Lift-off approaching

Image: @ConnachtGAA

It’s Friday morning, that’s a cracking bit of sunshine out there and the weekend is just up ahead. Not any old weekend either but the one that sees the start of another championship campaign for us. Life could be worse, people.

Just to prove that the Irish Independent isn’t a cesspit of Mayo-hating, click-baiting ogres (well, not all of the time at any rate) let’s start with a few links from them.

First there’s Colm Keys – a top GAA writer for sure – who runs the rule (here) over the players who have featured for us in several championship campaigns. ColmĀ poses the rhetorical question as to whether or not they’re up for another hard push at the summit, one to which Sunday should provide the first instalment of an answer.

Next there’s a comment piece by Jack O’Toole (here) that fairly comprehensively deconstructs Bernard Flynn’s rather pathetic personal attack on Aidan O’Shea the other day. For me, the best retort on that one – which others have already noted here – is that it was most likely Meath kids Aidan was posing for photos with. You remember Meath, don’t you? They used to play a bit of ball one time but they’re way too chilled for that kind of thing nowadays.

Then there’s a short piece by Michael Verney with Conor Mortimer who says that Pat and Noel would have been as well to hould their whist. Conor also features in a similar piece by Kevin O’Brien in today’s Irish Examinerhere.

There isn’t a whole load aside from that, to be honest, out there in the media about us at the minute and, you know, even if there was – and they were all yahooing about what a load of selfie-taking chokers we are – I’m not sure I’d be all that worried. Sunday’s approaching and there’s football to be played – real football, with balls and all – and so it’s a far more productive use of everyone’s time to be thinking about that rather than focusing on the background yabbering.

In that vein, do you need any info about tickets for the match? If so, full details are here.

Concerned about the weather for Sunday and, in light of this, mulling your wardrobe choices? Then this one is for you.

A bit of spare cash you’re itching to offload? Try this for size.

Haven’t done your mini-league predictions for the weekend yet? Best getĀ moving there now if you haven’t.

Isn’t it great? We’re still alive and the championship is about to begin. Again. Enjoy your Friday.

UPDATE: The team to face Sligo on Sunday in the Connacht U17 championship quarter-final at MacHale Park (throw-in 11.45am) has now been named. Full details here.

32 thoughts on “Lift-off approaching

  1. Life indeed could be worse. Except I’m about to kick off my first championship summer outside the auld sod in many years. Surreal to think I’m not getting prepared to make the trip on Sunday. The closer it gets the worse it feels.

    Still excited about it from afar. I thought distance might dull the anticipation but it’s actually made it worse.

  2. Good stuff there Willie Joe. There is one piece today – not about Mayo, but from Jackie Tyrrell in the Times. I keep banging on about him, but here he is today dissecting Cork’s current weaknesses. Any player, or anybody interested in sport could learn from this. You can see why Kilkenny are winners:

  3. I can feel your pain, Rock! Still, it’s not like being away in the old days – which was when I did my stint overseas many years ago – so hopefully we can keep you well tuned into what’s going on here over the coming months.

  4. Yeah technology certainly helps. And this forum provides a fantastic conduit to the debate and reaction around the team. And of course I’m hoping to get home as the Summer progresses for us.

    Had a great discussion this morning with a neighbour explaining why I’m draping a strange red and green flag outside the house. I’m sure he walked away thinking they need to strengthen their immigration laws!

  5. Agree Catcol, tyrrell gives a great insight into winning and how leaders have to stand up. In fairness to Mayo in the last 5 yrs they do have leaders, but a bit more of Kilkenny’s ruthlessness would be good!

  6. Looks like a dry owl day for Sunday. No excuses for anybody not to be there.

    Really, any Mayo person lucky enough to be living in Connacht who has their health and can afford to go, should be going to Mchale.

    I said it before. Last time we saw these fellas in championship action on 01st October 2016 they were “carried out on their shields” having refused to yield.

    This despite everything that was thrown at them from losing their best player to a questionable refs decision, to a goalkeepers nightmare coming through in a moment of madness, to playing in the lions den against the best team of all time ever (ya right), to freak own goals going into our net (twice), to getting laughed at and belittled by national media etc.

    So please people. Get into Mchale Park on Sunday in yer thousands and bring as much green and red as possible.

