Minors’ run ended by Monaghan

The county’s Minors were well beaten by Monaghan today in the All-Ireland MFC quarter-final at Páirc Seán MacDiarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon. It was a match in which they never really got a proper foothold at any stage and the Farney lads ran out deserving 1-15 to 1-8 winners.

Maybe the writing was on the wall today even before the two teams ran out onto the greasy pitch, heavy rain having fallen in advance and with a light drizzle still coming down. This was because Derry had put Galway to the sword in the day’s opening game and, with Monaghan having only lost to the Oak Leaf County on penalties in the Ulster final, the clear form line suggested this would be a tough one for us.

That hunch hardened when the Monaghan team ran out. They’re a physically imposing bunch, stacked with big, tall lads and that physical mismatch became apparent right from the throw-in.

We got the opening point, a free from Tommy Lydon. Monaghan settled quicker, though, with Matthew Finn booming over a ’45 that was still rising when it went over the bar. That was then followed by a point from play when they turned over our restart.

Suddenly, however, we were three points up. Josh Carey found himself in on goal with just the ‘keeper to beat and, although he shot at the goalie, the ball cannoned into the net. Darragh Beirne followed this up with a point and we were three to the good.

We then swapped points, a solo effort by Colm Lynch was our one, and at that stage, eleven minutes in, we looked in good shape.

It was then, however, that Monaghan took complete control of the contest. They hit us with 1-6 without reply, a fusillade that included four points from play in a devastating three-minute spell, with our sole reply coming from a second Darragh Beirne point. We went in five behind at the break and in all kinds of bother.

We took the fight to them early in the second half but found it all but impossible to make headway against their well-drilled, committed backline. And every time they broke forward, they did so menacingly.

Another three unanswered points saw the Farney lads’ lead stretch to seven points midway through the second half. We were now struggling to get the ball up the field and, understandably, some young heads were starting to drop.

The game was already well lost when James Lavelle was shown a ludicrous straight red. There was an initial foul, then a bit of afters and the Monaghan player went down holding his face. As soon as James was sent off, though, he was back up pumping his fist. Even accounting for the fact that this was an U17 game, it wasn’t an edifying sight.

We kept battling, trying for a goal that would put a gloss on the final scoreline but now, numerically disadvantaged, that was always going to be a major ask. We added two late points, from Colm Lynch and Darragh Beirne, but Monaghan ran out deserved seven-points winners at the finish.

So that’s it for the Minors for this year. It was a campaign where, as the Connacht Championship wore on, they got better, surviving that memorable shootout against Roscommon in the semi-final before enjoying a comfortable win over Galway in the provincial final. Today, however, proved a step too far against what was a very strong Monaghan side, a team that will prove hard to stop this year.

Commiserations to the lads on today’s loss and well done to them for what they achieved in this year’s Minor campaign. There’s no doubt but that we’ll be seeing a number of them again in a Mayo jersey over the coming years.

Mayo: Conor Meaney; James Lavelle, Eoin McGreal, Yousif Coghill; Jamie Clarke, Rio Mortimer, Fionan O’Reilly; Tiernan Egan, Shane Cunningham; Colm Lynch (0-2), Tommy Lydon (0-2, frees), Gavin Forry; Darragh Beirne (0-3), Josh Carey (1-0), Senan Guilfoyle. Subs: Thomas Tuffy for Guilfoyle, Dara Neary (0-1) for Carey, Seán Walsh for O’Reilly, Fionnan Burke for Forry, Conor Ryder for Lynch.

Our Final Whistle podcast, recorded at Páirc Seán after the match ended, is up on Patreon. Mike and I are joined by our regular Minor expert Nigel Reape and we also hear post-game from Seán Deane. Listen to the show here.

35 thoughts on “Minors’ run ended by Monaghan

  1. One AI minor title since 1985…not good enough! especially when you consider that outside of Dublin and Kerry we have a bigger or comparable playing population

    Tyrone have about 5 in that period.

  2. ‘Bigger or comparable playing population than any county outsize of Dublin/Kerry’

  3. Hard luck lads. Twas a tough game. Monaghan were like giants and seemed really strong.
    Well done on keeping going to the end. Better days are coming. There are some gems on this team and I know we’ll see them lighting up the biggest stage for Mayo in the years ahead.
    Maigheo go deo.

  4. Just listened to the podcast. Very impressed with Sean Deane. Hope he stays involved with this group. Would be nice if he moved up to U20S.

  5. It is not about winning all Ireland’s at u 17 level.
    Great to compete.

    Monaghan put a lot of emphasis on S & C ,not sure it is the right road to go at this level.
    Some very skilled players on our team, I would not worry.
    Cork robbed against Dublin.

  6. These guys are only minors I wouldn’t say it not good enough not to have won a title for a while. Give them a break.

    Monaghan looked far bulkier and bigger to in comparison was a tough game for the guys. They will come back next year but hope they don’t beat themselves up over it either only a game after all!

  7. @clare well unfortunately they won’t be back next year as you see there is an age limit for them……..

  8. I agree Clare, our lads will mature naturally and be better footballers in a few years.
    S&C at Minor level is a pity and not the way forward.
    God be with the days when minors played with flair and abundant

  9. Not that it overly matters but I see the official score line was 1-16 to 1-8. Ulster football simply very strong this year and could well be Ulster AI final like it was Connacht AI final last year.

    @Spotlight Dublin only won one minor AI since 1984 they didn’t seem to do so bad. Minor especially now as U17 is all about player development and getting as many as possible to play for the senior team in the years ahead.

