Injuries prompt rethink on panel cull

Post-match huddle

As you know, the senior panel was supposed to be “trimmed” down to 32 players following the squad’s return from Portugal last week. However, as Mike Finnerty reports in the Mayo News today (paper and digital versions), those plans have now been put on hold due to injuries within the squad.

As the paper reports, Evan Regan’s unfortunate collarbone break is one of these but Michael Conroy is also out of action with an Achilles problem which has been troubling him for some time. Chris Barrett and Cillian O’Connor remain sidelined too but Mike reports that both of them are due back in action inside the next few weeks. The news isn’t as good, though, in relation to Jason Gibbons and Darren McHugh, who, according to County board PRO Aiden McLoughlin, aren’t currently part of the panel because of the injuries they’re carrying.

It’s no surprise, then, to learn that Conor Loftus – who took part in the recent training camp in Portugal – has now been given his formal call-up papers and is set to be a member of the senior squad for the championship. Best of luck to him.

In that Mayo News piece, Aiden McLoughlin stressed that the composition of the panel remains open-ended and that eye-catching form at club level could well open the door to a place in the senior squad for the summer. Darren Coen’s impressive 1-12 for Hollymount/Carramore (1-6 from play) in their senior League win over Knockmore last weekend will, one assumes, have been duly noted in this regard.

A report on that game as well as all the other SFL matches played last weekend is, by the way, contained in this week’s Mayo News where you’ll also find an update on the senior academy, a feature on Tommy O’Malley and loads more besides. And that’s only the sports supplement!

79 thoughts on “Injuries prompt rethink on panel cull

  1. Forwards doing the business for their clubs seem to lack confidence once they enter the County setup eg …Coen/Freeman. I believe there is a serious lack of focus on forward play by management. Forget about defenders not scoring, that’s a forwards main job, bonus when the defence chips in but a defenders job is to defend and a forwards hob to score! END OF. We seems to have blurred the roles of late in Mayo.
    Can someone also enlighten me re panel membership and what’s required – nothing personal against the guy but C O’Shea (correct me if I’m wrong) was on the match day panel when JH made is managerial c’ship but debut v London. What has he done to be still involved? , its not as if hes doing it for club either. When squad numbers are down to 32 surely carrying players is a no no. Also same re having 3 goalkeepers in squad, not practical when numbers so limited.

  2. The problem is the difference between club and county, if a club player scores 2.10 in every game, he still won’t make it at county level unless he has the necessary S&C done to cope with the physicality of county football. Hence there are no surprise editions come championship unless these guys have already been on a S&C program. Prob why C O’S been persevered with.

  3. Conor OShea has suffered alot of injuries and hasn’t had a clear stretch of games and training uninterrupted.
    To be involved in the panel is quite simple:
    – Perform well at club level having to perform constantly as a marked out player for attention
    – Strict diet of vegetables, fruit, protein shakes and wholegrain carbs
    – Strength and conditioning routine, stretching, foam rolling, running technique work,
    – Football sessions three/four times a week
    – Skills work on your own time
    – No social life
    – Suffer injuries and recover from them
    – Finally go out and perform at senior intercounty level against some of the top players in the game following similar regimes.
    Then at the end of all that you still might not be a panellist.

  4. My point was all the S&C in the world won’t put the ball over the bar. We seem to have jumped on the S &C bandwagon and forgot the basics, you see it at club level too. You don’t need any S&C to put over a 14 yard free. I made the point before our free % returns are too low. We can control this 100%. Re CO’S he seems to be a panel member even when injured. We are forever hearing of squad costs. I hope he delivers and becomes as important as his brothers but I haven’t seen it yet. Maybe someone else deserves the spot.

  5. S&C is def part of it nowdays and I spoke with one player who had been part of an intercounty panel after being called up on good club form and told me the step up in pace at training along was a world away from club football. That said and as already mentioned S&C should not make a difference is kicking a 14 yard free wide.

