Winning start for the U20s

Photo: @MayoGAA

The U20 inter-county football season got underway for Mayo this evening with the first round of the Leo Murphy Cup. This is one of the U20 Football Development Leagues that are taking place over the coming few weeks to prepare the counties for the upcoming knockout provincial Championships at U20 level.

In our case, this opportunity for preparation is very welcome as we’ve been drawn to play Galway in the preliminary round in Connacht. That preparation comes in the form of three Leo Murphy Cup group matches in successive weekends, the first of which was on tonight at the Connacht Centre of Excellence in Bekan. Next weekend, it’s an away match against Derry and the weekend after that it’s another away fixture, this time against Donegal.

Maurice Sheridan’s charges – shorn of the services of Senior panellists Donnacha McHugh, Sam Callinan, Ruairí Keane, Paddy Heneghan and Frank Irwin – made a winning start to the year in tonight’s game. They beat Roscommon by 1-12 to 1-9 in a match they always led in but which seemed destined for a tight finish before Mayo closed out a three-point win.

Early on, it looked like the home side would coast to victory. Two points for Cian O’Connell and one from Cian McHale established their early dominance, which was then copperfastened by a goal from Cian McHale midway through the opening half.

Further points – two more for Cian O’Connell and another from Cian McHale – saw that lead stretched out to eight points. Roscommon battled back undaunted, though, and, posting 1-3 without replay, they pared the deficit back to just two points at half-time. The score at the break was 1-6 to 1-4.

A point from Jack Fallon on the resumption stopped the rot for Mayo. Two further points for the Rossies, however, pared the gap back to the minimum. Scores were then traded twice – Cian McHale and Rory Morrin adding to Mayo’s tally – as the home team just managed to maintain their advantage.

Then, coming down the closing stretch, Mayo found an extra gear and points without reply from Conal Dawson, Paul Walsh and Cian McHale pushed their lead out to four. Roscommon bagged the final score of the evening as Maurice Sheridan’s side prevailed by three points.

Mayo scorers: Cian McHale (1-4), Cian O’Connell (0-4), Jack Fallon, Conal Dawson, Rory Morrin and Paul Walsh (0-1 each).

10 thoughts on “Winning start for the U20s

  1. Interesting to see a lad from salthill on the panel, very unusual to see a player from a club in another county playing for a Mayo underage side. When did that last happen I wonder – good quiz question.

    Disappointing the lack of local media focus on this team and game. As a overseas-based Mayo gaa fan I would have happily paid a tenner for a live stream of this game. Someone is missing a trick here.
    The u20s are one of the most important teams in the overall Mayo gaa setup – the elite young players in the county and we only get to see them play 3 or 4 games a year.
    Whilst it’s probably lost a bit of prestige since the days of u21 football, it’s still a massive honour for a club to have a player on this team.
    Interested to see that there two Jennings the squad as goalkeepers – Lee and Luke? A few weeks back the talk was that luke would be challenging Hennelly this year or next year but he didn’t start tonight?

  2. Mayo midfield impressed me tonight. Conor Reid and Jack Fallon caught a lot of kickouts. Bob Touhy covered the ground and intercepted a good few Roscommon passes with his pace.

    Cian McHale the strongest forward, took his goal really well. Paul Walsh lively, setting up scores and winning frees. Rory Morrin and Mark Cunningham improved things after coming on.

    Aidan Cosgrove was the pick of the defenders.

    Decent start to the u20 campaign considering the players missing.

  3. Thinking again about the Salthill lad – Maurice Sheridan will be the link there he’s a salthill clubman isn’t he

  4. A competition that should indeed provide good preparation before the important championship game v Galway.

    Both sides without 5 or 5 possible championship starters and expected for a season opener. Game could easily have finished a draw as the Rossies rattled the crossbar with basically the last play of the game. Games against Derry and Donegal next should give a good idea where this group are for the championship.

  5. Amazing commitment for young lad to play for Mayo.He lived in Mayo for a number of years and was on Salthill team that won u20 Co.Final.
    Mayo’s gain.
    This looks like a vey good team indeed.Cian McHale is serious talent and with some senior players to come back like Callinan and McHugh could go far.

  6. Are the members of the senior panel allowed to play for u20 having played senior, or is that ridiculous rule removed

  7. I have never seen Jack Fallon or Bob Tuohy play but I’ve heard that both have all the attributes to make it as top class inter-county midfielders .

  8. I think that Ruairí Forde(Salthill/Knocknacarra)is son of Noel(former Mayo co board Chairman)and Pauline(nee Staunton,Castlebar)

  9. @tommie K yes they are both very good. Both u19 too. Tuohy is a more skinny mobile midfielder, I’d be pretty bullish on his chances of making it he’s got the perfect physique and athleticism for intercounty with a year or two of gym work. Still a way to go however and needs to get established with castlebar seniors this year as a starting point.
    Fallin is already a powerfully built man despite being only 18, he can kick a score too as we saw in the intermediate county final last year. I might be wrong but there may be a slight question mark over his pace at the very highest level. Others on here would be better placed to know this. That’s in comparison to the very cream of the crop intercounty midfielders though in fairness.
    I think getting established as an elite midfielder in GAA takes a bit longer than other positions. As good as Matthew Ruane is now, he was a fringe player at best for Mayo until he was 23 or 24. Worth remembering when we watch Jack Carney this weekend.

  10. Thanks @larry duff

    Both sound promising and i agree that midfield is the one position players need that extra year or two of S&C before breaking into starting teams.

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