U21 Connacht defence starts tomorrow

Our attempt to win three Connacht titles in a row at U21 level starts tomorrow at McHale Park, when we face Leitrim in the semi-final (throw-in 2.30pm). With the likes of Tom Cunniffe, Chris Barrett, Ger Cafferkey, Tom Parsons, Seamus O’Shea and Aidan Campbell all still eligible for this grade, we should have reasonable hopes of retaining our provincial crown once again. Providing we negotiate our way past the Ridge County lads tomorrow, we will however also have to overcome either Galway or Roscommon in the final and, with both of these counties having plenty of minor All-Ireland medallists from the last two years within their ranks, this could be a difficult enough proposition. One step at a time, I suppose: the Leitrim hurdle needs to be negotiated first.

There’s stuff about tomorrow’s match in both the Mayo News and the Western. I guess the thing that will cause the most number of raised eyebrows from this coverage is the bit in the Mayo News where David Kilcullen is quoted as saying that he’s “unable to give the necessary commitment” to join the U21 panel. For someone who last year broke into the first fifteen at senior championship level for the county, that strikes me as a distinctly odd kind of position to take. Also missing from the panel (still eligible but fat lot of good that is) is Pierce Hanley and, as this video clip shows, his future would now appear to be firmly focused on life in Brisbane.

I’m in Mayo at the moment but tomorrow’s match at McHale Park isn’t on the weekend’s agenda, I’m afraid. This trip is a family one and we have a small person’s birthday to celebrate tomorrow (well, today and tomorrow, as there’s nowhere open today for the kind of running, jumping and general mayhem that such commemorations entail). Also, the weather forecast looks distinctly ugly and I’ve already had my fill of that cold, cold McHale Park concrete on my posterior from the last few games. Mad West it’ll be, then, I suppose.

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