Minor meltdown a major shock

Mayo MFC team 2015

Photo: @MayoGAA

I wasn’t at MacHale Park yesterday evening and only heard some of the first half commentary on Midwest before heading out for the evening but the final score in the minors’ Connacht semi-final match with Galway, 3-14 to 1-3, brooks no real argument. This was a hammering of fairly historic proportions – the losing margin of 17 points equating exactly with the amount we had to spare over their seniors in Salthill two summer ago – and its shock value is magnified by the fact that few saw it coming.

The loss of two key players prior to throw-in – with midfielder David Hanley and experienced wing-forward Sharoize Akram unable to start due to injury – obviously didn’t help, nor did the departure through injury of team captain Barry Duffy early in the first half. The goal we scored, via Moy Davitts’ Liam Byrne, masked Galway’s dominance for a time in that opening period but, shorn of our first-choice midfield pairing, the visitors took complete control around the middle and used this platform to rack up a flurry of scores.

By half-time our goose was already sizzling and the three goals the young Tribesmen added after the break turned a trimming into a real thrashing. Our 2015 minor championship campaign may only have lasted an hour but I’d say everyone in our camp – on the pitch, on the line and in the stands – would have been relieved when the final whistle sounded yesterday evening.

Inevitably after such a thumping the focus will turn – as it already has in the comments here on the site – on underage structures and all that within the county. This isn’t a debate I can add anything to do, I’m afraid, as my knowledge about what’s being done at underage level relates to what’s happening up here in Dublin (where, from what I can see, loads is being done) rather than what’s going on (or not, as they case may be) back in Mayo.

The fact that we’ve done so well at minor in recent years – including claiming what I’ve always felt was an under-celebrated Tom Markham Cup success in 2013, arriving as it did under the dark shadow of yet more All-Ireland final misery at senior level – lends weight to the argument that all can’t be bad at minor level. Set against this, though, a 17-point thumping in a Connacht semi-final suggests fairly strongly that a serious look needs to be had at this area, not least given the way that our fortunes have also gone so far south at U21 level in recent years.

So yesterday evening’s result means that it won’t after all be a double provincial decider between ourselves and Sligo at Hyde Park in a fortnight’s time. And, for the first time since 2011, this year the county won’t be featuring in the All-Ireland series at minor level. After the magnitude of last night’s defeat, however, we can’t really have any complaints about such an outcome.

35 thoughts on “Minor meltdown a major shock

  1. The problem is our antiquated system of county minor panel selection.
    East West North South trials still used.
    Not enough emphasis on.the top 4 Div 1 teams where all the big mobile talent is. Put voluntary scouts in place tracking the best 50 players.

  2. Alarming annihiation of our backs by Westmeath earlier this morning. Lessons not being learned. Sligo will be quietly confident.

  3. Westmeath challenge? Big pacy forwards who run at you are a problem for our backs. Westmeath after converting their centre back have a very direct physical forward line.
    The match yesterday would be interesting to see the volume of posessions n attacks. We had so little ball we didnt even have wides.
    6 footers with football ability is what used to be the Mayo archetype. Why are we evolving towards small players?

  4. Any word on the challenge with Westmeath? Score? Scorers? Lineup? Who played well etc?

  5. So your telling me a good division 3/4 player at county minor shouldn’t have the same chance as a divion1/2 player.your deluded! And as for the county cup North East west south didn’t hear anyone complaining about it when we won the all Ireland minor!!!

  6. Agree with Aidan there, complete rubbish to dismiss young lads because they play in lower divisions but to combat the problem of 17/18 year olds playing against weaker opposition all the time , that’s where the academy argument comes into play .

  7. I made the point on another thread that Adam Gallagher is one of the few game winner type minors from the lower divisions of minor.
    I have an opinion and Im basing it on likely game winning impact of players. The overwhelming majority of our best minors always come from division 1. Yes I believe it possible but unlikely that there is much talent that can win minor All Irelands in Division 3 n 4. Exceptional cases were Mortimers/Keith Higgins//Adam Gallagher. In far too many years better Divisuon players watch on as smaller only okay Division 2/3/4 players get panel places. In 2013 we seen sense n Breaffy had most places they were the best Div 1 minor team. Players are in most cases not going to be prepared after spending all their playing days at a poor standard.

  8. As a light hearted challenge. Since 1995 minors in Tuam up to yesterday. I predict that I can pick 20 comfortably 6′ minors that were mobile with good football ability and then performed well in either midfield or attack from Division one Mayo minor teams. I will try the same for Division 3/4 n if stuck add in some Division 2. I predict already there will be zero comparison in midfield\attacking talent that can also bring it physically. Hence my assertation my viewpoint on not concentrating on.Div 1 may have some merit.

  9. Please wait till overnight if anyone wants to riposte to the Div 1 20 (one or two might get wrong where there team had slipped to two but pretty sure I can recall in years since 95 who were the Div 1 Mayo minor players).

  10. That Cork v Kerry game stirs bad memories.
    I amsure that P Hughes is a nice man and did not set out to do an injustice but why do successful counties always get the big decisions.Cant understand how Brian Sheehan remained on field too.
    And why does the replay go to Killarney when Cork not feasible.We could yravel to Limerick but seems Kerry must have games close to home.
    There is at least a perception of bias in facour of Kerry and the GAA wont address it.I dont think we are any other team should have to be more than one point better than Kerry to get the decision but it looks like we need to be 5 or 6 better to be sure.

