Minors get moving on Friday

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.

68 thoughts on “Minors get moving on Friday

  1. I believe Dylan Thornton Ballina is a nephew of David Brady. Ballina strongly represented with 6 players Castlebar who swepted the U16 division last year has 4, one third of the panel from 2 clubs. Alot of work has gone into the selection of this years panel lets all hope it pays off.

  2. Best of luck to the team and management for the year ahead.

    Ballina are the best represented club with 6 players, are they also the best represented club on the senior panel this year with 4 players and one on development panel??

  3. Wonder will the Connacht Council use seat numbers for the main stand for Roscommon game or will seat allocation be first come first served?

  4. Good luck to the minors. It’s the start of a journey for them. Hopefully a successful one and one where their development is monitored and guided as they move onto u20. Lots of distractions out there for young fellas. 18-21 are crucial years in the development of the individual. On and off the field.

    Up Mayo

  5. Dylan Thorton is indeed the nephew if David Brady and he hasxa younger brothercwho is a fine footballer too. Frank Irwin is a real talenf and is the son of former Mayo goalkeeper Gabriel.
    Keep an eye on Niall Feeney who is a traditional classy lefty forward!

  6. That minor team has potential to win an all Ireland i think serious teamayo

  7. Is that 100% correct that they beat Dublin in a challenge. I was told Dublin won by four points .

  8. Jesus lads- one game at a time. Forget about all-Ireland’s for a while yet. I see another Kiltimagh player as goalie. As a club they have some record for producing players who play in goal for Mayo.

  9. According to Thomas Morley’s twitter account Mayo beat Dublin 4-12 to 3-11 in late February.

  10. Ger Flanagan reports said we played 10 challenge games winning 7 which included Dublin twice. Losing Narrowly to Kerry and Meath.

  11. That is a really interesting full pager on the Mayo minor setup in the Mayo news.
    They operated three distinct panels of 90 players up until earlier in the year.
    – Group 1 of 30 players being the main group of the stronger more experienced players.
    – Group 2 of 30 players those with the potential to develop up to that Group 1 level
    – Group 3 of 30 players where they would be it seems a younger or less developed group. You would imagine this is on an eye towards next year as it would be obvious that this group would have more of the U16s
    It ended up that 6 players were brought in after several months from Group 2 into Group 1.
    Some of the other things noted:
    – It was felt 36 was too large a minor panel last year when it comes around to dedicated coaching and things like who togs on match day.
    – The kicking skills are stronger this year in terms of passing and having more two-sided players
    – They have had a series of challenge games with some promising results. I would say in particular the narrow loss to Kerry. We have been a long way off Kerry since 2015.

  12. Dublin minors aren’t too strong i seen their group in action at U15 level two years ago in a Offaly ran tournament in which Kerry walked. Losing Narrowly to Kerry and Meath is more noteworthy. Galway look like the strongest in Connacht again having won both the Ted Webb cup and Shield last year. Mayo under Morley will be fit and well organized and that is half the battle for any championship.

  13. Mayo had way less work done by Ted Webb stage last year, fairly confident we have moved on a lot. Also, the Ted Webb was played in crap weather whilst Galway played a blanket. U16s have not much more than a 30 yard boot on them especially in bad weather. Galway were simply stronger but did have some good forwards admittedly.
    I think we can take it as read that Galway will remain strong at minor, but I’v seen nothing from them but blanket football at minor and u16 the last number of years.
    Dublin at u15 would bear no relation to Dublin now at u17. Dublin beat Meath in the Leinster minor round robin this year, I would imagine they are strong enough.
    Mayo have better forwards this year with Ciaran Mylett, Paul Walsh, Paddy Heneghan. Then they have the size and strength of Frank Irwin, Conor Reid and Aidan Cosgrave around the middle.

  14. @ jp. All good for clubs that 90 players get that extra bit of coaching. They will return to their clubs all the better for the experience.
    Also good in that a lot of players have got a craic at the whip.
    There just appears to be a very positive atmosphere around at the moment. Young guys want to play Gaelic football for their county.
    Ballina very much back on track with delivering quality under age players…
    Thanks to JP and other posters who are familiar with the under age scene and give us all an appetite for supporting the Green above the red

  15. Ethan Henry #6 in the above picture is a big lad for U17, stood out for St Colmans this year and was man of the match in the Connaught School A Final against St Geralds with some lads 2 years older. Paddy Heneghan and Ciaran Mylette were also big players for St Geralds. Frank Irwin and Dylan Thornton were both played midfield for St Muredach this year as did Conor Reid for St Joseph Foxford. Aidan Cosgrove and Ruairi Keane both played last year so they will be even stronger this year.
    I wouldnt look into Ted Webb for an indicator, take the cup final for instance only 8 of that starting Mayo N/S team have made the panel. From the 60 players involved in the Ted Webb series 12 players were selected from both the Mayo N/S and E/W panels groups. Paddy Heneghan Castlebar and Ruairi keane Mayo Gaels both involved in last years Mayo U17 panel didnt play in the Ted Webb. Neither did Ballina’s Sam Callinan and Ciaran Boland both U15 at the time. Owen McHale Belmullet, Shaun Dempsey Balla and Ronan Hughes The Neale were the other three who werent involved.

