Mayo Football Podcast episode: Final Whistle – St Gerald’s take Connacht crown

There was Connacht Post-Primary Schools Senior ‘A Championship glory for St Gerald’s College, Castlebar this afternoon.

The Mayo school beat Claregalway College by two points at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence to win the Aonghus Murphy Cup for the seventh time.

Afterwards, Mike chatted with Colm Boyle about the game. He also caught up with man of the match Dara Neary and joint managers David Joyce and Diarmuid O’Connor.

This new podcast episode is now online and is available to our club members on Patreon – it’s HERE. To get access to this pod and to all our other great content for as little as €1 per week, join the club HERE.

19 thoughts on “Mayo Football Podcast episode: Final Whistle – St Gerald’s take Connacht crown

  1. How do St Geralds stack up against the other provincial winners ? Would they be expected to be underdogs or favourites in the semi final ?

  2. Great achievement for my alma mater, congrats to the management team and the lads. It seems that the days of Jarlath’s dominating Connacht and the Hogan Cup are over and that the footballing landscape is a lot more democratic these days.

    Any word on who they will play in the semi-final?

  3. “it means nothing to me” Jarlaths lost their touch when they stopped doing B&B for the Mayo contingent

  4. Would i be correct in saying its who won ulster in semi final which Omagh won again and are the hogan cup holders too , six players retained from last year im reading there now , so id hazzard a guess theyd be very much fancied in semi ,thats if im correct about pairings .

  5. The favorites are usually the Ulster teams or the Kerry champions.
    The Ulster schools are large boys only schools that draw in the best footballers from a huge surrounds.

  6. @citeog: Yes, I’m aware. I played against them twenty years ago and they had a few lads from West Mayo playing for them, back then. What St. Gerald’s have done in the past twenty years with relatively limited playing resources has been superb, IMO.

    Hopefully a more level playing field at colleges’ level will pay dividends up the age ranks.

  7. It’s refreshing to hear Colm Boyle emphasising how crucial school’s development is in Mayo. I’ve been shouting this for years (to anyone who will listen to me lol!). For Mayo to be successful ie; winning All
    Irelands and being regularly in the shake up; it’s absolutely key that our County Board and those at the helm of Games Promotion & Development in Mayo are really focused on schools and not just left to the devices of individual schools/teachers etc but that an actual coherent and ambitious plan is in place; aligned with underage academies and clubs which maximises and nurtures talent in the county. In my opinion, an even greater emphasis is required not just at secondary level but from 4th class level in schools. An actual skills programme for 9-12 year olds (not just bord na nóg matches) so that kids going into second level are really strong on the basics and equally competent on left & right. We should be at a point where all players at u14 academy level are as proficient off both sides (hand and foot). It sounds really basic but would in fact add hugely to the success rate of Mayo underage teams.

  8. And well done St Gerald’s. Can ye go win an All
    Ireland now? Provincials are nice but national success is what really counts

  9. My own advocacy has simply been for all active kids in Gaelic football to own an O’Neills. It does not kick the same as a regular soccer ball which is much lighter. I’d wager a crazy % of club players at underage and senior do not own an O’Neills. It’s crazy when you think on it.

  10. @JP – you’re 100% right. Firstly, O’Neill’s footballs are ridiculously overpriced, but yeah, most kids do not have one. They’ll use the replica ‘training’ ones and we all know those balls after a few goes are like beachballs. Useless.

    Mayo GAA should be looking to set up a county wide kids club at primary level; where all children in every national school in the county get a tshirt, ball, membership pack and have skills badges they can earn/accumulate. They have skills based games within the school and then at a local level before going onto a finals day in MacHale Park for the most accomplished kids, but everyone can attend (not standard gaelic football matches but rather challenges that test skills left/right hand passing, kicking, catching, soloing, accuracy etc). Fun challenges which coupled with the usual primary schools competitions (and they’d compliment one another) would significantly increase the skill level of kids going into the secondary schools – having a natural positive knock on for all Mayo teams eventually spilling into senior. It’d be a kind of pre-academy club for all between ages 8-12 where they advance every year up different grades and where emphasis is on personal skills, improving and maximising skills and rewarding achievement but also on being part of a wider Mayo Kids Club where the ‘goal’ is to go on to represent Mayo at underage and eventually senior level. It would hugely promote Gaelic Football, the benefits are obvious. Endorsed by the county board with appearances from senior county players and sponsored by some big hitter. It’d be an absolutely ideal sponsorship opportunity.

