The start of the summer


Photo: The Journal

So June is finally here and we can at last start saying that it really is summer. Not that it felt like it yesterday, mind, or that the forecast for the next few days is all that appealing but summer it is and, after the longest spring ever on record, maybe it’ll start to feel that way before too long.

It’s less than two weeks to go now until our Connacht semi-final clash with Galway at Pearse Stadium and, no more than waiting for the weather to pick up, it’s felt like an eternity waiting for this game to come around. The fact that the championship hasn’t really got going at all yet – aside from Ulster – hasn’t, of course, helped but come 4pm on Sunday week I’m sure we’ll all be in full championship mode.

There still isn’t a whole load in terms of news (which in large part is why I’ve been absent more than present from here over the last while) but this week’s Mayo News (paper and digital versions) does have some relevant info on the squad, with Mike Finnerty reporting that Kenneth O’Malley and Mícheál Forde have both been released from the panel inside the last week. Both players saw action in the League, with the former lining out between the sticks in the Derry and Donegal matches while the latter started against Derry and also came on as a sub against Monaghan. According to Mike, the departures mean that the championship squad now stands at 34, a number that includes the still-injured Evan Regan.

Separately, tickets have now gone on sale for the game – full details here. Stand tickets for Pearse Stadium will obviously be scarce so sorting tickets for the game certainly isn’t a job to be long-fingered.

63 thoughts on “The start of the summer

  1. Thanks Willie Joe.

    Mmm Had O’Malley as my No 1 goalkeeper. So much for that.

    One thing worries me a little. I was bullish about our panel and its depth as were others and it is a quality outfit.

    However the match fitness of players like Barrett, Moran, Dillon, Parsons, and Cillian O’Connor is questionable, and there is still some bit to go on the strength and conditioning of Kirby, Durcan and probably Loftus.

    This dilutes the overall strength of the panel and does give Galway a point or two advantage with two games under their belt. I could say home advantage as well but I think we now regard Salthill as a winning arena.

  2. No disrespect to Regan but how on earth is he left on the panel?

    The guy didn’t get any chance this year to show his worth in the League and surely he won’t be ready again for at least another 1 to 2 months. Which puts him to my mind in the frame only for the 1/4 finals if we progress that far.

    Are people seriously saying he is good enough to play at that level on what would be his debut for the county at Senior championship and with a seriously dodgy shoulder to boot?

  3. We probably will not see too much of Regan for Mayo. However there are a few lads in Ballina praying for his speedy recovery.

  4. Maybe Regan is not as bad as reported. Or, is he so good they are keeping him on?

  5. He looked lively from what i saw of him in the league game, but we need to have some fresh faces in as we need to be more potent up front.

  6. With regards the panel.. I am sure it will chop and change over the summer, some fellas will get drafted in , and some lads might drop out. it is not like the champions league that once you name a squad that’s it for the Season. If anything happened either keeper I am sure O’Malley will be asked to rejoin – like Hennelly a couple of seasons back.

    I would think it will be a pretty fluid situation over the summer if need be.

    At this stage i can’t see anybody coming from nowhere and been a revelation, i think what we have now, between this 34 players and whatever was used in the league not in the current squad is what it will be. I don’t think there is any hiding under rocks waiting to be discovered.

  7. Only the GAA would stick with this completely daft championship format.
    Get every county team playing a decent number of competitive matches in June and July with the top eight qualifying for the last 8 on the bank holiday weekend. This is painful.
    They really are shooting themselves in the foot the longer this farce is allowed to continue every Summer. There should be an A and B competition with relegation and promotion. The games the weekend were a complete joke. It is not that difficult.

    Meanwhile the wait continues ….

  8. Have to agree JPM with Regan still on panel. Seems ridiculous to be honest. Surely any player whether it be an up and coming youngster or experienced campaigner is more beneficial to the panel at this stage than an injured player.