  16. @Jp i attended the Ted Webb cup last summer and i don’t recall it played in bad weather, group games was played mid August and the finals was played on the first Friday in September. All teams had loads of work in the build up to that tournament.

    Galway play with a system all down through the ranks alright and they produce a number of tall,physical and athletic players that gives them the edge at this grade, Remember minor is U17 level now so still a development grade.

    The current Dublin U17 team have a lot of their U15 players from 2 years ago. They put more focus on U20 level nowadays and the players to excel at the level are more likely to be lads that are preforming well at club level and never played at U15,16 or minor football for Dublin.

  17. Sounds like a very professional set up .. The 3 groups is very interesting .. All players being developed rather than being culled from main panel ,lads are still part of a Mayo set up . Recently counties have been picking by height, strength , mobility and of course ability but this way your smaller , less experienced and depending on date of birth – younger player , all are exposed to good coaching .. Fair play and best of luck to them .

  18. It’s a good point My Ball.
    Plus, with the game becoming so tactical if you miss out on the higher standard of coaching ages 16-17 yer probably not going to get back in as an U19/U20 for the U20 level. If you miss the u20 level it’s unlikely you could play senior.
    So, yes, Mayo would have been missing many born later in the year players.
    Typically a county senior team 50% of the players are Jan-April. 30% May – August. 20% Sept – December.
    Meaning if you do things right you can expand your effective pick by another 50% if one managed to have the same volume of children coached at each 1/3 of the year.

  19. Best wishes to the Mayo U17 team, Tomas Morley and his management team. I have the height of respect for Tomas and his backroom team, all good Mayo football people. While I am here I should not forget the many great Mayo football people name checked on the media this week and the work they are involved in.
    I used to be a big follower of past Minor teams but it all became too difficult to handle for your average punter. Year on year out watching young lads that lacked the necessary aggression levels when going for the 50 50 ball in the inter county game. Individuals who could not catch over their head, foot pass to the intended target, carry the ball into the tackle and cough up easy possession, impishly drop the ball at the first sign of a tackle. What we do get in abundance is players who are good at finding and running down every cul de sac in Ballinamore and Pairc Sean. Players who will maximize their time on the ball, running and carrying the ball with seemingly no coherent plan to kick it over the bar. The Ted Webb of 2018 is good enough for me to gauge where we are going in to this years crop. Galway/Roscommon to lead the provence while we keep our noses in front of Sligo/Leitrim for another year. Our trajectory since 2014 cannot be overlooked and it has been going in the wrong direction. We have our annual enthusiastic start to the season up and running now. I acknowledge that couple of posters who follow the Bord na nOige scene in the county more closely than I do but until my eyes start to deceive me, I won’t be going to Ballinamore any time soon, and until the trend changes I believe as I did last year that Tomas has his work cut out for himself

  20. @ PJ If you were just going by the Ted Webb 2018 would Mayo not be 2nd to Galway considering Galway beat Mayo in both the cup and shield finals?

  21. Shaun Dempsey from Balla gaa club is definitely one to watch out for. Two footed with great balance, kicking points for fun with balla. Think his father john has a all-ireland minor medal from the early 90s

  22. John Dempsey was part of our All Ireland winning Mayo minor panel in 1985

  23. Shaun Dempsey also a 1st cousin to the above mentioned Ethan Henry. Have seen both play for their respective clubs, Henry a serious strength and long range scorer. Young Dempsey, (just turned 16 I believe!) fast paced and deadly determined, his runs can be serious!

  24. @mayomessi. You must know near every young footballer in the county fair play to you. Its great to hear about the young talent that’s on its way and who to look out for in the U17’s and hopefully in years to come in the Seniors.

  25. Aidan Cosgrove another serious talent on his was up the ranks in my opinion

    Very strong goalkeeper midfield and attack kerry are serious minor though there the ones to stop

    In morley we trust!!

  26. Fair play again to the lads here posting detailed updated and analysis on younger players. It’s very interesting. The only BUT I have is, when we say they are talented…what is being used to measure this? We can really only gauge it when they compete against their peers form other counties in competitive games.

    Like Ive said before. blanket or no blanket., Big players or no big players. We need to start beating Galway soon and regularly. The trend over the past 5/6 years has been downhill and needs to be rectified soon and fast.

    Best of luck to the u17 management team and players. Go out and win.

  27. Cillian out , Diarmuid fit to play . Seamie still out also. Mcdonagh touch and go .

    I can’t fathom how cillian came on for tubber a few weeks ago though .

  28. Point to note: whilst Galway have won the last 5 minor titles ourselves and Roscommon have had the better of it at u-21 level.

    In relation to COC I wish him well when he returns but his starting place should not be guaranteed. Too often he’s been a little quiet in the CF position and often does not score enough from play. Example- no scores from play against either Tipp or Kildare last year in the chip.

    I think a problem for him is a little lack of pace but as I say let’s hope he’s in top form when he returns.