  6. The whole point of the academy Horan started was that it would act a bridge between club and county. The majority of the current panel are 4-5 years into a serious S&C cycle and the difference is huge. It is unfair and potentially dangerous to ask a young lad of 19 or 20 to step into the mix with Colm Boyle, AoS etc having no strength work done.
    Our club did S&C testing after Xmas and the difference between our county player and the strong club players had to be seen to be believed. Surely if ever there was a role custom made for James Horan it would be as director of a Mayo academy. You could be 100% assured that every detail of a players development would be tended to. It would also provide that vital link between promising young club/county player into senior player.

  7. Liam, I haven’t seen the Mayo news yet but there is an article on the academy, have you seen it ?

  8. Team Sheet, Conor O’Shea most certainly wasn’t on the panel back in 2011, he would have been 16 or 17!

    I think he was only brought into the panel last year and played against NY and Roscommon. I actually thought he played very well against the Rossies that day, especially given it was his proper debut (no offence to NY) and given that it was a tough game. But JH didn’t give him another look in for the rest of the year, instead persisting with players he was more familiar with (rightly or wrongly, wrongly imo). I believe he has struggled with injuries but is back playing good football and I wasn’t at the game but played a big part in Breaffy beating Cbar at the weekend.

    He’s a type of player I like, he’s strong and good on the ball.

    I do agree that there is some confusion regarding the panel and who is on it and who is off, etc and one question I will ask, which may not be popular, is why is the county board releasing almost weekly statements on matters like this?? Why do they feel the need to air every concern and update they have?! Should they not be quiet and let everyone get on with training and prepping for the championship. Maybe I am wrong but I doubt the Kerry or Dublin boards are releasing almost weekly updates about they injury position, etc.

    I feel the board are just being busy bodies, full of their own importance

  9. James Horan has stepped into a development role with Ballintubber. I agree that he would have been a great man as a coordinator of the Academy.
    We are putting 10k a week into the senior team. In the medium term (not even the long term) it would be better to trim the panel to have 9k a week costs for the senior team and 1k a week to bring along an Academy group.
    Lads leave minor at 18. Let them all enter the Academy on a voluntary basis. The ones who will stick with the Academy for three years are clearly the ones cut out for Senior level football. I don’t like dismissing lads at 18 but I do like the idea of seeing how a group of players fare out after three years if the coaching and support is there for them. We have practice spaces both outdoors and indoors available all around Mayo and in the Universities mostly sitting idle.

  10. County board have been a bit ott with the statements I agree but I believe after “packagegate” they have tried to listen to support base a bit and made an effort to be transparent in all dealings with the county team . I feel sorry for them a bit as it just seems like they’re trying hard to please . The management interview that went out in YouTube was the start and it looked a bit amateur to say the least but it was just an effort for the fans and the official Twitter account also follows most of the regular posters in here . Maybe we should stop being such narks gits .

  11. Sean,
    I didn’t get a chance to read it yet, I intend to this evening. However, I know that someone raised the matter of the academy at a recent county board meeting and the answers from the top table were a little vague to say the least. There is a player from my own club who was on last years minor panel, he’s a genuine talent and was involved with the academy previously. According to him it has now died a death, they were meant to meet up over Easter but nothing happened.
    The timing of this piece in the Mayo news is interesting. While I am not questioning the current individuals involved, I do think that there are better qualified candidates within the county.

  12. Mayo have a growing support base and this form of regular communication is welcome. I am not so sure that the local media is the correct forum. A supporters website linked to the Mayogaa website or something might work. Access via your Cairde number. Over time it could be developed as a one stop shop for things dealing with the supporters, team announcements, panel listings, academy updates, interviews etc

  13. The Academy could be very simple and inexpensive.
    – Form an agreed Academy, keep the doors open. Messers and big egos are not tolerated. But for those who want to improve the door is open. I don’t believe the players need to be on expenses as they are not Senior panellists. If a club lad wants to join and improve himself why not?
    – Agree on some training locations in Mayo, Universities,
    – Start a three year program of skill development for each player regularly assessed
    – Start a three year program of individualised and monitored strength and conditioning regularly assessed
    Yer 1k a week that we know we have if we cut the senior costs to 9k goes towards the expenses of the coaching, part time expertise in physio/dietician etc.
    We know it can’t have all of the backroom setup of the Senior team but right now we have nothing!!
    We know that we need these lads in a field, with goalposts getting instruction on kicking technique/passing etc.
    Right now having nothing we are better off at least starting with one skills coach and one group of players.

