James Horan and his management team began their trawl for new talent within the county at the weekend, with a trial game in Castlebar between a Mayo XV selection and a county U21 side. Mike Finnerty of the Mayo News has a report on the game – my thanks to Jucer for putting the link up in the comments yesterday.
As you know, I’m not all that well versed in the club scene so unless lads have featured at county level at some stage, it’s unlikely that I’ll know too much about them. As a result, there’s little I can say about some of the names listed in Mike’s report although I can see that there’s a fair sprinkling of guys that have featured at underage level in recent years.
Mike quite rightly gives particular mention to four players who featured last weekend – Aidan Campbell, Austin O’Malley, Damien Munnelly and Michael Conroy – all of whom have played at senior level for the county in the past but who, for one reason or another, have slipped off the radar of late.
Aidan Campbell was a prodigious underage talent and I remember Johnno saying back in early 2007 that he intended to give the Swinford man plenty of game time in that year’s NFL. Disciplinary issues at U21 level in 2008, however, saw him cut from the senior panel and that was the last seen of him there under the Johnno II era. Austie was, of course, a regular in Johnno’s squad until the end of the 2009 season, during which time he performed well in the league but failed to bring this form with him into the summer and it wasn’t an enormous surprise when he didn’t feature this year. Damien Munnelly lined out at senior level in the league as far back as 2004 but he has, I know, had significant injury problems over the last number of years. He’s been in flying form with Knockmore this year, though, and he was one of their better performers the day I saw them lose to Castlebar in the club championship a while back. Michael Conroy has not only played for the county at senior championship level but he’s also a member of a very select group of Mayo players, in that he has a goal in an All-Ireland final (in 2004) to his credit. The Davitts man also featured during the early days of the Johnno II reign but then went from being in the starting line-up for the 2007 NFL final to being cut from the panel days later. He hasn’t played for the county since.
It’s obviously good to see that James Horan is willing to have another look at players who, for whatever reason, fell by the wayside under the previous regime. What’s the crack with the Kilcullen brothers, I wonder?
In other news, I see that James Horan has been named the Club Stars Manager of the Year ahead of the annual hooley at the Knockranny on December 3rd. By the way, if you’re planning on going to this event, which is in aid of Mayo Cystic Fibrosis, tickets cost €60 and are available from the Mayo News office on (098) 25311 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally (and thanks to Roger for posting details on this one – I’m really falling behind on breaking news, I’m afraid) Liam Horan has been speaking to Mike Finnerty about how well work is progressing on the Mayo GAA Strategic Action Plan, all of which is due to come to fruition early in the New Year.
That’s it – time stops for no man and all that.