county teams will be in action in three different competitions at the venue that day.

First into the fray will be the U20s. Their Championship hasn’t got underway yet as instead they’re currently competing in a Development League tournament, the prize on offer for which is the Philly McGuinness Cup.

In the first round a few weeks back – the day after the Senior match over in New York – Mike Solan’s team made a winning start in this competition, beating Donegal by 4-9 to 2-9. Donegal then played Roscommon, in a curtain-raiser to the recent Roscommon/Leitrim Connacht SFC clash, and proceeded to wallop in eight goals against them, running out winners by 8-9 to 2-9 that day at Hyde Park.

It’s safe to assume that Roscommon will be looking to make amends after that thumping. With an eye to the Championship campaign that gets going early in July – where we’re on the soft side of the draw, paired with Sligo in the semi-final – our lads, though, will no doubt be keen to get a second win in the Development League under their belts. The U20 match throws in at 3pm on Saturday.

Next up, with a 4.30pm throw-in, is the Connacht Junior football semi-final meeting with Leitrim. Ger Flanagan has a good preview piece on the match in this week’s Mayo News (paper and digital versions), in which he gets the low-down on the Juniors from team manager Jarlath French.

Rather arcane rules apply in relation to eligibility at Junior level, depending on which county is involved. In Leitrim’s case, as a weaker county they’re allowed to pick anyone who didn’t play a part in the recent Senior Championship clash with Roscommon, whereas we’re far more restricted in that area. Players likely to feature for us on Sunday include Barry Duffy (Balla), Colm Moran (Parke), Barry Leonard (Lahardane), Brendan Carr (Ardagh – brother of James), Matthew Flanagan (Balla) and Jason Forkan (Kiltimagh).

The winners of this match go forward to face defending Connacht JFC champions Galway in the provincial final. That decider will be the curtain-raiser to the Senior final at Pearse Stadium on 16th June.

Then, of course, it’s onto the main event at 7pm. There’s little in the way of news about the big game today, as an extremely quiet build-up to it continues apace. James Horan was on RTÉ Radio this morning on the Morning Ireland sports bulletin – which is here (the relevant bit starts at 3:16) – but, as you’d expect, James was giving little away when he spoke with Brian Carthy for that segment.

The MacHale Park triple-header doesn’t represent the full total of inter-county action for us this weekend. Indeed, it’s not even the full story in terms of ourselves and the Rossies. The two counties are also butting heads at Minor level, as they face off in the Connacht MFC Round 2 match at James Stephens Park in Ballina on Friday evening (throw-in 7.30pm).

Our lads made a confident start to their provincial campaign last Friday evening, beating Leitrim with a fair bit of ease. Roscommon’s win the same evening was, however, far more noteworthy as they came from eight points down at the break to beat Galway by two points. They’ll head to Ballina with plenty of confidence and so this one represents a real test for Tomás Morley’s young guns.

18 thoughts on “Feast of football on Saturday

  1. I assume they’ll be a crowd of about 15000-18,000 on Saturday.

    Will be interesting to see who fills in in midfield if AOS or MR gets injured etc. (probably DOC but he’s not really a midfielder).

    Perhaps the key test for us in the summer is the old chestnut of converting our possession into sufficient scores (a perennial problem). What would we have said if Clifford scored that last minute chance in the league final? Truth be told it what has cost us against Dublin over the past few years also.

    We should win on Saturday but don’t expect a 5-star performance. The aim is to win and improve gradually throughout the campaign.

  2. I know that players are ineligible if they play senior championship football in 2018, but I don’t know if that is limited to Mayo senior championship or any senior championship. Liam Irwin for instant didn’t play senior championship in Mayo last year. Also Breaffys new import Conor Flynn. Belmullet players would also be eligible like Ryan o Donoghue and James Kelly, Jordan Flynn Crossmolina was as suspended for most of the year last year not sure if he played any part of the senior championship. Adam Gallagher is also eligible. Problem it appears is players making themselves available with work commitments, exams and injuries. Always a high turnover of panel members each year but best of luck to those involved

  3. Anyone know if tickets for the stand are gone already?Tried Centra, Supervalu and tickets.ie but had no joy. I’ll be there either way but ideally get a stand one if anyone knows where to get one. Maigh Eo Abú!

  4. Good luck to our mighty team on Saturday. Excited, nervous…the usual for following Mayo. Great video of Lee on Benetti (Menswear) facebook page – he always mentions the supporters. We need to be on top of our game in the stands. BRING IT ON!!

  5. No tickets at all online , for the life of me I can’t fathom why that would happen . There are four outlets for tickets , centra , super valu, clubs and online , why would any of the four outlets run out of tickets ?

  6. Fair enough the club’s get so many but other three , must be something beyond my understanding obviously .

  7. @Sean Burke …To the best of my knowledge… Super Valu and Centra being sponcer”s of the GAA are entitled to exclusive sale of a certain percentage of the the total available tickets for sale for the Match.. and can be got at those outlet’s.. I expect tickets will be available on the day of the Match at the Ground’s!

  8. @Sean Burke …To the best of my knowledge… Super Valu and Centra being sponcer”s of the GAA are entitled to exclusive sale of a certain percentage of the the total available tickets for sale for the Match.. and can be got at those outlet’s.. I expect tickets will be available on the day of the Match at the Ground’s

    Still seems nonsensical to me , why not leave the rest of them online instead of queing up on match day

  9. Won’t make it home this weekend so I’ll be leaning heavily on the podcast for my pre-game fix. Seems to be a really subdued build-up to the match so far. I’ve been scouring the media for news or interviews but precious little out there so far.

  10. Considering we were getting between 10-15,000 for home league games I see no reason why this game can’t attract 20,000…Roscommon usually travel well….

    Party time from NYC is now over and the real action starts…any lapses in concentration and we could be caught….I would be wiping the league win completely from memory. It’s a whole new ball game.

  11. Not sure I agree with that yew tree – turn it a different way, suppose we got relegated from D1 this season. Would we be wiping that from our memory?

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