Loss to Leitrim blows Connacht U20 Championship wide open

After our win over Galway last week – in particular the style the lads showed in beating the neighbours – the county’s U20 footballers came crashing down to earth at Ballinamore this evening. Leitrim beat Peadar Gardiner’s team by 3-12 to 0-16 in Round 3 of this year’s Connacht U20 Championship and, by the looks of it, they were full value for the win too.

I’m in the throes of getting myself packed and ready for departure to New York tomorrow so I have to confess that wasn’t following proceedings from Seán O’Heslins Park this evening all that closely. From the updates I’ve seen, however, it’s clear that Leitrim weren’t at all flattered by a win that blows open this provincial campaign, nor were they overblown by the margin of victory either.

The three goals Leitrim scored – one in the first half and the other two early in the second – were key to the home team’s success. We’d battled back from the first major to trail by just a point at the break but they then hit us with two further goals in four minutes soon after the resumption to stretch their lead to seven.

We needed to respond in kind to have a chance of pulling the fat from the fire but were unable to do so. Leitrim ran out five-point winners at the finish.

Galway, who beat Sligo by four points at Tuam this evening, have now moved into top spot in the table on four points, while we have three, with Roscommon and Leitrim on two and defending champions Sligo on one. This trio have only played two matches so far, though, while ourselves and Galway have played three. We’ve a bye next week.

I’ve no scorer or team details from tonight’s game but Mike was in Ballinamore and we’ll have a Final Whistle show up on Patreon a bit later on.

Commiserations to our lads on the loss but well done to Leitrim on what was obviously a fully deserved win for them.

39 thoughts on “Loss to Leitrim blows Connacht U20 Championship wide open

  1. Galway – 4
    Mayo – 3
    Roscommon – (+0)
    Leitrim – (-4)
    Sligo – 1*

    (Sligo drawing with Roscommon and losing to Galway in their 2 games so far so back on 1 point. Roscommon currently ahead of Leitrim on score difference with no head to head between the two year. While Roscommon the only team still undefeated in the group)

  2. Desperately disappointing second half. Leitrim had us well beaten from the third goal onwards. First goal was well taken by Leitrim but second and third were down to bad defending and goalkeeping. No goals scored and five goals conceded in the last two games. Hurley, Lydon and O’Flaherty were lively up-front but not enough scoring threat from the rest. Bar Lydon and hard running from McLaughlin not a huge impact from the bench. The lay-off has come at just the right time. We may scrape a Connacht Final but consistent improvements needed in defence and attack if there is to be any hope of progression. As others have noted it may be a year too early for some of the panel.

  3. Maybe awake up call to both Senior and u 20 teams take nothing for granted and field your best team in all games and to keep playing till final whistle.

  4. @1951 retro that’s a bit harsh saying the midfield were pathetic yeah wasn’t their day and bad day at the office for sure but this is under 20s very young guys teenagers. Only learning sure.

  5. Final Whistle pod is up on Patreon, with Mike in Ballinamore and, as a little bonus extra, Rob reporting on the Galway/Sligo game from Tuam. Unlike me, they’re both clearly fully packed and ready for New York at this stage!

  6. Well deserved win for Leitrim, first time watching the mayo team following their hyped win last week. Overall Leitrim played at a higher intensity and based on today looked a better coached team, or at least displayed better teamwork. They also took their goal chances while we fluffed a couple of good chances. Overall, we are likely to see the best teams qualify for the semi finals and means that we will need to get something out of the Sligo match if we are to even make that stage.

  7. Great win for Galway, gave away two very sloppy goals and Sligo have some very dangerous forwards. Thompson back flying this evening and the win puts us back in a good place…. for now!