  9. Sean Rice in the Mayo News reports on good performances by Cunniffe, Barrett, and

    Diarmaid O’Connor in recent club matches. And, he had this to say about Mark Ronaldson playing for Shrule Glencorrib:

    “Traversing half the field corner forward Ronaldson glided past defenders as if propelled by some outside force. He shipped heavy tackles, yet managed to account for eight points, two of which were from frees.

    Having been in and out of Mayo teams over the past number of years, the Shrule man responded to the opportunity presented to him in the league by managers Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly with good performances.

    Even allowing for a Kiltane defence short a couple of regulars, his display was out of the ordinary, and if he has been reaching similar standards in training, he will surely retain the managers’ confidence in him at corner forward for the semi-final on Sunday week”.

  10. I’d harbour similar concerns to catcol. It’s extremely difficult to gauge where Dillon, Moran and O’Connor are in terms for form and fitness. I’m struggling to name anyone in the inside line at the moment.

  11. Regan is the best reserve freetaker we have. Hence why he’s probably been retained even though injured.

  12. 34 man panel and people giving out about regan being one of them . 22 years of age , unlucky to be injured down in Killarney when he looked like he was about to play fook , he’s been kept because he’s impressed management before injury in training .

    Could be scoring for fun come August 8th , you never know, well worth his place IMO.

  13. So that picture you have up WJ, is that the road to hell or to the promised land, only time will tell! Are the team under cooked or over cooked, we’ll only find out on June 14th. You’d have to think that after four long years on the road, that the long break will have done the lads good. Its great to hear that some of the boys are in flying form for their clubs. Roll on the big game. According to the Mayo News, a crowd of over 20,000 is expected. Who said that the game is dying. We have already had sell out games up North too.

  14. P.S. In relation to Evan Regan, a couple of years ago James Horan released him from the panel and people were giving out about that for ages. Now Noel and Pat keep him in the panel, hoping that he might make an impression later in the championship and people are giving out about that. It just really goes to show a manager can’t win, your damned if you do and your damned if you don’t.

  15. I though Micheal Forde played well in derry and was surprised not to see more of him after. Strange that Neil Douglas who was there for entire league and got no time is still on panel.

  16. Mark Ronaldson will start in Salthill, can’t be left out and will trouble any defender, he’s in top form, scored 9 points against Kiltane, himself and Aido could work well together #maigheoabu

  17. Good to hear that about Ronaldson.
    One thing is for sure, Galway will also be scratching their heads trying to predict our team selection. It’s so hard for anyone to know what players are in favour right now and what way we will set up given League performances and with a number of lads returning from injury. I think this is a good place for us to be and I feel that the 10 week break will have served us well. Crucially, this team have largely been out of the media spotlight this past while – probably the longest period sine 2011 really. This is exactly what they needed given the emotions they have experienced since. The period will also afford the new management further valuable time to try out different things. A league semi final or final this year would have potentially left them open to unwanted scrutiny and lazy media clichés when all that really matters is what is starting on June 14th. Roll on….

  18. Just read Darragh O Se’s piece in the I/Ts. Interesting in his view of managers and how he sees the brand leaders, Harte, McGuinness , no mention of Horan. Darragh made the point whilst lauding Fitzmauruce that Kerry had 7 new players on the 2014 team that didn’t feature in 2011. A quick check saw Dublin start 6 and bring on two who didn’t feature in 2011 when they beat us in 2013.

    Last semi v Kerry we fielded virtually the 2011 semi team. Galway are important as indeed is the next Connacht match if we win but it’s beyond those fields we need fresh blood and apart from Ronaldson, it doesn’t seem apparent. If two recent All Ireland winners shuffle their packs substantially over a two/three year period, are we missing something there?

    We seem wedded to the 2006 U21 squad. That’s almost ten years ago. The lack of fresh real deal blood is alarming . Winning Connacht is not a benchmark for our dreams. There seems a reluctance to really freshen this panel with meaningful challengers for team spots. Mayo have the appearance of a once great club side with too many lifers around.

  19. Why would he include Horan? The managers referred to are AI winners. Two AI defeats and a League final defeat does not merit him a place among the winners referred to.

