Four-goal salvo see U21s advance

Michael Hall MOTM

Photo: @ConnachtGAA

The U21s started their Connacht championship campaign at MacHale Park this evening where, in a preliminary round tie, they got the better of Leitrim on a scoreline of 4-7 to 0-8. After a wasteful first half where they kicked ten wides and only went in two points ahead, the tie looked fairly well balanced but three further goals after the break sealed what was ultimately a comprehensive win for the home side.

I wasn’t anywhere near MacHale Park this evening – I was, in fact, at an altitude of 34,000 feet on a flight back into Dublin while the first half was being played – but I was able to follow the action from Castlebar thanks to the constant stream of Twitter updates. Those updates told a story of a frustrating first half for Niall Heffernan’s charges, the main bright spot being the goal scored by MOTM Michael Hall.

It was those three second half goals that secured the win tonight. The first of these, scored by Diarmuid O’Connor, was followed by a long break in play when Leitrim’s full-back Gary Butler collided with his own goalie and the unfortunate youngster was eventually stretchered from the field of play and taken to hospital, where hopefully the prognosis won’t be a serious one.

When the match eventually resumed – with fifteen minutes remaining on the clock at this stage – our lads continued to pull ahead and two further goals, the first from Matthew Ruane and the second from captain Adam Gallagher, sealed the win.

Next on the list for the U21s is a Connacht semi-final clash with Galway, also at MacHale Park, on Saturday week (21st March) where throw-in has been fixed for 5pm.

There’s a brief report on this evening’s match on the GAA website (here) and the Mayo Advertiser liveblog of all the action is here.

24 thoughts on “Four-goal salvo see U21s advance

  1. A good win on a cold night at HQ, looked good at times after getting to grips with the game after Leitrim cam blazing out of the blocks.Lot of work to be done before Galway but no reason it cant be.On a side note I thought after paying 10e at the gate the 3e programme was a bit expensive.

  2. Congrats to the Mayo U21 lads and well done on the win. Best wishes to the Leitrim player who got injured, hopefully he’ll be okay.

    Great to get the win at this grade again. It’s nice to have a home game against Galway too, next up. Again though, you’d be a bit worried about our starting forwards scoring rate. I make it 1-4 out of the 4-7 was scored by our defenders. Roll on the next game!

  3. I don’t mind paying €10 but why was there no ambulance at this game. Waiting 15 mins for an ambulance was disgraceful.

  4. I’m afraid I cannot be as optimistic as Greenanandred and Hope Springs on this performance. If we were playing either Galway ot Roscommon I’m afraid we would have been blown away by half time. Granted Leitrim had got to the Hastings Cup semis so were not a hopeless team by any means but still the sloppiness of the Mayo first half performance was hard to believe. We haven’t seen shooting like that for a long time. Hearing of the dropouts from the panel I cannot be optimistic. Management is primarily the business of getting the best from available resources. OK, football management also involves deciding tactics and making decisions on the line but primarily it is about getting the best from your players and keeping your best players involved. If the manager of a business lost a number of key personnel within a few months of starting up the directors should be getting worried, and if they weren’t the shareholders certainly would.
    One aspect which bothered me in particular was that we seemed to have no inside forward capable of winning ball resulting in our having to try to carry the ball into scoring positions. As in the Monaghan NFL game it was not a profitable approach.
    TJ Byrne might have been tried there before being taken off, I thought. And Michael Hall might be more useful to the team asa half forward than as a corner back.
    This may seem grudging after an 11 point win but it must be bourne in mind that until the injury to the Leitrim full back – and good luck to him in his recovery, hopefully it wont be too long – the game was very much in the balance.

  5. Comfortable enough win in the end by the sounds of things.

    I hope the Leitrim guy is ok. It must have been a fairly serious collision when the game was stopped for so long and it probably had a serious detrimental effect on the entire Leitrim team.

    I don’t think it is feasible to have an ambulance at every GAA game in the country so I forgive the HSE for that. I just hope is ok as it sounds pretty serious.

  6. Andy D, I too was at the game and after with your sentiments.

    A diplomatic and generous synopsis would be to describe our performance tonight as ‘rusty’. I don’t want to be too harsh as it’s first round, but let’s put it this way, we can’t get much worse!

    Any more reason as to why Liam Irwin isnt involved?? Also who else dropped out.

    Jury out on this management. After the shambles of last year(I was unfortunately at that too) I’m waiting or them to get this team moving.

  7. Also, we don’t seem to have a free taker from the right. In the 2nd half, Gallagher took one which would have been considered relatively straight forward (even though he is right footed) and missed.

  8. Comfortable home win with plenty of room for improvement a ideal way to go into a semi final. Must remember Galway needed extra time to beat Leitrim back in January and leitrim also bet Laois who gave the dubs a good contest last week.

  9. This is our first win at this level in 3 years, so I am very grateful for any thing at this point. I don’t expect it to go much further but I would love to be proved wrong. A win is a win anyday so lets enjoy it. It is also our 3rd win since 2009 at the U21 level, so well done to all. For me the turning point came with the Black Card to the Leitrim midfielder. They did not look as dangerous after his exit. Leitrim had some good players in general but their shooting on the night deserted them. It is a tough one having such a bad run of luck in a quarter final and no back door. They probaly deserved a bit more out of it but that’s Lady Luck.

  10. Well done to the u-21 lads. Was at the game myself but to be honest I don’t see a Connacht title in that team. A huge improvement will be needed to beat Galway.

