The Indo, which has significantly upped its quota of Mayo footballing articles this week, reports this morning that Tony Duffy will be unveiled as the county’s minor bainisteoir next Monday night, where his appointment will be confirmed by the County Board. The Ballintubber man has had success on the sideline with his own club when, along with James Horan, he led them to the county Intermediate title a few years back and he’s also done well in recent times on the coaching front at Kiltimagh Community School. In the latter he’s formed a good working relationship with Maurice Sheridan and the Balla marksman will, according to the Indo, be joining Duffy in the dugout for the minor gig, along with Mick Ruane, Dessie Ruttledge, Liam Lavelle and Vinnie Walsh.
That same Indo piece, as well as including some stuff on the Sheepstealers, also reports that new U21 boss Ray Dempsey will maintain the same team – Stephen Healy, Tomas O Grady and Kevin Beirne – who walked the line with him at minor level.
The Indo has also picked up on Johnno’s accusation about certain counties breaking the two-month ban on collective training. The Boss was on RTE radio yesterday evening and I caught the end of the interview in the car as I was out slipping and sliding around the Northside trying to locate a few bags of coal. (Needless to say, there’s no sign yet of any of the audio turning up on RTE’s website – no hurry lads, it’s only news after all). The world and its spouse knows that the ban was widely flouted in 2008 and it seems to have been the same story in 2009. GAA DG Paraic Duffy said back in October that there was going to be a major crackdown on counties who flouted the ban and Johnno is obviously now testing the waters to see if there’s any substance to this hard man stance.
I’d be enormously surprised if the GAA were to move against any counties on this, to be honest. The ban itself is, of course, a complete bullshit idea and like so many things in this country is there not to be enforced but instead serves merely as window-dressing, to give the pretence that something is being done about an issue of concern. Johnno is right, though, to call HQ’s bluff on it and it’ll be interesting to see what reaction he provokes. My money’s on a wall of silence.