Mighty Minors claim Connacht crown

Mayo this evening claimed back-to-back Connacht Minor titles when a storming second half in Tuam saw them defeat Galway by six points. Galway had led by a point at the break but the Mayo lads won by 2-13 to 1-10 at the end of what was a highly entertaining U17 contest.

The match got underway in bright evening sunshine, so bright in fact that when the camera panned out it was impossible to these colour-blind eyes to tell the teams apart. Both wore dark tops and white shorts and so, with the glare of the sun and the condition I suffer from which the GAA takes no account of, I was in a bit of bother trying to decipher who was whom.

Our lads were also a bit uncertain early doors. Galway scored for the opening three points, settling first in this provincial decider.

Thirteen minutes had passed before we opened our account, via a Tom Lydon free. We then added four further points in short order – from Tiernan Egan, Darragh Byrne (two) and Senan Guilfoyle – all from play.

The home side responded in kind, with four unanswered scores to take a two-point lead. They added one more before the break, a score bookended by points for us from Rio Mortimer and Fionan O’Reilly, as the young Tribesmen took a one-point lead into the dressing room.

Galway got the opening score after the break. As we came forward, the shawl was unfurled – it’s depressing to see such tactics being deployed at U17 level and, to our credit, it was an approach we largely eschewed – but Darragh Beirne found a gap from which to shoot over.

The Claremorris player got our next one too, after they’d nudged two clear again. This time it was a case of quick-thinking by the player named as MOTM on the TG4 coverage, as Tom Lydon’s free came back off the upright, and Darragh grabbed the rebound and booted it over.

Gavin Forry had only just come on for Josh Carey when, after a super forward burst by Darragh Beirne, the Mitchels player was fouled in the square. Tom Lydon made no mistake from the penalty spot.

Opportunity was now knocking for us and we didn’t need a second invite. Gavin Forry pointed to end a quite brilliant kick-passing move, that saw the ball transferred swiftly from our goalmouth to theirs, and then sub Thomas Tuffy drilled the ball low and hard to the corner of the net to push us six clear midway through the second half.

To their credit, Galway battled back and their goal three minutes later briefly brought the contest back to life. That was, though, the final score they registered in this game, as we tacked on three further points, all of them frees, two from Tom Lydon and one from Darragh Beirne to seal a rather comfortable six-point win.

Tonight’s victory means we’ve now won the Connacht Minor crown for the 42nd time. Both teams go forward to the All-Ireland quarter-finals – I can’t see who we’re up against there but, you know, I wouldn’t bet against a third meeting between tonight’s two teams at some stage between now and when the Tom Markham Cup is eventually presented this summer.

Well done to our young bucks, and well done too to Seán Deane and his management team, on tonight’s Connacht title success and the best of luck to them in the forthcoming All-Ireland Series.

Mayo: Conor Meaney; James Lavelle, Eoin McGreal, Yousif Coghill; Jamie Clarke, Rio Mortimer (0-1), Fionan O’Reilly (0-1); Tiernan Egan (0-1), Shane Cunningham; Colm Lynch, Tom Lydon (1-3, penalty goal and three frees), Dara Neary; Darragh Beirne (0-5, two frees), Josh Carey, Senan Guilfoyle (0-1). Subs: Gavin Forry (0-1) for Carey, Thomas Tuffy (1-0) for Neary, Seán Walsh for O’Reilly, Conor Ryder for Egan, Ryan Gibbons for Lynch.

We’ll have a Final Whistle pod from Tuam Stadium up on Patreon later on tonight, in which we’ll be reviewing the Minors’ win over Galway.

26 thoughts on “Mighty Minors claim Connacht crown

  1. https://www.gaa.ie/football/gaa-football-all-ireland-minor-championship/fixtures

    We’ll be up Saturday 10th June, 14:00 against the Runner Up from Ulster.

    On all form you’d expect Monaghan as Derry have been cruising most of the year (scoring +80 and conceding just the 17 in their group stages).

    Fantastic team performance for the lads. You couldn’t argue with Beirne being man of the match, he did a lot of damage and massive tracking back and earning turnovers (as usual), but McGreal, Mortimer, Coghill or Clarke could easily have been given the nod for the award without argument.

  2. Great win for the Mayo minors, slow start but they got stuck in with some fantastic football, the full panel played a huge part in winning the Connacht final. Well done to the coaches & all the back room team, I love to see young players playing with huge Confidence,

  3. Darragh Beirne looks a real natural. Just very comfortable on the ball and bags a few scores every game.
    Eoin McGreal was very good the first half when others weren’t as strong.
    Thought Yoshif Coghill and Jamie Clarke brought the ball out really well in the second half especially when we needed to be composed and keep possession.
    Gavin Forry can be a good super sub to lift things. Some players coming in suits them better than starting.