    Ont he issue of songs I like the one Liverpool fans have been singing the past year or so here is my stab at a Mayo version:

    “We are Mayo tra la la la….green and red forever…..tra la la la la la…….we are Mayo tra la la la, we’re the best football team in the land….yes we are!!!!

    For those of you who don’t know how it goes check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rA1VIp4p6Ek

  11. On more than one occasion we had 14 men behind our own 45, most of the time we had 12/13. Those players are better than that

  12. Great to hear that Leitrim player is meant to be okay.
    Some of the lads who were subbed off bit tough on them as they experienced a totally different match to the lads who came on.
    TJ Byrne showed his gather and give skills for the first goal for Michael Hall. Suprised Byrne was taken off. He was well capable of doing similar at a later point in the game. That is what Byrne is good at, an unselfish and intelligent player.
    The inside lads didnt have much accurate ball kicked to them, half forwards, midfielders and defenders kicked I believe all of the 10 wides in the first half.
    A good win but we dont seem to have lads who can shoot accurately from distance to be using it as a tactic.

  13. AndyD I agree with Ya, I think tactically were were miles away! Playing a sweeper for the full game even when we’re on top? I hate to say it, Joe Brolly is right, the cancer is spreading, u21 teams playing blanket football is and should be the last straw!! At times it was woeful viewing, as mayo were panicked to shooting from distance and missing, 10 wides in the first half Says it all. Casting the negative aside, the big plusses for me were, Michael hall showing he’s a real talent, 1-01 from corner back, and the goal was immensely important as it gave us the cushion of a lead. Stephen Coen, Diarmuid o Connor and Cian Burke were unselfish in their work all evening. Adam Gallagher showed some good energy and passing but shot selection let him down. Matthew ruane and Connor loftus done well off the bench. But I think Liam Irwin was badly missed, and without a target man in full forward I think we’re lost

  14. Efficient performance considering Leitrim deployed negative tactics throughout the whole first half with the majority of their men behing the ball. Defensively very strong with the likes of Kenny, Hall, Durkin and Coen all performing very well, the latter three men will be pushing hard for a senior place come june. O’ Connor worked hard both in attack and defense and the intelligence he shows on the ball is great to witness. Gallagher was a constant threat attacking but his shooting was abysmal. Loftus showed well when he came on as did Ruane. Dissapointed not to see Morgan Lyons get more game time

  15. It was a good win in the end, we can thank the fact that the Leitrim player was black carded, as with him went Leitrim’s challenge. They were putting it up to us, until then, when the wind was taken out of their sails. He was a big player,( physically as well ) for them.
    It was a bit like the Tyrone game a couple of weeks ago, Leitrim were playing defensive, Mayo were playing over and back in mid-field, slow build up, with no inside forwards able to win possession and hold it, for a lay off and score. As in the Tyrone game, our shot selection was terrible, with 10 wides, up until half time.
    We need to practice and practice our shooting, for points from the 40 yard line and inside.
    It is the best way to beat the blanket, kick points from out the field and if we get ahead then the other team , if they want to compete, have to, open up.
    A win is a win, but major improvements will be needed if we are to advance any further.
    Great the Leitrim player is going to be ok, it is not good enough that it took 20 minutes for an ambulance to come from Mayo General Hospital, down to Mc Hale road. A crew could have walked down, with a stretcher, in that time.
    It begs the question, if another player gets a serious injury, any where in the county, how long will he/she have to wait for an ambulance. Should an ambulance have been on stand by.

  16. Yes regardless of who’s responsibility it is (Mayo GAA or Connacht Council- no doubt they’ll fudge their response if they even give one), there could be a legal obligation to a player.

    If Croke park banned pitch invasions due to it being a legal concern (they package it as crowd safety, but the real reason is so that they aren’t sued if anyone gets injured) then surely there’s a duty of care on the authorities to provide reasonable care etc to an injured player. 18 mins lying on a wet cold pitch with an injury is far below the requisite level of medical care, you’d imagine.

    Back to the team… Anyone know the situation with Irwin???

  17. Where is the line drawn RE ambulance availability? In fairness, the HSE weren’t going to park up at an U21 game. I’d be surprised if that was happening anywhere in the country. I would hazard a guess that an ambulance on standby at a championship game is there because of the 25k plus in attendance, rather than the players

  18. The rules about medical assistance required at games are laid down for each type of GAA tournament. I would imagine the appropriate measures were in place. Medics, stretchers, blankets were all in place quickly.
    Remember that an ambulance is a valuable asset to all of the surrounding community. Given the volume of GAA games its not feasible to have an ambulance as a requirement at all levels of the game. If there was thats a two hour window where ambulances would be booked out all over the country on a more regular basis. Given that people often complain about ambulance waiting times you have to ackonwledge the position the GAA and HSE are in.

  19. In relation to Irwin, according to my information he left the panel of his own wishes after the Hastings Cup. I believe he’s also picked up a injury since then.

  20. The wait time from injury to player transferred to ambulance was 20-25 mins which had a ambulance being in the ground would not have been much less I would think by the time he was assessed, he was treated well by Mayo doctor along with medical staff from Both counties.A player can get knocked out in any game in the county from u-6,s up to senior, a ambulance cant be in attendance at all these, as mentioned above ambulances at big games are there for the crowd more than players but these things happen unfortunately.

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