All the talk this Bank Holiday weekend has understandably been about events over in New York. Back in Ballina today, meanwhile, Mike Solan’s U20 side made their first appearance of the year, as preparations start to ramp up ahead of the 2019 Championship.
Arrangements for last year’s inaugural U20 Championship were a bit harum-scarum. Some provinces – including Connacht – went for a straight knockout system, while others played theirs on a round-robin basis. This meant hugely varying game times for the different counties, with each team furthermore left to their own devices in arranging pre-championship challenge matches.
This year things appear to be better organised. Challenge matches prior to Championship have been binned in favour of Development Leagues and Mayo’s match against Donegal today was our first one in the group we’re in, which also includes Tyrone and Roscommon.
The Development Leagues are split into five cup competitions. The one we’re competing for is the Philly McGuinness Cup. The winners of our four-county group will meet the winners of a group comprising Fermanagh, Leitrim, Longford and Sligo in the final.
Full details on the various competitions within the U20 Development Leagues are here. Note, though, that the fixture dates may not be correct in every case, as our match today against Donegal was supposed to be played on 8th June.
We won today’s game, by the way, coming from two points down at the break to beat Donegal by 4-9 to 2-9. The goals came from Paul Towey (2), John Gallagher and Eoghan McLaughlin and details of our match-day panel for the game are here.
If the details in the match schedule linked to above are correct, then our next Development League match is against Roscommon in a bit over three weeks time, on Wednesday 29th May. Our first Championship match sees us up against Sligo at MacHale Park in the Connacht semi-final on Wednesday, 3rd July.