  14. Probably need more full time coaches for some of the suggestions and that takes yoyos and players attending an academy couldn’t possibly be expected to travel without some sort of expenses . In saying that I don’t believe we’d have any problem raising the funds if it was done rightly and transparently so.

  15. I totally agree on Sean Burke with this one. We are forever giving out about a lack of transparency from the county board, and we spent weeks giving out about them after McStaygate about transparency, yet when they do make an effort to communicate with supporters they are met with derisory comments about being full of their own importance. I think that’s a bit on the unfair side, no?

    Surely the fact that they are trying to keep supporters in the loop is a good thing, relative to the closed shop we are used to? And they may not get it right all the time, but I’d rather they were trying to engage people rather than just ignoring them like has been done in the past.

  16. I’d be in the same camp as Sean and Anne-Marie on this one. To be fair to the County Board, they’re not issuing “almost weekly statements” or anything like it. They did issue one following Evan Regan’s injury and were right to do so as there were rumours flying around and confirmation of some sort was needed. I’ve just had a look at the Mayo GAA website and the last official statement they made (aside from the normal run of the mill stuff and team announcements) about the panel before the statement issued about Evan was the one they put out back in February when a number of players were released from the panel.

    The post I did this morning was based on information contained in a piece in the Mayo News, which is now online (here) and the piece I mentioned about the academy is also now available online (here).

  17. It’s better that the Co Board are letting supporters know what’s happening than having rumours about player’s injuries etc floating around. I don’t give a damn what Dublin or Kerry are doing about that issue and I doubt if many contributors here know what they are doing either.
    Regarding an academy for post minor players it is criminal negligence if something is not happening to keep these players involved and encouraged. With Mayo seen to have something like a settled senior panel in recent years it is very easy for a young player to see himself as an outsider and when and if he is called up light years behind what is needed at county senior level. When the current team breaks up, and that is likely to happen quite suddenly, we will be really struggling if we do not have players in good condition to take their place. That could see us back in the doldrums for several years.

  18. So the Academy has had them doing cookery classes as well. Let’s hope this will result in a few hammerings being dished out.

  19. Are the Rossies fav for the connaught championship that’s some thing else hope they are hype d up and màyo catch them out.

  20. A centre of excellence is a great idea but is it really affordable? There is no point having one and doing it on the cheap.
    The only problem with developing young players is trying to hold on to them. Job offers overseas and the urge to travel may take over if they don’t see themselves making the senior panel.
    I personally would prefer to see an extra 10 spaces added to the current panel of 30. These 10 spaces would be rotational with form club players given a chance. If you were dropped you would have all the training plans, dietary plans, s&c plans and hopefully skill improvement plans to work on so that if you were brought back in on form you weren’t playing catch up.
    37 outfield players on a panel would allow for full 15 v 15 games. You would also have the option playing 15 v 17/18 to help combat defensive set ups.
    Players that are developing could learn first hand from experienced guys.
    Club players would know that true form would merit a call up to the panel and then it was up to them to stay on it. Competition would increase as a result and standards would improve.
    It’s quite similar to how the premier league teams operate. Our minor teams are the equivalent of their youth academies, our u21 their reserve team and the proposed extended panel I’m suggesting is the same as their first team squad.

  21. The rossies remain 3rd favorites for Connacht which means they are expected to lose the Connacht final.

  22. @ St Pats Oldie, some good ideas there, I like your thinking!