  11. 95 – Frank Molloy
    95 – David Heaney
    96/97/98 – Ger Brady Ballina
    97 – Ger Brady Claremorris
    98/99 – Robert Moran
    99 – Billie Joe Padden
    99 – Eoin Gallagher
    99 – Gavin Duffy
    99 – James Gill
    07 – Seamus OShea
    08 – Aidan OShea
    08 – Alan.Freeman
    2010 – Cillian.OConnor
    2013 – Liam Irwin
    2014 – Cian Hanley
    2007 – Pearce Hanley
    Okay so just recalling without Google that list cannot be even approached by lower divisions combined.
    I have:
    Austin OMalley 97
    Jarlath OMalley 96
    TJ Byrne 2014
    Adam Gallagher 2010?
    Four players into the lower division players at minor struggling for mobile midgielders or attackers in.last 20 years.

  12. Mayo 1-12 Westmesth 0-7. The lesson I have learned is not to listen to Ger Bohan, talking about alarming annihilations of our backs

  13. In fairness red cool , David Brady tweeted the exact same sentiment , maybe he was just repeating that.

  14. David made no mention of our backs being annihilated, Westmeath practiced parking the bus today and trying to counter at speed, and David made reference to the Leinster Final maybe not being as one sided as people expect. Dublin are 1/500 with the bookies in a Leinster Final.

    When you concede 0-7 in a game how can your backs be torn to shreds

  15. Ahem , not being argumentative but if you score 0-7 against Mayo it doesn’t bode well for a championship game coming up against the dubs ,I don’t know how the fook that could equate to the upcoming Leinster final not being as one sided as expected .

  16. I have a feeling the 2 of ye might be trying to say the thing but in different ways. Dont listen too much to what u hear from others. Alot of it is hear say and make believe. I wasnt at the minor match so I wont comment on it but the scoreline didnt look good. The minor games are notoriously unpredictable. Only 2 months ago Donegal were going to win the minors outright and they didnt even make an Ulster final. Sligo folk have been very confident about their minor team this year and wont worry about Galway too much and with a big Sligo crowd there then who knows. Pity there is no second chance in Connacht for our minors as another game could give them back some confidence but that is the system.

  17. Even if we haf a full deck to play with, i doubt the result would have been much different.
    That was a fabulous Galway side on display last night at McHale, big, strong down the middle and skilfull. It’s quite possible they could win the all Ireland. Our lads were no match in most sectors, and we were just not at the races this time. Pity about the margin, but no shame going down to a great side.
    Good luck Galway.

  18. I was at the Minor match. Galway deserved to win by more than that. They had the foot off the gas in the closing 10 minutes. Mayo team was that poor. We could not wait for the full time whistle. The Minor teams are notorious for not turning up sometimes. There is nothing new about that. I felt sorry for the young lads and especially for management team. They have worked so well together in the past and they have given us such great memories over the last couple of years. Last years Minor semi was on of the best games of football we ever had. Before the ball was thrown in yesterday that minor semi final v Kerry was their first defeat in Championship football. Expectations were sky high because we had set the bar so high for ourselves over the last few seasons. Its only a game of underage football after all, and thankfully nobody died.

  19. PJmcmanus Thanks for writing your last post, well said, and we’ll wrote Ifelt like posting but a mixture of frustration mostly with some of the posts and the extent of the defeat.I wad’slost for words. Young men have by now put a few years onto this.

  20. Posters, these are our young men only a few years ago they were children.The amount of time hope,effort by young talented teenagers, their parents, their clubs .It all went wrong on the day so fucking what.Well I’ll tell some of you so fucking what! The blamer out there don’t know their arse from their elbow. I’ll bet most of them couldn’t kick snow of a rope but they know who to blame!

  21. Hi REDCOL

    I just posted what I was told by somebody that would know. I wasn’t there. Maybe you were. Otherwise I guess what I was told was as valid. If not I apologise. For the record I understand we lost 1.18 to 1.11.

  22. Bit of loose talk here….if we are not sure maybe we should not run with the hearsay.Some difference in those scores.
    Roscommon will famcy chances v Fermanagh.

  23. Lashitout
    Dont think posters have blamed the lads.It was a poor performance .Thats a fact.Wish it was otherwise but it wasnt. Sorry.

  24. JP. I don’t get what naming players since 1995 has to do with anything. The fact is most of the better players will be in the top division, but not all of them. Why not give them all the chance and then pick the best ones? Why limit ourselves by ruling out players from lower divisions without even seeing them?
    Go through the all Ireland winning minor team from 2013 – not all of them were from top teams.
    Look at players like Paul Galvin or Brian Dooher, would Kerry/Tyrone have been better off if they ruled them out before giving them a chance? Of course not.

    The fact that you were able to name any player from outside the top division in your example actually disproves your argument to discount them completely… To discount them, you needed to not be able to name any.

  25. Players are picked on their ability not on the status of their club….I hope that is the case anyway. Galway minor captain from the Arann Islands club, a junior club at that. Makes no difference where you are from.

  26. Didn’t think it was particularly barbed but no problem. Your name above the door,
    Cheers

  27. No worries, Paul – it’s just it was directly aimed at him and not the point he was making, which was the problem. Thanks for your understanding.

  28. TheMaestro I agree with you is the thing. I’m only highlighting the statistical size of the gap (as best I can) in terms of proportion of talent that was perfect for inter county level and subsequently went on to perform. The fact I highlighted others outside of Div 1 shows the smaller proportion.

  29. Galway used the wind in the first half and popped shot after shot over. Mayo simply ignored the wind in their favour in the second half.

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