Gearing up for Saturday’s U21 decider

All-Ireland U21 final

Image: @MayoGAA

Time is moving on and we’re inching ever closer to Saturday’s All-Ireland U21 football final, in which Mike Solan’s young guns take on Cork at Cusack Park, Ennis, where throw-in is scheduled for 6pm. While the match is being shown live on TG4 a huge Mayo following is expected to descend on the Clare county town on Saturday as we go in search of a fifth championship title at this level.

Ticketing information was released yesterday – full details here.  Basically it’s €20 in, free for U16s, and tickets can either be bought in advance online or at selected SuperValu and Centra stores or else at the ground on the day.

There’s no word yet, obviously, about the team for Saturday’s final and I’d reckon there’s a good chance we’ll stick with established practice in this campaign and say nothing at all on that issue ahead of the day itself. This week’s local papers have, though, plenty on the match and I’ve spent a while this morning digitally leafing through the 12-page final special in the Mayo News. This is definitely worth getting your hand on if you haven’t done so already.

The one piece of intelligence on the team that I extracted from that bit of perusing was confirmation from Mike Solan that full-back Seamus Cunniffe, who had to come off injured in the semi-final with hamstring trouble, is on the mend and could be okay to start on Saturday. His is the only injury concern we have heading into the decider and Mike Solan said he was hopeful to have “a full deck to pick from” when they sit down to select the starting fifteen for Ennis.

46 thoughts on “Gearing up for Saturday’s U21 decider

  1. Looking forward to this game, gonna be a belter! Hoping the Mayo hardcore support show up in droves!! For anyone looking to wet their appetite for Saturday, Adrian Langon in this week’s western people has a fantastic piece, definitely worth a read!

  2. Was that a Mayo supporter I saw in Sheffield in the front row during the Ding v Trump match on Sunday evening? Does the season ticket cover the snooker also?

  3. Baconfactoryend. Yes there was a Mayo fella there in the front row at the crucible alright.

    I think Ken Doherty was in the commentary box at the time with “The Nugget”. I dont think either of them said ought about the lovely green and red jersey in the front row. Doherty would have recognised it but “The Nugget” probably hadn’t a clue whose jersey it was.

    Did anybody else see it? Anyway fair play to him whoever he was.

    Not sure if the season ticket will get ya in to the crucible. I rang them in Sheffield and they said only if Mayo are in the final.

  4. It’s generally agreed that this team thrives on a challenge.It has been its history sincie minor times and id like to know if it was present at U-16? It is a recognised trait in individuals and therefore by extension it can also apply to teams. This being so finds us in a fortunate position as we face Cork in Cusack park on Saturday because the team in red is surely going to provide a v stiff examination of our teams undoubted qualities.Mayo don’t have to wait to see what these fellas are like . They ll be well aware of the scoring potential that’s in the side.And indeed they ve been much more impressive than us in that regard so far!
    It ll be up to us to appear with our
    best game for the circumstances and if we do we may come away with a very special victory.
    Best of luck to players and management and may our multitudes and hoards and busloads have a wonderful day out.

  5. Stepheite no games in div. a b or c on request of Stephen rochford. However a certain club with three panellists on u 21 team has a div. 1d match on Sunday! That’s the reward to smaller clubs for developing county players.

  6. Yep, D, E and F all going ahead Sunday at 12. Div 1C game between Castlebar and Ballyhaunis also on Sunday at 12.

  7. It’s a great opportunity for these young fellas to lay down a marker and continue as they mean to go on – winning all-Irelands.

    I see the bookies have Cork as 8/11 favourites.

  8. Cork are deserving favourites for this final. In all of their games to date they have controlled right from the start. They have a great balance of power and pace…plus the other x-factor…..powerful forwards with the ability to score from all angles and distances. We have rode our luck considerably in our last two games. We will need to depend on a lot more than guts and fortune on Saturday – lets hope training has focused on getting the entire forward line functioning properly, as well as a plan to deal with the towering men in the Cork forward line – if they can get that right then we’re in with a chance. Heads will need to be right to give it everything in the tank for 60+ minutes. I don’t know Mike Solan but he strikes me as the kind of guy who will have his team fully focused for the mammoth challenge ahead and will not be doing a Castlebar Mitchels on it !

