Resumption of inter-county action fast approaching

The pandemic is still with us – very much so, Marty, as Martin Carney would say – but we’re getting ever closer to the date when inter-county football is set to resume.

It’s certainly a weird year in footballing terms, as it is for pretty much every aspect of life right now. Over the next four weeks, while the leaves are falling from the trees and the dark nights close in ever faster, we’ll be playing out what’s left of our spring National League campaign before then getting stuck into the Connacht Championship straight away afterwards. That comes with added piquancy, of course, this year as it has reverted to a straight knockout format.

This day fortnight, our pivotal National League Division One clash with Galway takes place in Tuam. Galway have the opportunity both to relegate us then and give us a bloody nose ahead of a possible Connacht final rematch in November.

That’s if we make the decider, of course, something we haven’t done since 2015. With the defending Connacht champions barring the way at the semi-final stage, reaching the provincial final isn’t something that can be taken for granted either. Nor for that matter should Leitrim, whom we face first, though we’ll be raging hot favourites to win that game in Carrick-on-Shannon four weeks from today.

The report by the Western People (here) on yesterday’s challenge match with Donegal at Markievicz Park was interesting. We’re obviously ramping up our preparations for the challenges that lie ahead and, as that match report observes, there was very little experimentation in terms of the team we fielded.

When you think about it, James Horan was faced with two choices as regards playing personnel for the autumn/winter campaign. He could have thrown caution to the wind and gone with players in form from the club Championships – regardless of whether or not they had featured at inter-county level before – or he could have taken the more risk-averse approach of sticking in the main with the players he’d already used. It’s no real surprise that he appears to have gone with the latter.

That option, of course, isn’t simply a case of the same old faces continuing to represent the county. Oisín Mullin, Eoghan McLaughlin, Tommy Conroy and Ryan O’Donoghue (who didn’t play yesterday) all made their Senior debuts this year, while Mattie Ruane and Fionn McDonagh are additions from last year.

A few newer faces might well force their way into the reckoning over the coming weeks too. Mark Moran, who played yesterday, is a good addition and Knockmore’s Darren McHale could well be another. As Mike Finnerty reported in this week’s Mayo News (here) both were invited to join the Senior panel following the conclusion of the club action.

It’s also true that the enforced downtime arising from Covid has helped us to get a number of injured players back to full fitness. Colm Boyle, Jason Doherty, Mattie Ruane and Cillian O’Connor were all sidelined back in March but all four of them lined out in yesterday’s challenge match.

The one regular we’re missing – in all probability for the year – is Brendan Harrison. As Mike Finnerty notes in that Mayo News piece linked above, the Aghamore man, an All-Star in 2017, picked up a knock in a club game back in July and he’s been sidelined since then.

The other player mentioned as an injury concern in that piece, by the way, was Diarmuid O’Connor but he did line out yesterday. The 2019 captain hasn’t been firing on all cylinders at inter-county level for a long time and we’ll need him back in top form if we’re to navigate successfully the perilous waters of the upcoming one-loss-and-you’re-gone Championship campaign.

33 thoughts on “Resumption of inter-county action fast approaching

  1. Report in the CT that Jason Doherty got injured in training.
    They say it’s the opposite knee.
    Hopefully it’s not as bad as they are saying.

  2. If that NPHET recommendation is accepted the inter-county season is over before it starts.

  3. Ah for God’s sake – that is totally cruel. Gutted for Jason. He played so well in the intermediate championship. He is such a loss.

  4. I am gutted for Jason Doherty I wish him well and a speedy recovery he is in terrible bad luck to pick up an injury Like that again. Don’t know the circumstances of how the injury occurred but I imagine there will be more injuries if players are out training on nights like this on water logged pitches. I wish Jason well you’d have to feel for him.

  5. Hi, So sad for J. Doherty.
    Intercounty Games can take place at Level 4 including intercounty challenge.

  6. The GAA should just forget now about this inter county season. Leave it until 2021. Terrible news for Jason – a true warrior.

  7. Not sure how government thought an All Ireland series could be feasible.
    They need to be more realistic with people and not to be giving false hope. We’re no fools.
    Utter heartbreak for Jason Doherty. Hope you recover soon.

  8. Ya .. Pull the lot for this year !! Our underage can still train but no matches but no sure what appetite there will be for that in wet and cold October. We cant train indoors so may as well wrap up training this week. It’s a pity but it may ultimately keep people alive

  9. I still think there is a chance of inter county action this year. I imagine that there is a strong will within government for it to happen as it would benefit the mental health of people and possibly help with loneliness during what will be our longest ever winter.

    If the players are willing to play (and I expect they are given they all played club) and the government are willing to waive restrictions for elite sports people, I think it is possible. The big risk is that squads get infected and it throws it into chaos.

    My heart goes out to J Doc. Is that news confirmed or is it just a rumour? I’m never sure whether to believe these stories until they are reported in the Mayo News.

  10. With nphet recommending level 5 (regardless of what Gov now decide) it seems prudent to pull plug on football this year, especially as the meat of the action is planned for the middle of winter.

  11. Liberal role in the tie, Its the GAA who decided to go ahead with the All-Ireland not the government. The government just allowed for the resumption of sports at a time when the Covid numbers justified it, its the GAA who then decided it could fit it in this year. Government cant be blamed if this doesn’t happen.