    I remember reading an article a while back written by Alex Ferguson about how he managed to maintain success over so many years. He said that he always saw his squad as been made up of three teams. The young lads, up and coming and hungry. The guys in their prime, eager to win more silverware. Then the experienced men who thought the others what it takes to maintain standards. The key was to know when each group needed to be culled and added to. Therefore you should never have a time when you lose a whole group of players together and have no replacements for them. You could say our panel at the moment is developing like this. We have players like Coen, Durcan, Hall, Diarmuid O’Connor and Conor Loftus starting to come through. Then we have Cillian, Keegan, Donie, Aidan O’Shea, Hennelly, Doc and McLoughlin in their prime. Add to this Dillon, Moran, Higgins, Seamie O’Shea and Clarke providing the experience, so we have a good mix in our squad at the moment.

    P.S. Its good to see that Conor Loftus has officially been added to the panel, according to the Mayo News, best wishes and good luck to him.

  23. Pats Olde. At the moment we have nothing in place and I like the idea of having 2 full teams available. Should be given a run to see where it takes us IMO

  24. Ya,I’d be more comfortable with official info from Mayo GAA HQ than the rumour mill.Lets not start bickering amongst each other in Mayo & just channel all our daggers at those to our South & East

  25. If the Rossies are 3rd favourites for Connacht then they are not expected to make the Connacht Final. However, that said, I expect to see them there.

  26. @source
    I’d read that as the bookies saying whoever comes out of Salthill will win Connacht.

  27. I need to correct myself there. The Rossies CAN be 3rd favourites for Connacht and lose the Connacht Final

  28. For the love of God, Willie Joe – who won the mini League this year? It’s been on everybody’s minds for the last few days.

  29. In fairness the status of the academy, raised by many on here, was a concern and about which we have now been enlightened a little more. While I welcome it’s progress I had somehow hoped for something on a grander scale. For instance the core group currently involved in the academy should be meeting up more than once a month to assess development and progress (or am l maybe expecting too much from the players themselves and the financial cost involved?). Also if you are getting in a dietician or sports expert in to give a talk should it not be opened up to a wider audience such as the players on the perifery – say 60 or 70 players from all clubs in the county at all grades (as much as anything to say, we’re aware your playing well at club, you nearly make the grade, take on what the experts are saying, do the work, keep in touch, the door is always open and you never know). To me the focus is to narrow at one level and not narrow enough at the other.. but as they say cash is king

  30. A proper and effective academy or extended squad is critical, particularly for players with the intermediate, junior / lower division clubs. In reality they have no real route to the senior squad unless their club happens to go on a run to a Connaught or all Ireland final, which is a very long shot for most smaller clubs. For example would Boyle or Sweeney have come back into the reckoning if there clubs had not been successful in the all Ireland series at their level? Fear a lot of players are lost in this way

  31. Re: Academy. I watched the Dublin V Cork league final. The player that I was really impressed with was Dublin,s Dean Rock. He scored 10 points. 7 from frees and 3 from play. I said in an earlier comment that Mayo don’t have a free taker and I was asked to say why I said that by TG. Mayo are on about Cilian O Connor. I was in a friends house lately and we were looking back at Ballintubber V Castleber in County final 2014. He missed 4 simple frees and he should be popping those over. In Croker he did the same thing in a few matches. We can go back to 1989 (Fitzmaurice) 1996/7 (Sheridan). It was those guys that made it for us. Dean Rock last Sunday was poetry in motion with his free taking. The game has changed in the last 10 years, but free taking has not. Its still the same rule. We still DO NOT have a good free taker.

  32. I’ve heard it all, now True Grit. Were you in Pairc Ui Chaoimh last year, by any chance, when Cillian knocked over those two sideline frees from fifty yards out, the first from one side the second from the other? Are you forgetting the eight points he scored from frees as a 19 year-old in the 2011 Connacht final? Or the fact that he’s been the top scorer in the championship for the past two years, mainly because of his dead-ball accuracy? Dean Rock is a good freetaker (an excellent one in fact) but he’s done nothing in the scoring stakes in the championship as yet and to place him above a proven freetaker like Cillian is nonsense.

  33. Agree with you WJ on the ones he scored, and yes I was in Cork to see this. Its the ones he did not score that I,m talking about and they were a way easier. The impossible ones he scored and the simple ones he missed. I am saying Cilian is away the best forward we have right now but his free taking I am talking about.