  9. Just aside and got me thinking how fast public opinion can change. after Kerry loosing to Dublin in the League final you now have some people suggesting Cork could beat them in Munster….some turnaround from saying Kerry were a shoe in….

    One result can change a summer….least we remember our 2011 quarter final win over Cork when Brolly declared Cork would wipe the floor with Mayo and Tony Davis laughing?

    All this talk of a Kerry Dublin semi in August with Mayo coming out the other end to meet the winner is a bit premature….not saying it is being suggesting on this forum but I have noticed it elsewhere and being talked in pubs…careful now as they say.

  10. Cork are very at the transition into attack. They have good target men to aim at. Their foot passing is accurate and timely. This skill makes their front men look good. They could dominate at midfield at least for some of the half. Monaghan played defensive against them. Monaghan defence was good, but how good are their defenders. We need to pace ourselves better. We need a more effective way of transition to the attack. We need to keep it lit at midfield.

  11. Of course it’s being suggested here Yew Tree and of course people get their predictions wrong much of the time and when was it otherwise? It’s a fact that our species is not as good as it thinks at the business of separating the wish for what we really want from our right to have it.Also, the margin between being truly objective and very subjective can be immense to abs minuscule. The statement that simplicity is what we ought to seek out in the knowledge that nothing is more difficult or demanding to achieve, puts a very healthy aura around the affaires of life in general.And so too does one need to be mindful of same when it come to football. We have to avoid hubris at all costs and if we do we ll be happy campers.I hope you agree?

  12. I expect Cork to bombard our fb line as they would have a height advantage. We need to be ready for that and even consider dropping Coen back as neccessary. Our senior players (Hall, Coen Loftus in particular) will need to lead from the front. Utilize Akrams ability to carry the ball at pace and hit early ball inside. I think our ff line could have joy with the right delivery. Our kickouts went to pot in 2nd half v Dubs.. we cannot afford such a period against this Cork team. Like the last day we will need impact players off the bench and it’s great that we have those options. I think we will shade it. Up Mayo!

  13. Seen that Mayo mick.. So if we win it will be because the gods finally took pity on us in a final! Very lazy journalism, I know that our record in finals will always be there to be pointed out but this whole article is dedicated to it and offers no actual preview to the match itself

  14. Mayo.mick, was going to read that article but closed it as soon as I seen that it was written by Martin Breheny, didnt need to read anymore to know the lazy rubbish that would follow. I dont read anything he or Mr McGee has to say as its usually just mayo beating tripe, journalism of the lowest order.

  15. I know I should know better than to take any heed or bother even looking at any articles certain *so called journos* scribble, but it really grinds my gears, even more so that their’re paid for scribbling that sh1te.

  16. That article by Breheny is the equivalent of being patted on the head and told to “run along now like a good little chap”. Patronising nonsense.

    Let’s hope Solan and boys get together before the match for a good pray. May God bestow a kindly smile upon us.

  17. Breheny may be patronising and so on, but facts are facts and our stats in finals across all grades are, quite simply, appalling.

    And, what’s more, it’s not just losing finals, but playing like novices in many of them. We really have to get a grip on this. The Mitchels’ fiasco still rankles I have to say, and I really hope the U21 management is giving this problem, and it is a problem, some deep thought.

  18. This is old news and has been re-hashed many many times before. Everyone knows that Mayo have a desperate record in finals. This article is about luck, prayers and god. Where is the commentary about the players, tactics and previous matches played in this years championship? Sports commentators would really need to cop on and report on sports. These sentimental emotional comments would even be laughed out the door of our division 3 under 14 dressing room. Was this guy really involved in the GAA.

  19. We will have to listen to and read such articles until we get our act together in finals. Breheny just re-hashes the same template every now and then.

    This team though have not wilted in finals…just hoping they can hit the sweet spot this Sat evening.

  20. Catcol, yes we have lost alot of finals down the years, some by heavy margins but this has nothing to do with this current U21 team or the management. All they know is winning. It is poor journalism to dredge up all that crap. I actually went back and read his article and am even more disgusted for doing so, he went and counted the final losses which has zero relevance on this team. Then to go on about luck, god, prayers and that rubbish is just so patronising. Im sure these guys wont be kneeling down asking for divine intervention at 5:30 saturday. They will trust in each others abilities and the tactics the manager employs to get the job done.