  12. Very sad for Jason after all his hard work making it back for the club campaign. Little do we realise when criticising the efforts that our county players – and indeed many club players – put in to playing our games.

    It seems very likely that the football season could come to a very sudden end despite all the efforts of so many, particularly players. While at the same time other idiots totally ignore advice and are allowed to do so without any action. Example: The car rally in Tullamore at the weekend and the rave in Oliver Bond flats in Dublin a week or two earlier. I also read in the Indo a few weeks ago that about 25% of those referred for testing refuse the test with no action being taken. Why wouldn’t Covid thrive?

  13. Yeah, true Mayomad but remember back a month or two ago when Leo was all agog about the championship and how important it would be for the country, a sign of positivity and overcoming adversity etc etc, or sentiments like that. And with the promise of millions from government to make it happen you can’t blame the gaa for ploughing ahead. But with gaa ban today, its not looking good. But who knows, it still might happen.

    Its ultimately government’s call and with that promise of money one would think there’d be some level of joint planning.

    Bottom line for me is that when the leader of the country is adamant it should happen its completely understandable gaa would plan accordingly and permit training etc.

  14. Hard luck again for Jason Doherty, this is one problem when a Cruciate goes on a knee, the other one can easily go whilst making a recovery.
    The Gaa will have no say in things to come in the next few weeks.
    Let’s forget about All Ireland matches until 2021 at the earliest.

  15. One year away from matches is no harm, to many if and buts at the moment.
    Roll on the vaccine.

  16. Really hope I’m wrong WJ.
    Would take all games behind closed doors at this stage. Would really help lift what is a downbeat national mood at the moment.
    Unfortunately our elite gaa players may be elite, but they’re not professional so have the same chances of contracting covid like the rest of us. It’s a lottery.

  17. It’s on a knife-edge now, for sure, Ah Now. Three weeks at Level 3 means that, in theory at least, the Championship could still go ahead but you’d have to think that the plan to finish the last two rounds of the League could now be in jeopardy.

  18. Hello, I guess that I am a little at odds over the League partly at least because of my desire to see Mayo playing Galway.
    I understood that the two league games were considered a good preparation for the Championship. There is no mention of scrapping the League.

    If the League was scrapped for this year some would be happy but would it not only postpone the 2 games to sometime next year? Some teams want promotion and others to avoid relegation.

    If in the case of Mayo is it not better to find out this year if we are destined for Division 2. This would have a great bearing on what JH and Co. decide on their panel for 2021.

    Just a thought. Is It not better to play these League games when we can? . It may well be the Championship 2020 will be postponed.

  19. Tough on JD, he sounds like a very positive guy going by his contribution on podcast earlier in the year so with that attitude he will bounce back, we don’t forgot our loyal and dedicated players which is one thing that makes us great as a GAA community. As for the league games I would move them out to next year if it was my choosing. Also all inter-county challenge games should be banned straight away. It should really be kept to the minimum, generate whatever fitness and game simulation work is required within the training setup only. As to playing an entire all-ireland this year, again I would go back to my view on this back in lock down times which is that we should focus and road map the provincial finals only, playing them in such manner as to allow 2 weeks between games. A 14 day turnaround is only fair for amateur players, county championship level week after week is madness and I fear we will bring a lot more long term injuries in the panels that make it to their provincial finals. With a 2 week break between games Connaught gets completed in a 6 weeks stretch from mid-Oct to end of Nov with other provinces needing perhaps 7 weeks. Where to after that, lets see where we are at with the virus transmission come that time and decide then (if we are not at level 4 or higher before then).

  20. Best wishes to Jason Doherty. Although I’d be a staunch Galway supporter I don’t like to see anyone missing action through injury. Have done the cruciate before myself it’s a tough slog back.
    Hope he recovers well for 2021.

  21. Best wishes to JD, a massive loss.
    Has anyone any info on what players were called in by Horan? Ive heard of Mark Moran, Aidan Orme and Mchale from Knockmore.
    Ive been a critic of Conor O’Shea in the past but surely his club form and previous experience would warrant a recall for the short season?
    I also think we have seriously missed a trick with not calling up Peter Naughton. The stand out player in the club championship Offers something different to what we already have. A real shame to see him playing for Sligo.

  22. We are not sure he has agreed to play for sligo as of yet? To be honest I think it would be of no benefit to his inter County ambition , hopefully parsons or mcloughlin would advise him to see sense.

  23. Really worrying figures here tonight and in the north. Sobering. I’m still shocked that Mayo played Donegal on Saturday (players travelled from Dublin too). How can County Board state ‘absolutely no risk to anyone”?? So now Fermanagh senior teams have suspended all training. I don’t think we are going to have league-championship. It is too risky. It is time now for Croke Park to make the right decision.

  24. @Goagain..I agree with you… For Mayo to play, Donegal the County with the highest infections rates currently in the Republic in Sligo…The optics of it looks dreadful… It’s only a game when all is said and done, it’s not worth putting anyone’s health at risk…We all have a duty in society to do as much as possible , and refrain from doing unnecessary things in order to bring down the infections numbers.

  25. I said on the previous thread that the challenge game V Donegal (at level 3) should not have happened. It was too risky no matter what the county board sources say. Like we are in a health emergency. I think all games should be stopped now.

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