  20. John Cuffe. I’m not sure there are many who could replace the existing bunch of players. But certainly if you look on the fringes of the panel a lot of guys have been tried out and many are still there in the panel that may have not been there in say 2011.

    E.g. a few that immediately spring to mind.
    M Ronaldson, S Coen, B Harrisson, P Durcan, D Kirby, M Forde, E Regan, N Douglas, C Carolan, C Loftus.

    The bottom line is that it is up to the guys above to displace the current team rather than automatically replace them after a certain period. Easier said than done too.

  21. Kerry replenished out of necessity, not choice. Injuries and retirements forced them to blood players quicker than they ordinarily would have liked. It worked out very well for them but this was more luck than design.

    The current Mayo squad are experienced campaigners but I don’t count too many of them as elder statesmen. Andy Moran and Alan Dillon might have considered retiring last year but the rest of the panel were always going to plough on. There are definitely promising players coming through, the likes of Coen, Harrison, D O’Connor, Conor O’Shea, Loftus and Regan. The challenge now is to blood these players but that will take time. Not all kids coming through can go straight in like Cillian O’Connor. And I believe Horan’s hand was forced on that as we had no free taker at the time.

  22. John you say the 2011 semi final team and 2014 were virtually the same. There were four changes Keegan, Boyle, B Moran, Doherty. Plus AOS played at CF. Not attacking you just the facts.
    Kerry changed up due to injury and retirement. Dublin have huge depth. A fairer comparison would be with Donegal. Who have tried a similar amount of new players in the league to us. In fairness to Pat and Noel they have tried a lot of new players. Out of them I think Ronaldson and Durkan have impressed.

  23. This Mayo team is not old at all bar 3 or 4 players, plenty of years left in them yet.
    I think the guessing game as regards our front 6 is good, keep Galway guessing too.
    I suppose we will be outnumbering the home support in Salthill again??

  24. There’s no point putting a new player into a team unless he’s better than what he’s replacing.

  25. Anyone who attends club matches regularly or anyone who reads the local press sports pages will tell you that the current panel contains the best 34 players in the county. There might be a few players who you could argue might warrant a place on the panel or would be on the fringes, but it’s fairly clear that there is no diamond in the rough being ignored.
    As some posters have already said, it’s up to the newer lads to take the jerseys off the backs of the current holders and I doubt many of them will give theirs up without a hell of a fight. This can only be a good thing.

  26. As I posted already, its not the faces themselves, new or old, that are the issue. Rather, the

    concern is the overall match fitness and sharpness of a number of players, and the strength

    and conditioning of newer panel members.

    The two Tyrone U21s, All Ireland winners and very good, really struggled because the senior game at the highest level is light years away from both the under-age game and the game as played by most division three, four and some of division two teams.

  27. Will people stop asking why evan regan is still in panel.he is a very good corner forward of which we don’t have to many off.if it was cillian or andy or dillon that were out til the end of July injured people wouldn’t be asking why are they still in panel.its time for some of our supporters to get behind the team and management and stop acting the gobshites!!!

  28. Jason B, no problem , you are correct. Keegan and Doc came on that day. Big Barry injured again I suppose. I looked at the minor teams of 2008 to 2012 to see what came through. Full potential -Keane, Hennelly, AOS, COC. Almost the real deal- Kirby, McHale, Reagan. Potential- Coen, Harrison, Durkan,COShea, Where are they now?- Nally, Walshe, Reilly, C Freeman, Corduff, Rogers, Gallagher. From the minors we produce and amount of them, are the above results good enough. Look them up yourselves and see who slipped through the cracks.

  29. On minors coming through, we would really need to do a comparative analysis and see how we fare in a league table with other Division One teams.

