Sunday stuff

Ros FBD 2015

Photo: The42.ie (Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho)

No match for us today – instead it was Roscommon and Galway battling it out for the FBD title, with the four-goal Rossies claiming a first pre-season crown for 16 years – so not much to report on but two things are worth a mention.

The first relates to yesterday Hastings Cup semi-final defeat to Roscommon – by the way, a match report from the Mayo Advertiser is here – and specifically the post-match comments made by manager Niall Heffernan who did nothing to hide his disappointment at not having a full panel to pick from, with a number of the U21 lads not released from the senior panel for the game.

It’s difficult not to sympathise with Niall Heffernan on this point. The likes of Adam Gallagher, Stephen Coen and Diarmuid O’Connor will be key members of the U21 championship team in a few months and it would, you’d think, be reasonable to let them line out with the U21s yesterday. I know that the senior panel were training today but in this instance the U21s could and should have been given first call on all eligible players.

Mind you, the Rossies were missing a number of their lads as well yesterday, who lined out instead for the seniors in today’s FBD final, but some of them did play for both the seniors and U21s on successive days last weekend. It’s not an easy call about what’s best to do, I suppose, but given that our U21s could have done with a morale boosting win yesterday, I’d say the wrong call was made in this instance.

That’s it for pre-season and over the next seven days there should be a decent build-up to our opening League match, where we face All-Ireland champions Kerry (it pained me to write that bit, I have to admit) in Killarney. It’ll only be the third time we’ve ever faced the Yerras at their spiritual home – we played them there in a Division One clash back in February 1988 but prior to that you have to go back as far as 1932 for our only previous meeting in Killarney, which was a League semi-final encounter. We lost both of those, by the way, so we’re definitely due a win against them at the venue at this stage.

The only piece of info to note about next weekend’s League opener is that it’s been announced that Maurice Deegan will be reffing it. It’s been a while since we’ve had the pleasure of the limp-wristed Laois official’s company – the most recent match involving us that he took charge of was the 2104 All-Ireland semi-final win over Tyrone. From what I can see, Cormac Reilly hasn’t been assigned to any match this Sunday but I’m holding my breath as to whether or not this is in response to the pig’s tit he made of the last inter-county match he handled.

19 thoughts on “Sunday stuff

  1. Not releasing U21s is nothing new and has been a source of frustration to previous u21 management. Our loss to Galway in Tuam is a case in point. On paper we looked a very formidable team especially in the forwards but on the day it looked like they had never played together before, which actually was the case. They were unprepared as a team. JH was very single minded in his attitude on this point and the u21 management had little or no access to the senior panelists. I’m no apologist for the u21 management but I would find that very frustrating. I’m not blaming anyone because managers try to do the best with the teams that they have direct responsibility for. It’s the system they find themselves in that’s at fault.

  2. I can hardly believe its been 16 years since the Rossies won this one. Good luck to them on this one. I was unable to decide what they would make of Galway. In the end they had it easy enough. This league tie will be an important one for one of these teams. Coming towards the end of the league it could propel one or other of these counties towards Div 1 in 2016. The trip to Pairc Elser will tell us where the Rossies true form is at, and that will be reveled in early Feb

  3. It’s a shame that the u21 management aren’t given their players. On paper they’ve a very decent side, but will go into championship without ever playing together.
    I’d have imagined that Pat & Noel having done the job themselves before would be more accommodating to the current set up.
    The likes of Tyrone and Dublin in the past have built on u21 success’ to push on. The current senior management even said part of the attraction of the job for them was that they’d managed most of the senior squad before at the grade and knew them well.
    The senior team winning an All Ireland may be the ‘holy grail’ for Mayo, but there’s a lot more to GAA than just one team.

  4. Yeah its a tough one to call.. you, d have to feel sorry 4 the under 21 setup.. but if a player is good enough to get the call up 4 senior they have to be protected and given every chance.. There are very few who make the grade at that age, Cillian being case and point.. but as soon as management know a player won’t make it, they should be allowed go

  5. In fairness D O Connor was allowed to play with the U21s but pulled up with a dead leg before throw in and Moran Lyons started so the question is why was those two seniors free to play while Coen,Durcan,Gallagher wasn’t?

  6. Mayomagic,
    I’ll be astonished if Morgan Lyons, on the basis of the form he showed in the two FBD matches is on the panel for Killarney.
    I too agree that the U21 team should have first call on all players until their championship is over. The senior management should have enough over 21 players to try out without calling for the U21’s. It should be a call for the Co Chairman if there is no agreement but I suppose the current senior set up have the inside track there.
    Re the FBD final, considering that Roscommon had an almost full team in action it would have been somewhat surprising if they did not win. Galway, like ourselves seemed to be more interested in trying out new players. Leitrim won the FBD for the past two years with a similar policy but it meant nothing come summer [and London].

  7. For the record AndyD

    we used 30 players in FBD with 8 players given their senior debuts
    Cathal Cregg,C Daly two starters only brought on when the game/final was already won, (both didn’t start against Mayo) other starters from last year Donal Shine,David Keenan,David O Gara,Kevin Higgins played no part in the FBD
    Others out injured that would have featured in this FBD final is Donal Ward,Darra Donnelly,Micheal Finneran,Colm Compton
    Other than that yeah a full side..

