Right, that’s enough moping about all those wides yesterday – our next match is almost upon us. On Wednesday evening in Cloone, our U21s begin the defence of their U21 Connacht title when they take on Leitrim (throw-in 7.30 pm) and, courtesy of Club Mayo Dublin, here’s Ray Dempsey’s first team selection at U21 level:
Mayo (Connacht U21 Championship v Leitrim): Robert Hennelly (Breaffy); Pat Mulchrone (Burrishoole), Shane McHale (Knockmore), Kevin Keane (Westport); Lee Keegan (Westport), Eoghan Reilly (Castlebar), Sean Prendergast (Claremorris); Shane Nally (Garrymore), Ger McDonagh (Castlebar Mitchels); Cathal Carolan (Crossmolina), Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Jason Doherty (Shrule-Glencorrib); Neill Douglas (Castlebar Mitchels), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Alan Freeman (Aghamore).
There are plenty of familiar names in that line-up, with a good number of these lads having played on All-Ireland day at minor level either last year or the year before. This team will surely have more than enough firepower to see off Leitrim on Wednesday night but the worrying thing, I guess, is that four of the starting fifteen also lined out (three of them from the start) for the seniors against Dublin last weekend and there’s a strong likelihood that they’ll be expected to play in the NFL matches against Derry on Saturday night and against Kerry the following weekend. Assuming the lads beat Leitrim, however, they’ll be facing Roscommon in the Connacht U21 semi-final on Paddy’s Day, which means that some or all of this quartet could be asked to play five matches in three weeks.
That’s just plain stupid and, given that this match scheduling was known for months, was also completely avoidable. We’ve a great chance to do well at U21 level this year but a bit of forward planning in terms of the numbers of matches some of the lads are being asked to play wouldn’t have gone amiss.