    If I had the time…

  30. @ John Cuffe
    Yeah but the ‘Full Potential’ are the most far back minors (bar COC) – obviously because they are older and have had time to realise potential. And Keane has hardly been full potential, while Hennelly was called in after serious injury to clarke. Your ‘almost the real deal’ – two of them have even played championship yet and two of them have dropped off the squad previously! Your ‘where are they now’ – a few of them have played for Mayo in the last year, so hardly lost without a trace! Point is, players come and go out of squads, managers change, out of favor, whatever – it can take a player til his mid 20’s to really establish himself in the modern game. Look at Boyle, Doherty, Barrett, Parsons, A Moran are examples, Ronaldson, Keane etc potentially.

  31. John Cuffe – can you help enlighten me on who these “meaningful challengers” are? What players have you witnessed playing for their clubs of late that merit a place on the Senior panel ahead of those who are there already?? I can tell you that I follow quite a bit of club football and can not argue with who has been included on the championship panel this year. In fairness to the new management they have given a substantial number of new faces a chance to impress since late last year and some have made their way through to the summer squad which is great to see IMO.

  32. I hope we fart our way to a Connacht title, playing terribly and getting a lucky last minute goal because of a freak gust blowing the ball against someone’s face only for it to end up in the back of the net. Either that or a speculative long ball that bounces over the bar

  33. Forde Picked up a groin injury training with Mayo some weeks back and will not be able to train 100% for sometime. This probably explains his omission. In fairness to Evan Regan he has looked good in the few mins he got on the pitch, he seems to have a good scoring eye. H and C did say earlier in the year that they would be going with two goalkeepers for the year.

  34. Ridiculous comment Aidan. Comparing Evan Regan with Cillian O’ Connor & Andy Moran is bordering on insanity. Those lads are Allstars with a huge amount of big game experience at all levels of the game. Regan has potential, full stop.

  35. Players slip through the cracks for one main reason, not good enough for senior inter county football. All counties have underage talent but a small percentage make the leap to senior.

  36. For people with season tickets I emailed them today asking do we get a stand ticket for an e mail back saying this is yet to be confirmed and an e mail will be sent closer to fixture.

  37. Aidan, season ticket holders will be in the stand, which will be unreserved seating. Just bring your cards to get scanned.

  38. Aiden, I have already got an email saying that it is just a matter of bringing the season ticket card to be scanned. Unfortunately I deleted it. But it does mean that you should get there early to be sure of getting into the stand. I don’t know what curtain raiser there will be, probably a Galway club hurling match.

  39. Good to see on twitter that the Mayo News were tweeting that Noel Connelly confirmed that there were no major injury worries ahead of the Galway game on Sunday week. Also they mentioned that there was a very positive vibe from Colm Boyle, Keith Higgins and Barry Moran at the press night in Castlebar last night. All raring to go!

  40. Heard on the radio this morning that Vaughan is a doubt for Sunday week, it said he had a calf strain.

  41. Heard Noel Connelly this morning on Mid West – Tom Parsons and Donie Vaughan are apparently carrying slight injuries – Tom from a knock picked up in training this week, Donie a calf injury. Neither sound overly serious.

    Will someone kindly find Tom Parsons and wrap him up in bubble wrap until 14th June?

  42. Unfortunately Anne-Marie it seems that Tom is just one of those players that is injury-prone.

    At least we have options to cover the likes of himself and Donie Vaughan.

    Might be best to keep the bubblewrap for Cillian!

  43. 10 days left, better wash the jersey and give it a good aul ironing for its first day out of summer :). Its great theirs no attention on us at all this year, at least until the quarters (yes im very confident of a 5 in a row) id even say that the sunday game pundits will tip galway again!!. Ronaldson getting great plaudits for his club performances, fair play to him but i still think he maybe too small for the seirious end of the championship, but could do a seirious job for us in connacht if deployed correctly.

  44. Getting very excited now as the big day nears.
    I won’t be second guessing management on Regan’s inclusion. He must be showing plenty of promise and maybe injury not too bad. If Donie injured, that’s a big opportunity for Barrett, Coen or Durkan to grab the jersey.
    I agree SOS shouldn’t be an automatic pick even though I had him on my team, he has a big work rate but we all know his weakness… maybe horses for courses, Parsons we know from fitness test reports is the best athlete and Big Barry is the best fielder around and greatly improved at kick passing and point taking.
    I’m one of the advocates for Higgins at 11 or 12 but totally agree we concede a few points to opposition by moving him up. Like nearly all others supporters of the idea here it is with 7th defender role in mind as his primary task and any contributions to forwards as added bonus. That gives a fringe defender a chance to build confidence.