  8. Perhaps we underestimated Leitrim. Comhghairdeas le Andy Moran.

    It seems most of our lads are very young!
    Maybe the team were overly hyped ?
    Let’s hope they beat Sligo
    Mól an óige agus tíochfaidh siad!
    Mhuigeo Abú

  9. A real surprise result in Ballinamore. Without taking away for Leitrim’s deserved win did complacency play a part in the Mayo performance? Even at half time you had Enda off ahref podcast thinking Mayo would turn it around and win by 4 points! Have to give credit to Andy Moran to how fired up he had Leitrim and started Jack Foley,Barry ,McNulty ruling them out of the senior match v Sligo this Sunday now

    Tough one against Sligo to finish off the group whom will be a big need of point after only getting 1 point so far. Galway look to be in the box seat for 1st place and straight into the final now.

  10. A reality check tonight v Leitrim. Hope it puts a stop to nonsense talk of future senior team. Similar to the Mayo for Sam brigade totally overhyped .
    This is a very young side with some fine footballers and must be given time and space to develop. Tonight age profile and strength appeared to be difference. However management dropped the ball by underestimated Andy’s boys with all those changes. Lessons learnt, we will see.

  11. Leitrim had performed reasonably well v Galway so there was no way they should have been taken lightly. Group is really open now and a result v Sligo is now a necessity. Lots of young lads on our team but it should never be next year and always this year.. A great result for Leitrim after the disappointment for their senior team at the weekend.

  12. Lads let’s call it as it is ….embarrassing tonight in Ballinamore . When is the last time a Leitrim side beat us in a Connacht championship game ? We can make all the excuses we wish but the buck stops with management ….we clearly had lads on the pitch not match fit ….defensively we were opened up time and time again ….lacking pace and some basic defensive errors. We made 4 changes giving lads an opportunity and it backfired badly . Andy had our number playing a sweeper in front of our full forward line closing off the supply into our lads……we gave their one forward Paul Honeyman the freedom of the park ….apparently he’s just out of minor , enough said I hope we can rebound strongly , we will have to or its the end of the road in 2 weeks time again Sligo .

  13. 1998 was the last defeat to Leitrim in Connacht U20/21 game.

    Teams and who did the scoring according to the Leitrim observer

    Scorers: Paul Honeyman 0-10, 2M, 6f; Ben Guckian, Paul Moran & Jack Casey 1-0 each; Barry McNulty 0-2

    Team: Brian Cull, Arek Oberwan, Tom Hughes, Eanna McNamara, Michael McBrien, Paddy Keane, Jack FOley, Barry McNulty, Ben Guckian, Naoise McManus, Paul Moran, Jack Casey, Jake Tobin, Paul Honeyman, Darren Cox. Subs: Tom Plunkett for Casey (46); Joe McGloin for Guckian (61)

    Scorers: Darragh Beirne 0-8, 8f; Niall Hurley 0-3; Tom O’Flaherty & Tom Lydon 0-2 each; Oisin Cronin 0-1

    Team: David Dolan, David Slattery, Eoin McGreal, Rio Mortimer; Diarmuid Duffy; Sean Morahan, Brendan Collins; Conal Dawson, Liam Moore, Oisin Cronin, Cathal Keaveney, Tom O’Flaherty, Darragh Beirne, Niall Hurley, Darragh Reilly. Subs: Tom Lydon for Reilly (54); Finbarr McLoughlin for Moore (34); Jack Melvin for Dawson (40); Paul Gilmore for McGreal (41); Reilly for Keaveney (53)

  14. Unacceptable. Younger than average team is no excuse. These aren’t babies. They are an u20 Mayo team playing another u20 team. It’s not like they’re up against seasoned veterans! When Galway won the Senior All Ireland in 1998 five of their starting team were 21 years old. A third of their team! There really aren’t any excuses for losing tonight and we were fortunate not to ship 3 goals or more last week in Castlebar, so clearly issues in defence. When Peadar got the job he said in his interview that he wanted to make this Mayo u20 ‘difficult to play against’ or words close to that effect.

    The lads need to step up against Sligo.