  29. I’m starting to get a bit concerned about cillians fitness. He had an operation in December as I understand (according to Mayo news)? That’s now over 5 months ago. There aren’t many knee procedures other than an ACL knee reconstruction that have a recovery time of five months or greater. That fact that he played a club match about a month ago but still is not fit to tog for Mayo on May 24th is also a concern.
    Whatever happens we shouldn’t rush him back until he’s 100% fit. Not having him available for the championship would be a huge blow to our 2019 chances. It’s imoprtant to remember that while he is only 26/27, he’s already played more championship football in his career than probably 90% of intercounty players will play in an entire career.

  30. Cillians best position is full forward, he has one main weakness and that’s real pace to beat defenders so the closer he is to the goal the better for him ,he is the our best finisher in or around the box, he has been taking up the right corner forward position to accomadate Andy the last few years.But with Andy taking up more of an impact finisher role ,I feel Cillian will be our number 14 later this Summer with maybe 2 of Carr ,Coen ,Reape or Treacy playing off him.

  31. Also worried about Cillian now
    And we are also VERY light in midfield if donie is out

  32. I’d imagine that getting right back into the 1st team would be more of a challenge this time round given all the fitness work the squad has put in over the winter – look at how sharper Aidan has looked for instance. Don’t get me wrong Cillian’s a massive asset and I’m not suggesting he’ll be nailed on once he’s ready, but I’m not surprised to hear that he might need a little more time

  33. If Cillian is fit then he is guaranteed to start v Ros no question, he needs the game under his belt before Connacht final. He was never going to start in New York on an astro turf pitch after injury. We have some very good players coming up but they are not at Cillians level yet, also he is our main free taker, without him we have struggled with frees so in this area alone he is vital, I do agree his best position would be FF. If all are fit I can see a forward unit of Cillian, KMc, Carr, Doc, Duirmuid and one other from Boland or McDonagh with Coen, Andy, Tracey, Regan, Reape as options from the bench.

  34. @Spotlight, yes indeed no scores from play for COC against either Tipp or Kildare last year but he’s averaged 2 from play and 4.5 from placed balls over his career, which I think is invaluable.
    Also on a statistic related note, unless I’m mistaken the 10 scoreless minutes Andy played against New York broke a run of 19 championship games where he scored from play in each one.

  35. Hi All,
    I just wanted to mention the passing of a Dubs legend in Anton O Toole. He was a gentleman on and off the pitch…RIP

    Kind Regards
    Martin the Dub

  36. Crete Boom You are correct. My point was made badly. Roscommon underage no longer where it used to be. I didn’t want to say Sligo because as we all know we have that number. If you followed the game more closely you would have probably got there before me. In 2016 in Pairc Sean I watch a poor visiting side play Leitrim. As I was leaving I picked my top 10 footballers in my own head out of that 30 on view. Leitrim got the top 3 places even though they were well beaten. Later I was in Salthill watching a poor Galway side lift the title. I only had questions and no answers and that has not changed yet.

  37. @RIP, Anton O Toole..”The Blue Panther” one of Dublin’s all time Great Player’s!

  38. Rest In Peace Anton O’Toole a fine footballer in his day. Happy enough that David Gough is reffing our game with the Rossies he’s one of the better refs around

  39. Galway and Roscommon seems to have kicked into life. Galway started 1-7 to no score, 1-11 to 0-6 at halftime. Now half thru the second half Roscommon lead 1-13 to 1-12

  40. Full Time Mayo 1-10 Lietrim 0-6, Frank Irwin 1-5 in the second half

    Roscommon lead Galway 1-17 to 1-14 with a few minutes to go

  41. Mayo won 1-20 to 0-06 against Leitrim
    Roscommon won 1-17 to 1-15 against Galway

  42. Mayo really only got going in the second half against Leitrim. According to the public address announcer the Mayo team was so changed from that on the programme that the programme was useless. All I can say with certainty is that Frank Irwin started full forward and looked like a midfielder playing there. He moved out to midfield in the second half and looked far more at home there. Another player who caught my eye was a smallish wing forward sporting a Ciaran McDonald type ponytail although he did miss a close in one on one chance with the goalie, sidefooting wide.
    Why can teams not line out as per programme? Was this a try to confuse any watching Rossie/Galwaymen? It certainly confused me.

  43. Is there a reason the minor game v Ros isn’t on before the senior game instead of a stand alone game in ballina Friday evening? Be great for us travelling to the game from outside the county to see the minors

  44. I think it is the mayo juniors that are on before the senior game. Against Leitrim.

  45. Yes, the curtain raiser for the Mayo v Rosc game in Castlebar is the Junior semi v Leitrim. These fixtures were made months ago before any minor / U20 fixtures were made. Roscommon opted out of Junior at a late stage, giving Leitrim a walkover. As Leitrim have exited the Senior championship, apart from the qualifiers, they will probably make a decent effort in the Junior, holding nobody back. It will be a chance for their second string players to make their case for a chance on the senior team for the qualifiers. It’s not so long ago they beat Mayo in a Connacht Junior final. It could be a decent curtain raiser, athough 4.30 in the atfternoon might not be a great time for drawing a crowd.

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