  21. Very lazy journalism. An uninformative article with nothing meaningful said about the upcoming match or either of the teams playing, and a lot of patronizing bs thrown in for good measure. To think he gets paid for that rubbish.

  22. Just heard on RTE Radio 1 that Cormac Reilly has been omitted from the GAA list of referees for the coming year. Wish they did that in 2014.

  23. Mayomad – the same points could have been made about Castlebar and our finals of ’11 and ’12, and numerous others.

    Why have we got to so many finals – and why have we lost so many. We don’t have a divine right to win and you only win if you are good enough, but when friends continually ask: “what’s wrong with ye”, I no longer have an answer.

  24. Yes Grainne the list is on the GAA website. He has been downgraded to the Linesman only panel, haha!

  25. So the Gaa finally admit little Cormac made a hames of Limerick 14. Just waited for the dust to settle. Good riddance.

  26. Catcol, I just dont buy into this whole Mayo has a problem with finals nonsense that gets thrown around by journalists to fill a few lines.

    The Mayo teams in the 2000s and Castlebar did not preform in AI final granted, but in ’11 &’12 Mayo played well in both games but were just beaten by a better team plain and simple, nothing to do with curses, final day jitters, loss of bottle etc just were not good enough.

    The point I was making earlier is that all the final losses in the past has absolutely nothing to do with this current U21 team, none of the players played on those days. they won the Minor AI, Have won Connacht, beat Dublin and deserve to be judged on their own merits and not compared to some peoples perceived biased perception of Mayo Football.

  27. Mind you Digits, he can do damage as a linesman too. Wasn’t it he who organised the sending off of Lee Keegan in the drawn game the previous week? Or maybe I’m mixing him up with someone else

  28. Grainne Uaile, you are indeed correct. It was Riley that was linesman advising the ref on Keegan in the drawn game.

  29. Agree that we ll need extra cover at the back on sat along with what’s there to be clued into their job 100%.The two big fellas are slowish and awkward to manage but have a couple of fliers to feed off them and also do their own thing.But we do too have a few smarties here and there and we wouldn’t be in the AI of we didn’t !
    The fact that they are a very contrasting pair of teams adds an extra element to the game which could turn out one of the best we ll see this year.
    To the victor and the runner up…well done both!

  30. Ah sur we might as well blame Cormac Reilly for letting Kieran Donaghy win the ball uncontested in front of our goals and we’ll blame him as well for leaving James O’Donoghue unmarked to slot the ball into the net after we were five points up in the sixty seventh minute of that All-Ireland semi-final yet we still ended up drawing it…..

    We may as well blame Cormac Reilly for leaving Michael Murphy in acres of room in front of our goals in the 2012 final when he scored Donegal’s opening goal and while we are at it sur it was his fault too that Bernard Brogan got between our goalie and full-back to score a goal when we were well on top in the 2013 final.

    We have to stop blaming others for our own failures. We have our destiny in our own hands. The time for excuses is over. You know what, Cormac Reilly could have easily given a penalty against us in the quarter-final game that year against Cork late in the game when Ger Caff clipped Colm O’Neil’s heels and we would have been knocked out in that game, again a game that we were well ahead in but almost lost it at the death. I am no fan of GAA refs but at the end of the day it’s up to us to push ourselves over that line and not depend on anyone else.

    For us all that matters this weekend is our U21 team, they have their destiny in their own hands. They were champions in 2013 and now have the chance to be champions again in 2016. All that we can ask for is that they play to their full potential and have no regrets when the final whistle is blown. Best of luck to all involved!

  31. Excellent HopeSprings, very well said. And let us not forget, O’Donoghue hit the upright in the drawn semi-final with one of the last kicks of the match, narrowly missing a point that would have knocked us out.

    Glad to say I’m heading up to Ennis on Saturday and will be cheering the lads on with all my might. Our destiny is in our own hands and always will be.