  15. If that u20 team is as young and light as people say – then where are all the good u20 lads in the county who are on the age. I know one or two on the age are not available for a few reasons – but surely in a county the size of Mayo there are more footballers in that bracket who should be on the panel. Especially when we have seen now in two of the three games played some of these “future senior stars” might not be near as good as some people think. I hate to see people hyping up young lads when they have achieved very little yet to warrant such hype. We seem to never learn in this county. As someone said above a bit like the Mayo for SAM talk.

  16. @SouthMayoExile, that’s exactly it…it’s not just random punters hyping these lads up, the language used in media and podcasts is way over the top from people who really should know better. John Casey saying he’d ‘remember some of those lads names for the rest of my life’ after last weeks win. Hyping up lads who’ve literally won nothing. It’s farcical. Much of these lads were put up on a giant pedestal in the run up to the minor all Ireland 2 years ago and it was laughable the amount of media build up and attention they got. Supplements in newspapers and all that nonsense. Seriously, a lot of people need to cop on.

  17. It’s no great shame being beaten by Leitrim, it’s the nature of U20S matches that they throw up some surprise results.A well deserved win and good luck to them in their remaining games.

  18. Lads, there a lot of talk here about age, weight and intensity etc

    But I think the real issue is there was only one player from north Mayo on the team.

    I know Gardiner and Cafferkey are from north Mayo but surely to god there has to be more one decent player from the north who is worth a place in this team!

    North Mayo is the heart of football in the county.

    Folks from the south have a softer edge to them. That’s why we lost the game. When we got into deep water last night some of the lads couldn’t swim.

    Let’s remember south mayo gave of Conor Mortimer, North Mayo gave us David Brady…

  19. Reputation as a team now means win connacht or be remembered as one of the very few Mayo teams who lost to Leitrim . There are some excellent posters in here but there is an element of cheer leading too . There is no excuse for losing to leitrim at any grade , thats not being disrespectful , its akin to in boxing , a heavy weight world title contender getting the head thumped off him by a light weight national contender . Its embarrassing .

    Youd also have to question the lack of power and size , these lads are not new to county panels . Question for any of those familar with s&c , if you were to compare mayo players coming through the underage ranks how would we compare to other counties , as in say the 2022 minors to present day , how do we compare with the other top counties , weight/muscle increase, speed increase , leg size etc within them two years ? To the naked eye it looks like we are well behind look at some of the tyrone lads from minor to 20s over recent years for example .
    Further up the chain look how long its taken boland to get the body right for senior .

    We are missing something in this department .

  20. We do urgently need to select height and power into this team.
    I’m banging a drum for an age that our SnC is off. We get the odd genetic freak and then plenty are not much stronger than a typical adult male.
    Female teenage gymnasts are crazy strong by 16. Enough with the kid gloves. Players should me muscular and strong by 19/20, it’s enough time.

  21. South Mayo gave us Peter Forde and Donie Vaughan.

    I’d like to see you walk up to either of them and call them soft.

  22. Management to blame for how the team set up defensively with no cover. Well deserved win for Leitrim and Andy filling them with confidence. Too many cooks on the sideline!

  23. Conor Mortimer was not soft. Didn’t he win a high ball against Galway in championship and get his teeth knocked out?
    He was also deceptively strong, there’s pretty much no such thing as quick and weak physically. Plus one of his best games was against Tyrone in 2008 where he almost dragged us across the line on his own.
    Conor Mortimer was better from play than Cillian. Oh heresy, heresy.
    Well be simply was. He just had bugger all around him and getting crap ball kicked to him.

  24. Well let’s hope its a lesson learnt, but in reply to the notion that the management was trying out players, well if that’s the case management has serious questions to answer, Championship is not the time to be experimenting , anyway the best of luck going forward,
    Let’s hope our seniors will have better luck ,
    Hon Mayo ?