  10. Thanks, Mayomagic – I need to have a look at the stream again as there was a problem with the scoreboard in Carrick in the second half so there was a bit of confusion over the final score for Monaghan. No doubting they won it, though!

  11. @Tomthumb well yeah obviously there’s an age limit for them. I meant they will come back again and mature more and go onto the under 20s .

    Yes agree with you to @JR!

  12. Well done Minors, these lads are only 16, won a Connaught title, great achievement, Monaghan just physically bigger and stronger, a good few of these lads will go on and play Senior for Mayo at some stage, lots of natural talent across the team, including more talented forwards coming through, give them time, 16 year olds should be let develop naturally and enjoy the football. Well done Seán Deane. He has done really well. Thanks for the great evenings out this year.

  13. Our goose was cooked when we went almost the second quarter without scoring, and got hit for 1-6 without reply. We were always chasing the game after that. And as Willie Joe mentioned, Monaghan were very physically imposing around the middle and won most of the breaks.

    It’s very seldom that exceptional groups come along two years in a row at underage, and in that light a Connacht title is a good achievement. Hopefully, in a couple of years we will see some of these guys reversing what has been a few barren years for us at U20 level.

    Sean Deane has done a good job with the minors over the past few years and I wouldn’t mind seeing him get the U20 post at some point.

  14. Is there anyone can answer this question Limerick beat Clare today Are Clare out of the Championship now?

  15. Clare are still in the championship . Hurling championship a great spectacle , we have nothing like it in football , you dont even get that level of atmosphere at an all ireland final in football . 11k at mchale park last week , around 9k were mayo , where in the name of tickets do the other 40k odd come from when we make the final

  16. No, James, they’re not out yet.

    I’m confused, Craggy – didn’t we win and get the two points on offer? Anything else would have been just a bonus. That sort of comment is something I’d expect to see after a bad beating, not a win.

    I’m still none the wiser about the score in yesterday’s Minor game, by the way. I think we have to accept that the official result is 1-16 to 1-8 but, having looked back at the bulk of the second half and checking my own notes, I think that electronic scoreboard malfunction has resulted in a phantom extra point for Monaghan. On the TG4 stream their score changes from 1-15 to 1-16 four minutes into injury time when the ball was out the field. Not that it makes a whole load of difference from our point of view, I guess.

  17. Midwest reporting that Paul Faloon of Down is the ref for the Cork game. Anyone know if we had him before.

  18. No idea, James. It’ll depend on who comes through in the qualifiers.

    From what I can see we had him once before, Nephin – against Sligo in the Covid Championship in 2021. I think we may have had him in the League too but I can’t find any record of that if we did.

  19. Agree Tuamstar that finish was a shocker and after a brilliant comeback, the lads will be having nightmares about how they let it slip.

  20. They were two brilliant games of hurling today.
    Galway were desperately unlucky.

  21. On a positive note for us I hear Brendan Harrison played the full game in Aughamore’s league game this weekend. Good to be getting anorher experienced defender back in the mix.

  22. @Nephin
    Paul Faloon of Down was the ref for Mayo v Leitrim in 2020 and for the match against Sligo in 2021. Was also in charge of few recent Mayo underage matches.

  23. Jeez . This is a thread about a Minor football game between Mayo and Monaghan so could ye bring your Galway hurling to a forum where it’s fecking relevant!

  24. Surprising to see no Westport outfield players named on the 24 man panel considering the success they are having at underage level in Mayo.

  25. think mayo seemed to not expect blanket defence. but that still not a bad year in last two year in minor. 2 connacht titles and get to all ireland in year on. Learning by management needed, but confident they can improve as well.

  26. Clare have Dublin (if they as expected beat Carlow) next James Fleming

    Interesting times in Galway Tuamstar, probably the first real time in over 20 years the footballers now carry the county’s hopes more than the hurlers. If the hurlers do lose to Tipp, all the attention will turn to the footballers and it’ll be interesting to see how they respond to that this year, as well as in the years ahead most likely. I thought plodding along more under the radar did them no harm last year, but people who previously wouldn’t cross the road to see them will be all aboard the bandwagon now.

    Balance of power is surely changing in the county. Had a quick look at wiki, and the all ireland semis in 2001 had more at the football than hurling. Not a foolproof measure by any sense but you do get the sense football was the more popular then, before very much dwindling in the subsequent two decades due to underachievement.

    As for the minors, a bit disappointing the Connacht teams were beaten as heavily as they were but its a very funny age group, they could replay these matches in two weeks and have very different outcomes. I’d still say Mayo underage football is more healthy than not for the most part

  27. One thing to work on at the minor age is speed. You might think fast people are heavy, but they’re usually extremely lean and their strength program has zero hypertrophy.
    If you look at a really athletic person you see muscles that you wouldn’t hammer a nail into.
    I think we are taking the right approach.
    There is no logical way Derry and Monaghan can just be selection have that amount of players close to that size given their respective size of playing pool.
    So, it’s pretty safe to conclude their weights program has resulted in major muscle mass gain.
    But, by the eye test I didn’t see players who could do agile explosive movements. I see a lot of gymnastics with youths and you just can’t pile on muscle mass and have great body control and agility.
    To the eye test I thought our lads were a lot quicker.

  28. @Nephin one of those refs that goes about his business fairly unnoticed, those among are better refs.

  29. I missed that Mayo lost to Monaghan after watching a stuttering stream of Derry beating us well but both teams are no doubt better than those individual results. It will be interesting to see if Galway opt for a new management team in 24.

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