  34. True Grit the best Gaelic football statistician in … hmm let’s see the World is Rob Carroll. He is the only person with full access to the GAAs own stats from all games. He regularly has articles about scoring from play and from deadballs. Yes Cillian missed those four frees you mentioned. But Cillian OConnor on a seasonal basis was the most accurate free taker in inter county Gaelic Football.
    These stats covered all games/seasons and he even made comment about scoring in pressured situations. Carrolls stats are always impeccably scientific.
    https://dontfoul.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/an-ode-to-cillian-oconnors-right-foot/

  35. No freetaker is perfect and Cillian is human like the rest of us but I wouldn’t have too many quibbles with his freetaking, in particular in the championship. I’ve just looked over the list of our matches from 2013 and 2014 and the one performance that really stands out for me is the eight frees he nailed in the 2013 All-Ireland final. When Dean Rock does that, then he can be spoken about in the same terms.

    For the record, here’s what Cillian got from placed balls in the last two championship campaigns:

    2013: Galway (0-4), London (1-2), Donegal (0-3, one a ’45), Tyrone (0-1, went off injured after 10 minutes), Dublin (0-8).
    2014: New York (2-4), Roscommon (0-5), Galway (0-5), Cork (0-3), Kerry (1-5), Kerry (R) (1-3).

  36. Funnily enough Willie Joe, the one match you highlighted is the one I’d say he was the most disappointing in terms of frees taken. Did he not miss two frees at the start of the first half, both well within his range? Don’t get me wrong – I think he’s one of the best freetakers in the country and I’m not hopping on the bandwagon against him! But that day for me was one I think he’d be disappointed with? Thoughts?

  37. JP and Willie Joe, both your comments are true and fact based. True Grit when Dean Rock comes close to this consistency in championship and record of scoring in pressured situations, then we can argue who’s the best freetaker.

  38. Davy J. Just look at the simple frees he missed, facts are facts. If he scored those we may have been AI champions. We always talk about the good things so for a change lets look also at our failings. Connelly,s Brigade made a valid point. That is all I’m going to say.

  39. True Grit if free taking is not a problem then it is not a failing. If it is not a failing then we have nothing to address other than needing a reserve kicker.

  40. I’m not saying Cillian doesn’t have failings (don’t we all?) but in the list of issues we need to address to push us on, finding a better freetaker than Cillian wouldn’t (to my mind at least) be high on the list. As JP says, finding a reserve kicker is something we need to sort. If Cillian isn’t on the field, we’re decidedly ropey from frees.

  41. Of all the things I thought might be debated and talked about in this silly season of sorts, until we start the real build up for our Connacht semi, I never imagined in a million years the quality of our free-taker would be one of them!!

  42. @ JP

    Just to be clear … Rob may well be the best GAA statistician going but he is the owner/MD of gaelicstats. I write the dontfoul blog for my sins but I do appreciate the sentiment. Thank you.

    I’m genuinely amazed that anyone could question O’Connor’s free taking ability. The first graph in the linked piece shows he converts at a higher percentage, over more shots than anyone else. Last year he was 53 from 54 attempts from inside 40m (I’m ignoring the desperate shot at goal in the SF finale). That is nigh on unrepeatable.

    No one comes close to O’Connor from frees. No one.

  43. Let’s hope that Cillian is back to full health for the Galway match. We’re told he should be back into full training in a few weeks, fingers crossed that it all goes well for him. Free taking aside, Cillian brings so much more to the Mayo team.

  44. Jesus, I don’t believe this. Now we’re roasting Cillian O’C for a few frees that he has missed over the course of four and a half seasons.

    I am blue in the face from lamenting his absences during this league, where woeful free-taking let us down in vital situations: Tyrone, Cork, Dublin, and Donegal. Note how, when he came on against Tyrone, he swung the game Mayo’s way for a while including a monster from the sideline. Even against Monaghan, that game was 50/50 until they lost the second man; his 5 points from frees kept us ticking over nicely.

    Why are we obsessed by the now? If we are to compare Cillian, let’s do so with the great free-takers of the past: Tony MacTague, Peter Canavan, Mikey Sheehy, BARNEY Rock, to name but a few, in no particular order.