  7. Here is the Mayo U17 team to face Sligo on Sunday in Elvery’s MacHale Park at 11.45am:

    1. Jamie McNicholas (Kiltimagh)
    2. Jack Coyne (Ballyhaunis)
    3. Basil McLeod (Louisburgh)
    4. Jack Higgins (Aghamore)
    5. Aaron McHale (Parke/Keelogues/Crimlin)
    6. Rory Brickenden (Westport)
    7. Aaron McDonnell (Ballintubber)
    8. Paddy Goldrick (Charlestown)
    9. John Gallagher (Mayo Gaels)
    10. Pat Lambert (Westport, Capt)
    11. Emmet Rowley (Westport)
    12. Liam Burke (Ballinrobe)
    13. James Jennings (Mayo Gaels)
    14. Thomas Morris (Hollymount/Carramore)
    15. Paul Towey (Charlestown)

    Team Manager: Martin McIntyre
    Selectors: Martin Costello, Jim O’Shea & Fergal Kelly.

  8. Looks like a decent U17 team selected. Will be interesting to see how a few that were deemed not good enough for the minor panel get on.

  9. I see mayos u17 team named today. Not a single player from north Mayo yet again. I’d say in the last five years you could count the number of inter county minor footballers from north Mayo on one hand.
    It’s an absolute disgrace. This is a crisis. Does anyone even care?? When it happens tear in year out it’s not just a statistical anomaly. Obviously no player good enough from the region to make the team – I’m not suggesting any conspiracies are at play. A large swathe of our county is looking like a footballing wasteland. When will something be done by the county board?

  10. Couldn’t agree more Jim Flag!! Cillian said it on the podcast they get power /strength from us supporters , very negative stuff in the media in the past few days we need to show these boys we’re behind them they’re not willing to give up neither should we!! Whatever happens happens but let’s not be found wanting !! Bring all the flags you have & shout like mad!! One game at a time #inthistogether

  11. Your welcome WJ.

    I’d agree with the posters about getting as many people to the games on Sunday as possible with plenty of colour on show. It is really annoying all of the negative articles etc. in the media about Mayo, the last while. You’d almost think that there was no other team to write about! Some of the pundits are even so lazy that they steal other pundit’s arguments, i.e. like the comparison between the performances of Aidan O’Shea and Michael Murphy in the big games.

    Talking about that argument, Murphy has often been kept quiet in big games too, like against Tyrone and in the 2014 All-Ireland final against Kerry, when he was marked by the McMahons and Aidan O’Mahoney. Ironically the one big game that he did have a major say in, was when our tactics left when with acres of room in front of our goals. I’m sure that Aidan O’Shea would do plenty of damage in big games as well, if he was afforded the room that Murphy was given in the 2012 final. The Kerry and Dublin backs pretty much foul him out of existence when we play them. Maybe it is time to play Aidan in more of a midfield role this year.

  12. Hopesprings, I see what your saying about the minors and North Mayo. Im not overly concerned about the talent available in the region as I know for a fact clubs like Belmullet, Ballina, Kiltane, Cross have some serious talent in their underage ranks. From looking at the team selected and indeed this years minors, id say location has a big part to play, being available for training on a regular basis. Mayo is a big county and these guys cant travel under their own steam yet. Also its exam season, all adds up to being very difficult for a player say from Belmullet to make training. More practical to pick from a player pool within a certain radius of training grounds.

  13. I can only comment form what I have seen in the flesh but Knockmore have plenty of talent coming through, my own club Ballina have a few top class young prospects , are much improved with Ennna Casey implementing a long term sustainable underage structure but still not producing as many players as he would like, and Belmullet have plenty coming through including a couple of brilliant scoring forwards.
    I would say some years players just might not fit the profile of what the county minor management wants. Very few from the Ballina 3 in a row minor team 1999/2000 were involved with the county including fro example Pat Harte, so I wouldn’t right off North Mayo as a wasteland for underage(or believe there is a bias) but applaud the likes of Claremorris and Wesport for dominating at the moment and aim to topple them as soon we can in Ballina!!!
    The big problem I would see is nobody at county level really seem to be taking an interest in what is going on at Ballina anyway so if there is something seriously flawed in the make up of the players being produced at the moment it certainly isn’t been communicated to the underage coaches!!

  14. @macs left boot, Wouldn’t get to excited about the north. Cete boom and Mayomad raise some good points.
    Said it in other posts but if you look at league tables and look at top 4 clubs in minor and under 16 division 1 you should see knockmore and Bellmullet there. Yet again none make the team, or in U17 case not even in panel that I know.
    Knockmore are current under 17 champions also.
    Castlebar top under 16 and no players either I think.
    Maybe it’s the coaches in Knockmore and Bellmullet have developed extremely strong team units with no outstanding individuals worthy of selection. Or perhaps it’s selection process. Or something else?

  15. I’m convinced the pick of Division one in most years beats the way we currently select our minor teams.
    There is a huge dropoff in standard at underage division by division.
    It is a much steeper dropoff than at senior.
    After division one it should be a small few from the lower divisions.

  16. Would like to have seen Adam Gallagher show enough progress to make it onto the match day 26….but who would you drop off that selection ?!

