U21s edged out by the Rossies

2011 has turned out to be a year marked by another short U21 championship campaign for us as we were beaten today by defending champions Roscommon on a scoreline of 0-11 to 0-9 at McHale Park.  With five minutes to go we led by a point and it seemed we might just nick it but three late unanswered points from the visitors sent us crashing out at the first attempt.

Needless to say, I wasn’t in Castlebar to see the match for myself today and so this (sort of) report is one stitched together based on the excellent and frequent Twitter updates from @mayogaa, @roscommongaa, @edmcgreal and the redoubtable @ColmGannon.  The latter has even managed to file his usual early bird match report already so if it’s a proper ringside take on proceedings you want, here it is.

The young Sheepstealers started the brighter, with two early pointed frees from Shane Regan and eleven minutes had passed before we opened our account via a free from Cillian O’Connor. Darren McDermott then got the visitors’ third but around the same time our full-back Kevin Keane was forced off injured.  His replacement was Aidan Walsh but there obviously must have been a fair bit of reshuffling to replace the Wesport man at full-back and so, with Aidan O’Shea having started at midfield (having been named at full-forward), our formation even at that early stage would have been well removed from that in the match programme.

Aidan O’Shea got the game’s next score, “a huge effort” according to Colm Gannon and our first of the day from play. A minute later, however, Scott Oates restored the Rossies’ two-point advantage and further points by Shane Regan (his third of the half) and Paddy Brogan stretched the visitors’ lead to four.

We closed out the half a bit better, though, with points from play from Cillian O’Connor and Aidan O’Shea, the latter going down injured following the score.  A full five minutes of additional time yielded no further scores leaving the Rossies 0-6 to 0-4 to the good at the break.

We’d enjoyed the benefit of whatever wind there was in the first half so clearly we needed, as that oft-used cliché on The Apprentice goes, to up our game in the second half if we were to progress to a provinicial semi-final date with Leitrim.  Ed McGreal reckoned at that stage that our lack of dominance in midfield was a factor in our being behind so we obviously needed a dose of Bill Cullen in that area too in the second period.

Darren Coen replaced Andrew Farrell at half-time and within 30 seconds of the restart the Hollymount man made his presence felt by notching the first point of the second half. Cillian O’Connor then squared it up from a 25-yard free.

Former minor star James Cafferty replaced Danny Geraghty at midfield as we sought a better share of the ball around the middle.  However, it was the defending champions who struck next and once again it was Shane Regan with a free to restore their lead.  The same player added his fifth of the day, also from a free, soon after as the Rossies looked set to take control with 12 minutes of the second half gone.

Two missed frees by Cillian O’Connor didn’t help our cause but it was a case of third time lucky for the Ballintubber man as the gap came down to the minimum once more.  Then, with ten to go, sub James Cafferty landed a fine score from play to bring us level again.

We were obviously going for it at this stage and had goal attempts from both Shane Nally and Michael Forde beaten away.  Then, with just five minutes left on the clock, Darren Coen got his second of the day to edge us in front for the first time.  It looked like a significant psychological blow and as I anxiously refreshed my Twitter feed I hoped I’d see notifications from the lads of further match-clinching scores for us.

There were further scores alright – three of them, in fact – but sadly Roscommon got the lot of them as late points from  Cathal Shine, Niall Daly and Scott Oates sealed a two-point win for the defending champions and brought our U21 championship campaign to an early end.

As I wasn’t there, there’s little I can say about performances.  The lads on Twitter all singled out Aidan O’Shea as having a great match and it’s a pity that he didn’t get to lead the lads over the course of a longer campaign.  It’s also disappointing that a squad peppered with so many names who featured in the two minor All-Irelands of 2008 and 2009 failed to make it beyond first base at U21 but that’s how these things often go.  Hard luck lads, hopefully the seniors have a happier day out against the Orchard County in tomorrow afternoon’s league clash at the same venue.

Mayo: Robert Hennelly; Shane McHale, Kevin Keane, Keith Rodgers; Caolan Crowe, Danny Kirby, Eoghan Reilly; Shane Nally, Danny Geraghty; Michael Forde, Cathal Freeman, Andrew Farrell; Colin Dempsey, Aidan O’Shea (0-2), Cillian O’Connor (0-4, 3 frees).  Subs: Aidan Walsh for Keane (inj.), Darren Coen (0-2) for Farrell, James Cafferty (0-1) for Geraghty, Fergal Durkin for Freeman.

11 thoughts on “U21s edged out by the Rossies

  1. i may be jumping the gun here but that team could well have won an all ireland…surely questions must be asked regarding the future of ray dempsey as manager??

  2. Replacing Kevin Keane with Aidan Walsh and changing every line in the field as a result…crazy stuff. Dempsey has had five years at minor and Under-21 management and I’m afraid all he has shown is that he doesn’t have what it takes to be successful.

    If you need another example, last year he decided that Jason Gibbons wasn’t good enough for the Under 21s, 12 months on and he’s a regular for the seniors – who knows where we could have got to with him in the under 21 team last year. Anything was possible with this bunch of players but it seems Dempsey couldn’t get it out of them unfortunately.

  3. Lads we had the chances to win the game but didnt take the chances – players win games and not managers – twice he got mayo teams to within a kick of an All ireland only to be undone by bad decisions made ON the field.

  4. We’ll see how good gibbons is tomorrow. Im not convinced he was such a huge loss to the underage scene but I hope he proves me wrong tomorrow.Speaking of which tomorrow is a massive game for us if we have any aspiration of staying in Div 1. must say im surprised horan has tinkered so much with his team selection tomorrow considering the importance of the game.

  5. Maybe we should consider out under 21 players standards. many gone back since their minor days. Some like Shane nally brought too early into the senior set up and has been injured for the last two years His form has suffered also. too many people writing up young players as being good. Only criteria for being rated in Kerry is the all ireland medal in the pocket. time we came down from the pedestal and started making lads sweat to make the county squads. And by the way Cillian O connor will more than likely go the sme as Shane nally, playing far too many games, too young for a senior squad. Do we ever learn in ths county

  6. A bit of statistical nonsense. Good minors don’t always make good U21s. Galway won the Connacht minor titles of 2002/03/04/05/07. However that did not translate in to U21 success. Mayo won the Connacht U21 title in 2003/04/06/07/08/09. Logically it should have been Galway doing better there.
    Neither do successful minor managers make the step up either.
    Interestingly Roscommon with a sole Minor title in 2006 are getting much more out of their limited numbers than us. I suppose we need to let James Horan have the few years to see what comes up at senior level.

  7. “Interestingly Roscommon with a sole Minor title in 2006 are getting much more out of their limited numbers than us. I suppose we need to let James Horan have the few years to see what comes up at senior level.”

    This is a new Roscommon team now as those 2006 minors are 22/23 now

    Credit to Rossies they have been working on the under-age set up for a number of years & should have beaten us in Minor a couple of times

    The group they have coming through (16-18) are unreal talent.

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