  45. We’re not obsessing Catcol. One ignorant, ill informed comment does not qualify as obsessing. When a Dontfoul, who compiles an excellent stats blog comes onto the site to say that Cillian is without equal then you know you’ve a excellent free taker.
    I know the house rules about playing the ball, but surely this kind of shite talk needs to be nipped in the bud WJ.

  46. dontfoul, fantastic blog that you write. I got mixed up as sometimes your blog and his pieces are interlinked online. That stats work is yours I see, fair play. I actually thought dont foul was the same person as Rob Carroll my mistake.
    I agree with you, I don’t expect anyone to repeat 53 scores from 54 attempts inside 40 metres.
    The piece you did on James ODonoghues 70% scoring rate from play was excellent. I’v shown it to few people from other sporting disciplines and they were impressed someone could outperform by that margin over next best players.

  47. Steady on there, Liam. People are entitled to express their opinions and it’s good that opinions can be challenged with facts and stats. True Grit wasn’t having a go at Cillian at a personal level and just made a comment about his freetaking, which has resulted in several responses, including an airing for the excellent stats from Dontfoul. The result is that we’re all the wiser arising from this discussion and I don’t see the problem with that.

  48. I think we all need a game to talk about. Some of the above is getting silly.
    Are there any challenge games coming up that a man could sneak along to???? Just for a look.

  49. Pebbles, I’ve heard there’s an aul challenge game coming up but it’s just the usual non tester v Galway in June. Nothing to be getting excited by.

  50. Club Minor League games on Friday evenings usually 18:30 and the weather is decent.
    Claremorris an interesting team to track as they seem to be strong now at all age grades.

  51. Sean, I like your confidence! We can expect a harder journey to Dublin this year but a tough Connacht championship will do wonders for us. I keep saying it though, it’s time to keep the heads down and lie in the long grass. Sure, the Nestor Cup is between Galway and Roscommon isn’t it? We’re the spent force!!!
    One note for any cocky Rossies, going down to Markievicz to play Sligo in a one off championship game? That’s no gimme, as well we know. I don’t care how Sligos league form went, any defence with Ross Donovan in it is going to be tough to break down. He has to be one of the toughest whores lacing boots.

  52. Tongue n cheek buddy . Truly I think we all realise it’s going to be toughest provincial championship since we won in 11 .

  53. ^^ In fairness we beat Ros by a point last year (had no real right winning that one) and the Sligo match was well and truly in the balance till the end in 2012. Think 2013 is the only real ‘easy’ Connacht we had in this time

    I can’t really see Ros turning us over in castlebar and I don’t think Galway are nearly as good or as dangerous as some think. Yet that Pearse match still has me on edge. That old cliche ‘we’re due a loss’ in Connacht

  54. That’s true Ciaran but I don’t believe we were at full tilt bar 13 in Connacht . This time last year we all had a different mindset , it was all about not peaking in Connacht or q/f like Donegal year before . Attitude has completely changed and that will eventually get to the squad too , the mood in the county is we will have to fly out of the traps in Connacht to stamp our authority and see where that leaves us then.

    I think we will win Connacht again bar something crazy like a manager resigning before it even starts.

  55. Youre right for sure!

    That Ros match was strange in fairness, we were terribly flat, the fact we nearly lost was more down to ourselves really

    To be honest a lot were worried about galway 2013 and see what happened

    Everything really is in their favour this year though, no more so than laughably having two champ matches before we’ve any

  56. I copied the below from the RTE website:

    Galway have made three changes for Sunday’s Connacht SFC preliminary round trip to play New York at Gaelic Park (8pm Irish time).

    Goalkeeper Brian O’Donoghue, wing-back Liam Silke and corner-forward Danny Cummins come in, with Manus Breathnach (hand injury), Gareth Bradshaw (ankle) and Adrian Varley making way.

    Sean Denvir switches from wing-forward to wing-back.

