There are two matches of interest this coming weekend from the county’s perspective. One is a big club Championship fixture in hurling while the other see the county’s U20 footballers get their first run-out of 2020.
It’s Tooreen, of course, who are involved in the hurling match, which is an All-Ireland Intermediate club Championship semi-final tie against Fr O’Neill’s of Cork. This takes place on Saturday at O’Connor Park in Tullamore. Throw-in is 1.30pm.
Michael Commins has a superb preview piece on the game in this week’s Mayo News (paper and digital versions), in which he provides not just the background to the game but a potted history of Tooreen hurling club as well. It’s well worth a look.
In a separate article in that paper the same writer notes that if Tooreen’s first two scores on Saturday are points then, over the last four games, they’ll have bagged a hundred points in succession without having scored a single goal. Mind you, I’d say if the chance arises early on to rouse the waving of a green flag the Tooreen lads won’t be shy about capitalising on it.
Also on Saturday, Mike Solan’s U20s take on Roscommon in Castlerea. Throw-in for this game is 2pm.
Andy Moran is on the U20 backroom team this year and listeners to our year-end podcast will have heard his thoughts on taking on a coaching role with the group. If you haven’t yet listened to it, by the way, that podcast episode is here.
Saturday’s match is the first round of the U20 Development League, which is a warmer-upper for the Championship. This year we’re competing in Group 1 of the Leo Murphy Cup tournament, where, as well as Roscommon, we’re due to play Derry (on 11th January) and Donegal (on the 18th).
This year the U20 Championship – which uses the old-fashioned, straight knockout format – has been pulled forward and will be run off rapidly in February and March. Our first provincial outing is a tough one too, as we face defending Connacht champions Galway at MacHale Park in a quarter-final tie on Saturday, 8th February.
Best of luck to both Tooreen and the county’s U20s on Saturday.