  32. hopespringseternal, lets not forget enright staying on the pitch for fouling and mayo getting a penalty whilst already on a yellow. enright was already on a yellow and should have walked, mayo would have had an additional player for the remainder of the game. cormac reilly good ridance, and 3 men pulling aidan all day and no free, we got shafted that day. the mayo bull should have sorted him out

  33. mayomanindublin, I know nothing seemed to go right for us that day but the point I was trying to make was that there never should have been a need for a replay. We were five points up with only a few minutes left in the drawn game and we should have closed out that game. Unfortunately that has been the story for us, not scoring enough when we are on top, giving up winning leads and conceding sloppy goals. That is what we need to fix.

    When we played Dublin in the league in 2014, Cormac Reilly send off Stepehen Cluxton, so we had the benefit of playing against 14 men in that match. We were six points up and yet we still managed to concede two late goals and Dublin even had a chance to win that game with the last kick of the game. We ended up drawing that match against 14 players. Then against Derry in the league semi-final we had the benefit of playing against 14 men again, after they had a player sent off and we still lost after been six points up at one stage.

    When Lee Keegan got sent off against Kerry in that drawn All-Ireland semi-final we probably produced our most inspiring 30 minutes of football under James Horan to come from 5 down to go 5 up, playing with 14 men. In a strange way Kerry having an extra man actually played into our hands in that game. Kerry were well on top at midfield in that game in the first half, David Moran had kicked two points from play. In the second half Kerry started to go short with their kick outs as they had an extra man which lead to our forwards absolutely gobbling up the Kerry defenders forcing a number of turnovers which lead to scores for us.

    So you just never know in games, if Shane Enright had been sent off in Limerick, which I agree that he should have gone, that might have inspired Kerry to play better and we might have played worse than we did, who knows!

    Look at our U21 team against Dublin, a number of decisions were going against us in that game but the players used that to inspire them to get the win, players overcame adversity. This is what Diarmuid O’Connor did after the ref gave a wrong decision against him, he didn’t give up but made sure that the next decision went for him and that’s what you love to see. Roll on the U21 game!

  34. HSE, I would have to agree with everything you are saying. We cant blame refs, the GAA, the venue or anything else, any losses we have suffered is down to us and us alone. Refs are an easy target, they have a tough job in a very fast sport, I dont know why anyone would want to ref. Its easy to be biased and see the bad decisions but we do get alot of decisions in our favour.

  35. On that point we are in the unenviable position of having been in so many finals in modern times to such little avail We are a football county of a fair size so it’s no surprise that disappointment should run deep.One might think that mere disappointment should by now have turned into abandonment of interest as has happened in many other counties.This has not happened because we retain such great respect for and pride in the jersey and those who wear it.We will go on with hope for ever supporting our heroes. We will criticise when its warranted and praise when it’s appropriate.And , we ll for ever be conscious of the fact that this identification with our county is greater than CBs , players, supporters,refs and media.
    We ll all be in Ennis on Saturday and whatever happens on this occasion let us come away with our heads high in the knowledge that we are indeed a very special group of people.

  36. Great posts HSE, the fact of the matter is we had absolutely no cohesive plan to deal with the threat of Donaghy and getting roasted in midfield the second day out was what truly cost us. Reilly is only human, he did not set out to cost us that match. Can’t beat the recency effect, he gave us plenty of dubious calls vs Cork that year also.

    The GAA are pathetic to relegate him completely, we need to encourage not discourage wannabe officials

    And as for Martin Breheny, if we’re going to get precious over such articles we need to avoid newspapers for a long time! Our record in finals is abysmal, sadly, and it is going to fill newspaper inches during silly season and slow news days whether we like it or not

  37. “but in ’11 &’12 Mayo played well in both games but were just beaten by a better team plain and simple”

    If you mean 2012 and 2013 I would agree with 2012 (though the cynics might point out it’s easier perform when the game is pretty much out of sight after ten minutes), but we were appalling in 2013 sadly pretty much handing a nervous Dublin the AI after a good start where we could and should have been out of sight at half time.

    I’ve had the misfortune of rewatching that match and it’s the worst I’ve seen Mayo play since after 2010 and in a season where we were arguably playing our best football of all time

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