    Galway: B O’Donoghue; J Duane, F Hanley, C Sweeney; L Silke, G O’Donnell, S Denvir; F Ó Curraoin, P Conroy; G Sice, S Walsh, M Lundy; P Ó Gríofa, P Sweeney, D Cummins

    It’ll be interesting to see if New York are any bit more competitive this year. Cavan were over there a couple of weeks ago and played them in two challenge games. Wexford’s PJ Banville is playing full-forward for them this year, he is a handy player.

  57. True Grit … I believe I have heard it all now. Full marks for making the silly things.

  58. I think in fairness True Grit is entitled to express an opinion and doesn’t deserve to be lambasted for it. Just because one may not agree with him does not mean his viewpoint is invalid. Personally I think Cillian is the best free taker we have had since Sheridan 96 97 and Fitzmaurice 89 and I think he contributes more from general play than those two lads did. But he is human and does miss the odd free including a few in AIF in 2013 when in all honesty he probably was not fit enough to be even playing that day.

  59. Sorry now,but FFS Cillian has been our ‘go to’ guy for the guts of 4 years.I cant believe what I’m reading here.OK its one opinion but its fukn way out there to say that he may have caused us to lose the all ireland-The one man who has the potential to WIN us an AI….jeez

  60. Remember the 2012 all Ireland semi against the dubs and the 3 45s cillian kicked into hill 16 in the ist half! Pressure of the highest order and 100% accuracy.anyone can have an off day.i remember rob hennelly in last years league kicked 3 or 4 45s v kildare in newbridge.a few weeks later he couldn’t hit a thing in Castlebar so much so as when he was going up to take one the crowd were roaring for him to go back in goal! Fickle supporters sometimes we are!

  61. Any news on challenge matches?
    Sean Burke you nearly had me with your earlier post.
    Itching for a game like thousands of others I’m sure.

  62. Given the County Board’s new found ‘Open Government’ approach, I feel we would know by now if there were any.

    Unless of course there are a few lined up behind closed doors.

  63. And while I’m at it, some posters have had a go at Conor O’Shea, but I must say I’ve liked the cut of him whenever I’ve seen him.

    Thought he did well against Roscommon last year and would like to see him get a more extended run.

  64. I’d say any that will be happening will be behind closed doors but it would be great to get a heads up. Challenge game happened 5 miles away from me last year and I hadn’t a clue until it was over.

  65. ^^^ St Pats there was one recently v Clare in Kinvara I live near there, lovely part of country, and I had only been there for a spin a week before. knew nowt about it was raging 🙁

  66. I heard Cillian say in an interview last year that eventually he hopes to be able to take frees off the ground with his left foot! Hopefully that will happen someday. I notice that the last couple of years, especially last year he kicked more of his points from play with his left foot. I remember watching him in the warm-up before the game against Dublin last year in the league, he kept practicing kicking points with his left foot into the Davin end goals. Then in the second-half he shrugged off Johnny Cooper and kicked a beauty off his left foot. As they say practice makes perfect! He is a player who always wants to improve himself.

  67. This may have come up, but I’m pondering why Galway would have to play 4 games to win Connaught: NY, Leitrim, Mayo, Ros/Lon or Sligo?

    How exactly does this draw operate? Galway were scheduled to play NY this year. Why then were they put into the hat again for a QF draw? I thought the NY match was automatically a QF. I’m sure there was no way Ros/London were put into the hat again (because that match would come after the earliest QF which is usually mid May.

    Help!!

  68. You’re making a fairly basic error there, Catcol – i.e. attempting to apply some logic to a situation where logic doesn’t come into it! Seriously, though, I share your confusion as I always thought those preliminary round games against New York and London were provincial quarter-finals. The New York game obviously isn’t – just like it’s not really a championship fixture, more an annual exhibition match – but I think the London one is, which would only be right, not least given their exploits in recent years.

  69. For what it’s worth Willie Joe, I checked back through your invaluable archive.

    Seems this New York lark started in the late 90s. All Mayo’s games described as preliminary rounds; however they went straight to the semi finals in each case!

    As you say, why bother trying to make any sense of it.

  70. Another of our injured party s Robbie Hennelly. Spotted wearing the boot on his right leg up to the knee.

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