  8. Fail to see how Eoghan Lavin was not picked from the start. This must have been an experimental side any way.

  9. I fully agree with you AndyD regarding the access to U-21 players at IC level. Both sets of management should be speaking to each other at the same time too. While Roscommon will probably be favourites for Connacht U-21, I would hope that we, (if the correct communication is made) may well get to a Connacht final against them.

  10. Willie Joe, Reilly is defo still on the circuit. what chances of him being given a mayo game in mchale park this year i wonder.

  11. It doesn’t speak much for our preparation levels at U21 that we basically will have three first choice U21 players who haven’t featured so much in training or in games. With modern gaelic football teamwork, systems and attacking plays are what are important. The potential impact of talented individuals reduces a little each year. It’s much more about team tactics and system preparation.
    The days of adding in some talented individuals at the end I would have thought we’d have moved past that. We could finish U21’s and give senior panellists plenty of training/league time after U21 is concluded.
    If a player is not dominant at U21 grade I don’t believe they merit even a bench place at senior panel level.

  12. Rossranger,

    I’m afraid Micheal Finneran is long past getting a starting place on a full strenght Ross team. And I don’t think that Compton has got there yet.
    Ye have a team which will push strongly come championship time and anybody meeting you and not at their best will probably pay a price regardless who they are. A lot depends on how Div 2 goes, I believe ye could well win it and if ye do ye will be an even bigger force in the championship. But it could also go wrong for ye and that will not be good coming up to the championship.

  13. I’m assuming that senior A vs B games were taking place this weekend in the absence of a senior competitive game, hence the lack of availability of Coen et al for the U21 game. Though given that Diarmuid O’Connor was present in Rathcline, that doesn’t really add up either.

    I personally feel Niall Heffernan should have had a full panel from which to pick – especially against the team that gave us such a whipping in the championship last year – and I very much agree with Head the Ball that Mayo GAA is about more than one team (it’s even about more than one code, but that’s an argument for another day). But maybe someone else could make a compelling argument from a senior POV in favour of withholding them?

  14. It’s the system in fairness that is the problem. You can have a promising U21 lad who is likely involved with His County Senior, County U21, College Sigerson team and club – that’s four different management teams looking for his commitment. And the most stupid thing is that all those teams will be involved week-on week in competition of some sort for the first few months of the year. Say this lad gets on the senior squad but is not a starter…..well U21 is over in April, League over in April and Collages March I think…well he will spend the remaining 7-8 months pretty much not playing any football bar sporadically re-scheduled club games fitted around the senior team. This is after being pulled and dragged 4 different ways for the first 3 months of the year and being forced to miss games or choose games. This is a kid who ultimately wants to represent his county at senior level – the idiot system is putting him in the position of being picked to play for U21’s or prepare for a once in a lifetime chance to play for the seniors – it’s not fair. Then he plays poorly for one or both and the fans are on his back! These are 18-21 year old’s, the future of the game.

    At the end of the day, the Hastings cup is a pre-season competition (Mayo didn’t enter it for a good few years). I know it’s not fair on the management to be without their key players when they wanted them, but my point is that it’s just wrong that young fellas are been put in those situations.

    I can’t understand how you couldn’t simply block specific periods for GAA competition something along the lines as follows:

    January – Senior Pre-season

    Feb-March – National League / Minor Leagues

    April-May – Club Championships (to at least Semi Finals stage)

    June-July-Aug – Senior / Minor Championship

    September – Close County Championships / Provincial U21

    October – Club Provincial Championships / U21 Semi & Final

    November – Club Semis / Final

    Most the competitions should be run on consecutive weeks – craziest thing is in high summer a county senior team can go 6-8 weeks without a game and still be in the championship. With a strict structure players would know exactly when their games are on, train accordingly, but most importantly plan their life!

  15. AndyD

    While Finneran wouldn’t be a starter come championship he would have featured yesterday if fit as we were down to bear bones on midfield options. Compton started two FBD games then got injured.

    In regards to the NFL our priority will be staying up, only 3 homes in a level we haven’t played in since 2008.

  16. KL,

    Would you have club teams going straight into their championships without any preparation period? And you haven’t mentioned either Sigerson Cup or U21 either.

    I always find it strange that players may complain among themselves about the organisation of club games but never try to use their influence through their clubs.
    Someday it may happen but why it did not happen in Donegal last year makes me wonder.

    It took a long time for intercounty players to make a stand and it seemed to be provoked by almost total disregard by county board officials for players. There was a longtime attitude among officials that it was [and maybe still is in some cases] a player’s job to train, play and shut up.
    In late 1992 I seem to recall Mayo players tried to have their opinion on appointment of county team management heard at Co Board but were refused. There followed the first modern players strike which ended with the appointment of Jack O’Shea as manager. But there was no attempt to change things so that a county team panel could have their voice heard.
    Central Council has tried to introduce protocols governing release of players for club duty which if implemented would allow regular club games but Co Boards have not been willing to implement them. They will not until serious sanctions are introduced by rule and that has to start with a club introducing a motion at Convention. If it were enforced by rule and closely monitored no county would be at a disadvantage compared to another. Nobody has more reason for trying to introduce change more than the players. And with social media being what it is today a move for change should never be easier to organise.

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