Championship action is now starting to come thick and fast for all of our inter-county teams. This coming Friday evening it’s the turn of the county’s Minors.
As was the case last year, the U17 provincial championship is being played on a round-robin basis, with four rounds of group games following which the top team goes straight into the Connacht final, while the second and third placed teams contest the semi-final. The bottom two counties in the round-robin series qualify for a B final.
This year our opening round fixture is against Leitrim. That match has been fixed for this Friday evening (17th May) at Ballinamore, where throw-in is set for 7.30pm. (NB: Note change of venue and throw-in time from what was previously announced).
Last year’s Minor campaign ended in disappointment for the county, with losses to Roscommon and Galway in the round-robin ties resulting in the county’s elimination at that stage. But this year sees a whole new crop of players coming through, with their own hopes and aims for the Minor campaign facing them.
As Ger Flanagan reports in his preview piece in this week’s Mayo News (paper and digital editions), Tomás Morley and his management team – which includes Tom Mulderrig, Fergal Kelly, Kevin Filan, Kieran Lavelle and Paul Cunney – has from the start of the year worked with a large group of U17s, ninety in all, from which a Championship panel of 31 players has been selected.
Preparation for the Championship has included a raft of challenge matches, the bulk of which they won. This included successes over highly-fancied Dublin (twice) and Tyrone. Build-up for the summer also incorporated a bonding weekend on Clare Island for the playing panel and the management team back in April.
Details of the 2019 Minor panel are as follows:
Mayo Minor Panel 2019: Lee Tolan-Jennings (Tourmakeady – goalkeeper), Conor Canny (Kiltimagh – goalkeeper), Luke Jennings (Ballinrobe – goalkeeper); Dylan Thornton (Ballina Stephenites), Conor Reid (Moy Davitts), Frank Irwin (Ballina Stephenites), Sam Callinan (Ballina Stephenites), Luke McNicholas (Swinford), Rory Morrin (Ballina Stephenites), Ethan Henry (Mayo Gaels), Paul Walsh (Castlebar Mitchels), Robbie Finnerty (Ballintubber), Owen McHale (Belmullet), Paddy Heneghan (Castlebar Mitchels), John Grady (Westport), Ciaran Mylett (Castlebar Mitchels), Ronan Hughes (The Neale), Aidan Cosgrove (Kiltimagh), Sean Hession (Hollymount/Carramore), Eoin Gilraine (Ballinrobe), Emmet Murphy (Castlebar Mitchels), Ruairi Keane (Mayo Gaels), Alfie Morrison (Louisburgh), Oisin Tunney (Breaffy), Mark Tighe (Kilcommon), Shaun Dempsey (Balla), Ciaran Boland (Ballina Stephenites), Ray Walsh (Westport), Niall Feeney (Ballina Stephenites), James Walsh (Burrishoole), Cian O’Connell (Ballinrobe).
Needless to say, the vast majority of this year’s panel weren’t involved last year. Those who were include Aidan Cosgrove, Rory Keane, Alfie Morrison, Ethan Henry, Paddy Heneghan, Ciaran Moylette, Frank Irwin (son of ex-Mayo goalkeeper Gabriel) and Ray Walsh.
Best of luck to the Minors and here’s hoping that their upcoming Championship campaign is a positive one for them.