With most of the focus at the minute on the seniors and their backdoor concerns, the start of this year’s minor championship has kinda snuck up on us. The provincial minor campaign got underway last Saturday with a quarter-final meeting between Roscommon and Sligo – which the young Rossies won by the narrowest of margins, on a 0-14 to 2-7 scoreline – and our lads make their appearance tonight.
This evening’s semi-final tie against Leitrim at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon, is a hugely important fixture, for the simple reason that the winners are guaranteed a place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals, regardless of how they get on in the Connacht final. This is because the backdoor only operates at minor level at the provincial final stage (which, on the face of it, is an even dafter set-up than at senior) and so it makes this evening’s match a real all-or-nothing affair. Throw-in at Páirc Seán this evening is at 7.30pm.
The county has certainly experienced contrasting fortunes in this grade in recent years. The highs of 2013 and the capture of a seventh Tom Markham Cup title that year gave way to last year’s crushing 17-point hammering by Galway at the provincial semi-final stage. There was a fair bit of head-scratching here and elsewhere after that reversal and as a result there’ll be added interest in how this year’s crop of minors perform.
I’m pretty much in the dark about this year’s minors so Austin Garvin’s match preview in this week’s Mayo News (here) was a useful primer for me as I’m sure it will be for some of you as well. Needless to say I won’t be heading to Carrick myself this evening but I’ll cobble together a report of sorts on the match before the night is out.
Best of luck to Enda Gilvarry and his charges tonight.
UPDATES: Midwest Radio will be doing full live commentary of the match this evening. Also, the starting fifteen and subs for the fixture have now been named – full details here. Good luck to them.