The opening assignment in the Connacht championship that our minors face this weekend couldn’t really be any tougher: they line out against reigning All-Ireland champions Roscommon at the Hyde on Saturday evening (throw-in 6.30 pm). We’ve had a lean enough time of it with the minors over the past number of years (although we did make it to the All-Ireland final via the backdoor in 2005, losing to Down in that decider) and Connacht titles at minor level have been fairly thin on the ground of late. Indeed, we’ve failed to win a Connacht minor title since we completed a provincial three-in-a-row in 2001. And, of course, you have to go all the way back to 1985 for our last All-Ireland title at minor level. That was the team that had in its ranks the likes of Greg Maher, Michael Fitzmaurice, Kevin Beirne and MJ Mullen. I can still recall with fondness the raucous celebrations at the team’s victory bash in the Garda Club that night . . .
Fast forward back to 2007 where former senior player Ray Dempsey is now managing the minor team. There’s a good in-depth interview with him in this week’s Mayo News and the Knockmore man certainly talks a good game. His charges will be up against it to get a result in the Hyde on Saturday evening but, from the sounds of it, it won’t be from the want of trying.