  45. Positive news on Injury front. I have been impressed with Ronaldson. Looks like the kinda lad who will get you a couple of points a game. Good example of a lad who was cut from the panel and put the head down and work hard to get back in. For people saying he is too small isn’t there a certain man of the match winner from last years all Ireland final that was told at minor he was too small.

  46. Big difference between being a player that his “part” of a blanket than a player having to burst his way through it!!! Which is essentially what we’ll have to do all summer.

  47. Great news on injury front. If these lads were in athletics Id expect big performances based on a clear ten week uninterrupted training window just gone. Injuries especially leg injuries kill progress with the fitness side.

  48. @MAYO MICK

    Are you sure its unreserved seating as tickets purchased on-line all have allocated seating!

    This could end up in a right old mess and for once its not our shower who are to blame!!!!

  49. Anyone else having bother with purchasing tickets for the new online lotto thing for the training fund? Keeps going back on me when I pick the numbers to previous page .

  50. Here’s what Connelly said, as reported the, the sports wing of the

    I still wouldn’t regard Cillian as fully match fit – at best Connelly is hoping he might get 70 minutes. But as an impact man he should add value.

    Still would be edgy about match fitness of Moran, Dillon, Parsons, and Conroy and Barrett, although I was encouraged by Connelly’s remarks on Vaughan, who is definitely match fit.

  51. I’m a little confused about the GAA season ticket holders. There hasn’t been any mention of them in the ticketing details released to date. Anyone have any more info?

  52. No updates on season tickets yet but there will be an email next week. Sit tight!

    Sean I used it last night no problem, the only gripe I’d have with it is that it doesn’t give you an email confirmation or a receipt for purchase!

  53. I see on another forum a Galway man tried to get into Pearse Stadium Tuesday night to watch the Mayo team but in his words “it was like fort knox” – hopefully all good in the camp injury wise and everyone ready for action.

  54. Also interesting read on the All The Way From Tuam article by Francis Creaven on the 51 site. His passion for Galway is evident but also his dislike for Mayo football. It has fired me up anyway. I suppose dislike for rivals works both ways…funnily I went to the 2001 final and shouted for Galway against Meath but was not so happy in earlier in 1998 when it was rammed down many Mayo fans throats by Galway fans….especially this particular one with many cousins on the maroon and white side of the border.

    Indeed one Galway fan in Pearce Stadium 2 years ago at full time roared out “Ye showers of egeits will never win Sam” – I will never forget his face red with anger at his own team just after being demolished….I hope to meet him someday if we reach the promised land. Look our dominance here in the west will end soon but hopefully it will last another year and who know’s maybe Galway will return the 99 favour and dethrone the All Ireland Champions in MacHale Park in 2016….right now I would take that myself.

  55. Going back to ’98 and Galway’s win, I got a good bit of grief from a Galway fan but the reminder that it took a Mayoman to show them how brought silence from him. I was amazed at the time that he never reminded me that that Mayoman did not manage to show his fellow Mayomen how to do it.

  56. Anne-Marie i think the story with the season tickets is that you just show your card on the day and will not need to print off tickets for this one

  57. I’m not sure what the situation is with the non-Cairde Mhaigheo season tickets but the position is clear enough regarding the Cairde ones. A mail was sent out the other day confirming that no ticket is required for this, all you have to do is have your season ticket with you and this will be scanned at the entrance to Pearse Stadium on the day (same procedure as for League matches) to gain entry to the stand. It’s unreserved seating in the stand. I bought a few additional stand tickets the other day, which arrived in the post yesterday, and they’re for unreserved seating in the stand.

  58. To get receipt for lotto – go to menu- games/payslips- then press ctrl and p.

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