  4. Hugely impressive win this evening. Very optimistic about the future of Mayo football when you see the level of ability shown last year and this.

  5. Thought the ref done a great job for the most part and let the game flow. I note the blanket defence is filtering down from senior through to the youth ranks in Galway to a degree, I suppose it can be effective at times…but not sure most Galway football people embrace it though.

  6. Galway by far the better team in the first half.Great full back display.
    They missed 2 easy frees early in the second half and Mayo scored the penalty to change the game, confidence is a great thing especially for young lads.
    Typical minor,both sets of subs contributed greatly.

  7. @Soprano: Wouldn’t agree on that one, at all.

    Something like all but 1 of our yellow cards this evening were for dissent. Normally I’d be furious with lads, at any level, for being foolish and getting into that position but hard to fault any of them tonight. Some very odd and questionable, or outright wrong, calls.

    More than once a free that should have gone one way was given the other. Set the tone early on with Coen slipping, taking out O’Reilly’s legs and somehow giving a free against him to gift Galway the first score. That in a move that involved a Galway wing forward taking 9 or 10 steps before finally having a hop while Carey had been pulled for steps in a slightly earlier move at the other end.

  8. A great football man here in Meath called the ref fussy.
    It is a problem with the system, refs at minor level trying to get a foot on the refs ladder.
    Blame the man in the stand scoring his performance.
    If players made no mistakes there would be no scores, refs make mistakes too

  9. Thought the ref was fine and it’s the first time i recall seeing him in action, younger that some other refs and was able to keep up with the action and allowed the game to flow.

  10. Good win. Played some great football and I thought a lot of them looked very comfortable on the ball. As a team overall they lack physicality but I really like their style of play. Also thought the ref did ok though soft frees were awarded to both teams. Still a distance to go to win All Ireland and we know what happened last year but a Connacht title is something to be proud of and beating Galway in final makes it more special

  11. Massive congrats to our minors on their connacht title. It’s important for the future that we are producing players and teams at these grades that are winning provincial titles. Some impressive footballers on that pitch last night. Huge credit must go to the Sean Deane and his selectors for creating the environment for these skillful players to provide fast movement of the ball within a well organised positional structure. I hope some day we see him managing our U20 teams, especially after the last dire appointment that has afflicted us at such a vital grade over the past couple of years. Anyways, great victory again last night and best of luck to our lads in the All Ireland campaign.

  12. Morning all, anyone know where i can watch this game?
    In oz at moment!

  13. I didn’t say the ref was perfect, but I’m humble opinion it was one of the better referring performances I’ve seen in a while. Anyway, it was great to have a Mayo victory in Tuam stadium just before they tear down the old stand!! Remember being in it in 1999 sitting beside a Galway fella I knew, he had my ribs blackened with elbows every time Galway would score, but we had the final say, I think it was McDonald that came on and swung it for us.

  14. Final Whistle pod went up on Patreon last night. A bit later than usual but still worth a listen – plenty of post-match reaction to the Minors’ win.

  15. Some very fluid footballers in that Mayo team that beat Galway.
    Defenders attacking and then forwards back defending.
    The number 22 that scored the goal from play showed us how it’s do, no blasting the ball but keeping it right on the grass into the corner.

    A few guys looked gassed 5 minutes before the game ended.

    Number 5 has unbelievable skills with the ball in hand, movement etc, reminds me of Mullin.

  16. Being a small bit pedantic WJ but we have Conor Meaney playing in goal for us instead of Colm ,of “Snapper ” fame.

  17. Really good game on a perfect evening. Very impressed with the Mayo subs, particularly Forty and more so with Duffy from Swinford. Took the goal chance expertly and foraged all over the field from there to the end. Went to the hayshed for the final time, watched Milltown win their first senior football title there in 1971, a while ago. The seats are still like granite on it.

  18. @Rober, my last time in Tuam Stadium was for the 2017 U21 Mayo v Galway game, I was shocked when I saw the Stand, seats etc, a trip back in time.

  19. Listening to Rio interview on the pod, its hard to believe he is only 16/17 years of age. Sounds a remarkable well rounded intelligent young man and a right good footballer as well.

  20. The Ulster Minor Final (Derry vs Monaghan) is on TG4 Sunday at 6pm (coverage starts 5.45pm).

    Chance to catch a look at the team (runner up) we’ll be facing in the QF.

  21. Mayo88 I thought the same. No.5 was Jamie Clarke. He looked so composed and confident on the ball and he defended very effectively. Could make a senior player some day.

  22. Derry have been out some serious beatings to their opponents in Ulster

  23. So it’s Monaghan for us… only after a penalty shoot out. Could be a tricky assignment.

  24. That Derry/Monaghan game was very enjoyable and it looks like ourselves and Galway have serious opposition ahead. I hope the GAA give us plenty of notice on dates and venues to allow for a bit of planning ahead. Wonder will they make it a double header.

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