  25. Peter Ford played for St Marys in Sligo, check your history Davy.

    Vaughan couldnt hack the grit needed to play in the intermediate championship, so he transferred two minutes up the road to Castlebar. Case in point – the water is a lot more murky in the intermediate championship!

    Dont get me wrong – two gentlemen!

  26. WJ once you resurface from the travelling you might need to check the above. But also…and following on from previous threads, we really need to have discussion on S&C. Something just isn’t right…it’s very plain to see.

    Sean Burke is right and it’s not out of disrespect to Leitrim. They are a great county with minimal resources. We have tonnes more players and all the other bits and pieces that give larger counties an advantage…and it just isn’t acceptable to lose an important championship match to them at any level. Management need to get a result v Sligo and get this team ‘difficult to play against’ instead of opening up like the Red Sea at the back and gifting multiple goal opportunities. We clearly aren’t firing up top either. A lot of wayward shooting. I’m hoping last night serves as a kick up the #%$€ to all involved. Cmon Mayo!

  27. Thanks for the heads-up, Mayonaze – I was able to deal with it before boarding. I can see now that the same gent has posted under a number of different handles but won’t be doing so here again.

    I agree with you too on the North v South issue, by the way!

  28. Our minor team are yet to play a game apparently. If true you’d imagine lads be fairly bored.

  29. @Mayonase I understand that no S&C work is done Dublin county team s until they reach senior.
    May do some with their clubs.

  30. @Jr: Do you mean a specific type of S&C work (like bulking/heavy weight training) isn’t being done? They absolutely do (and would have to – even poor club sides back in my day were doing plenty of S&C work, just quite poorly and without the science behind it) S&C work.

    I’d be slightly familiar with Fergal Bracken (S&C for their minor ladies side) and Stephen Lawlor (head of S&C at Bohs and this year joined the Dublin minor side as an S&C coach), so not sure what information is being shared on them not doing any. It sounds very questionable.

  31. As Mayojoe said, there is no shame in losing to Leitrim…I recall their U21 team beating Galway a few years back when they were reigning all Ireland champions…

  32. @paddy2023

    That’s true and Galway U21 team that contained Liam Slike,Comer and Shane Walsh.

    Dublin defending U21 All Ireland champions in 2013 was beaten by Longford and that was a Dublin team that had D Byrne, , J McCaffrey; P Mannion,, C Kilkenny,N Scully among their ranks.

    Those Galway,Dublin teams were knocked out with those losses while Mayo are still in the championship after last nights loss.

  33. Check what Mayonaze, is it not a valid point that both the player mentioned moved clubs.

    Also is it not worth discussing that there was not one player on starting 15 against Roscommon from Ballina, Knockmore, Crossmolina, Belmullet, Kiltane, Moy Davitts Killala, Ardagh, Ardnaree, Ballycastle, Ballycroy, etc

    Maybe there are no players good enough from this region, but is it not a valid point to raise?

    I just think there is too much talk about S&C, and gyms etc.

    Take for example Christy McKague for Derry, this is a man carrying zero muscle.

    I doubt Galway’s All Star Ian Burke was benching 100kg in the gym when he was 19….

  34. Peter Forde is from Ballinrobe, as well you know. Born and reared there, played for the club, managed them to two intermediate county titles. The fact that he played for a club in Sligo for a while doesn’t mean he’s from Sligo, any more than Rob Hennelly playing for Raheny makes him a Dub.

    I know my history just as well as you do, son, and I’ve been on here a long time. Don’t patronise me. Especially as you’re the one making idiotic comments designed to turn Mayo supporters against each other.

  35. It’s only shite talk @Davy….I wouldn’t even engage. Even Castlebar being ” 2 minutes ”from Ballinrobe tells us what we’re dealing with.

  36. Oh sorry 2 hops, it’s 23 minutes drive.

    I suppose it is a bit too far to drive to training. Might as well transfer.

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