  17. While I would rate the managements performanceas no more than fair in fbd and league, I think this is a good starting team.
    Good game to introduce Fergal Boland to championship football.
    Aiden O Shea saved our bacon in league, time for others to show we are not totally depending on him.
    Most impressive is our strength in depth. Games are now won by what a manager can spring from the bench for the final quarter and we have the power.
    I do hope we can push on and give ourselves a confidence booster for next game

  18. U17 Emmet Rowley at 11 is a player I like a lot. Great pace and good eye for goal.

  19. Just reading Niall Carew and he again goes with the line “Mayo are further down the line in terms of S&C etc etc”…..I’ve heard this from many mangers who are facing us the last 5 years.

    In my mind they don’t rate us as footballers and think we just use our power to overtake teams. I would be using that as fuel to the fire if I were Mayo manager.

  20. That line up shows this man wants as strong a last fifteen minutes as the first. Makes sense seeing the losing margins on the big days over the last few years. Great panel of players now, really good. AOS and Donie Vaughan off the bench?? That’s a great luxury. Up Mayo!

  21. Jesus, how come the world and his mother were at this challenge game against Meath? Even the after match proceedings are now national news. Yet, none of the fanatics (this one included) who post here were aware of it?

    In any case here’s the always brilliant Keith Duggan on The Outrageous Crime of Being Aidan O’Shea: :

  22. Best of luck to the lads tomorrow Lets hope it is the start of another long summer. Great article by Keith Duggan as posted by catcol. His article on Joe Canning also a great read. Another player who has had to carry the burden of his county on his back and who has been unfairly accused of nor performing on the big occasions.

  23. Keith Duggan, essential reading for Bernard Flynn, Brehony, Sunday game and every Mayo “supporter” who seem to have an issue with Aidan OShea

  24. I think it’s fair comment. Mayo have probably been ahead of most teams with regard to S&C but do have some excellent ball players. Most of those are in half back, half forward and midfield though. Full forward line is the weakest line though. Hughes and Murphy are probably the only 2 Sligo players who would make the Mayo team at present as Mayo don’t have scoring forwards or they use their forwards for their work rate instead of scoring.

  25. I disagree that we don’t that scoring forwards. The two O’Connor’s are scoring forwards. Andy moran is a scoring forward. Jason doc was a scoring forward in the past. This part of their game is being negated by the amount of work which they are being asked to do. I think the a massive job for Rochford is getting the balance right between these two aspects of the game.

  26. We created very few goal chances in league matches even against weaker opposition. Tomorrow a day to put that right.

  27. That’s part of the point I was making. D O Connor, Doherty, McLoughlin job is help out the defence and they can be found in their half back, full back lines also. C O Connor us perform in that role also which is a waste of his talents imo. He should be on the edge of the square getting the ball and scoring. When COC first came in the scene his first few seasons it looked like he was the man who could deliver an all- ireland. He was inventive, elusive, tricky to mark, scoring freely from play and frees. Now he is a free taker and run if the mill forward. His body shape has changed. He is now a big lumbering player no longer able to trick an opposing defender. Too much S&C on what was a very promising player. He will probably shoot the lights out tomorrow against a porous defence but against bigger teams he won’t

  28. Jesus yewtree u are clutching at straws if u really taking a comment from manager of a div 3 outfit that Mayo are ahead on S and C as motivation for disrespect ….sweet Jesus. Carew is only there 18months and there was universal agreement in the squad they were behind the top teams in terms of S@C…as we all know now it takes years not months to achieve what is required in that area. It’s bordering on trump level of paranoia to suggest Carew was suggesting Mayo don’t have footballers based on that comment.

    Why do people always feel need to create siege mentality as motivation for winning. Is winning not it’s own reward?

  29. Tomorrow and tomorrow and hopefully tomorrow OnTheDitch, as ever! I think the most ardent supporter of this amazing bunch does accept that our scoring potential up front does not compare with some others. Management realises this too and is obviously banking on the whole box of tricks approach to compensate…what else would you do?
    T’would be all so straight forward if we had the forwards but as it is we continue hoping for the best and we re well up there in that arena.
    I’ve always liked to think that our problem was one of poor movement/decisions/composure which would sort itself out with time and the addition of one or two newcomers but time has passed with no new gems appearing. So now I’m thinking happily enough of all the ways that are available to kill a pig…’s just that it involves an awful lot of squeeling and anguish for all involved.
    However away we go and may the future hold great rewards for this brave Green and Red brigade.

  30. There is a lot to like about team for tomorrow and strength in depth meamns we should be putting in a strong finish to the game.
    Like Tipper I would like to see C O Connor role to be much more attack minded. Big day tomorrow

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