  11. @Mayonaze the skills competition has been on the go a long time I believe and goes on to Connacht, link to previous winners here:
    Be great if all kids could get that kit as listed above. Would be a huge cost at approx €60 per head so would need a serious backer.
    Issue with schools as always is resourcing. Would need substantial external resourcing as not all schools have people willing to do additional hours outside of contracted ones. But could definitely make skills blitz days available to schools to attend.

  12. One thing I’d caution about the Primary Schools is that there is a perception among some of our recent immigrants that Gaelic Football is “too dangerous” for their children.

    We don’t help this by referring to both Gaelic and Soccer as Football. They regularly hear about horror football injuries, and they’re often shocked when they realise that they were Soccer Injuries and not Gaelic.

    And most of these families would consider Rugby to be more dangerous, before anyone tries to beat me with that stick.

  13. DCU beat UU(J) this evening 1-11 0-9 setting up a UoG (NUIG) vs DCU final this Thursday evening (details TBC for now) in the Freshers A Football. Galway beat Queens 3-15 to 1-6 in their semi last Thursday while the DCU/UU game was delayed until tonight due to the pitch in Jordanstown being unplayable with rain last week.

    Plenty of Mayo interest in the University of Galway side with Tom O’Flaherty captain and Brendan Gaughan, John MacMonagle, Jack O’Reilly, Matthew Morris, Cathal Clarke and Ronan Holmes all involved.

    They’ve tended to stream the Freshers A Football Final in recent years at the Higher Education YouTube ( so hopefully a stream pops up Thursday evening for that game too.

  14. It was crazy back in the old days at St Gerald’s. Players would have to walk all the way up to McHale Park for training after school and then lads who relied on the bus would have to thumb a lift home afterwards often in the dark.

    It was only when they got their own training pitch next to the school that they started making progress.

    Also delighted to see that a great spread of clubs represented on the team, not just Mitchels lads. Parke, Breaffy, Ballintubber and probably a few Islandeady guys too

  15. Whitey, a bit like the centre of excellences resources are a key component.
    With over 600 boys and such a big hinterland another massive help obviously 🙂

  16. Back in the day they even had Moy Davitts and Balla lads as well as the ones from the clubs I mentioned.

    My last year there, not one lad from the school was on the Mayo minor team-which was crazy when you think about it

    And look at that management team they have-several inter county players and a former inter county S&C coach

  17. @whitey: Remember having to make do with the ‘pitch’ up at St. Pats for a good few sessions over the years. Not a shower in sight and togging in the wide open bike shed facing the road was always fun.

    Still remember the lads in ’97 (not nearly as far ahead of me as I’d like) managing to make the Hogan Cup Final without a pitch. Incredible stuff, despite the result in the final. Fair play to Joe McCabe & Ned Murren, they turned the football fortunes of the school on its head massively. A gap from 1929 for the first to 1996 for the 2nd Connacht titles and now sitting on a total of 8. Not half bad work driven by a Longford man (and both were sound teachers too).

  18. I was there in Neds time when Balyhaunis were the big rivals-managed by Neds brother.

    Back then many of the best players would have gone to St Jarlath’s, so Mayo schools football was always going to struggle.

    There was also an incredible amount of politics involved with the Mayo minors back then . If you played for Jarlath’s you were pretty much guaranteed a spot on the starting 15 and players from “unfashionable” clubs with no “pull” on the court board rarely got a look in.

    I know of 2 lads who were released from the extended panel a week before a Connaught Final, and on the day of the final there were brand new fellas drafted into the panel who hadn’t as much attended a training session all year

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