Tomorrow afternoon the Mayo junior footballers go looking to book their place in the All Ireland Junior Football Championship final when they take on Leinster champions Wexford in O'Connor Park in Tullamore. Sean McLoughlin has guided his side to wins over Sligo and Galway to claim the Connacht crown and now the the Model men are in his sides sights for a shot a glory in the All Ireland final.
It'll be over two months since the Mayo juniors last had an outing in the championship when they saw off Galway in the provincial decider in Carrick-on-Shannon on May 22 on the undercard of the Leitrim and Roscommon senior encounter in a game they won 1-11 to 0-12.
It'll be a new look Mayo team from the one that saw off Galway that day, with McLoughlin drafting in a raft of new faces into the set up since that victory with, Jason Forkan, Barry Duffy, Eddie Doran, Matthew Flanangan, Darren Durkan, Ronan Doherty, Anthony Jordan, and Conor Keane all joining up with the squad in recent weeks to bolster it. A number of players are unavailable for selection this weekend with Shane Nallen, Sean Kelly, and Thomas Carmody out of the country and Andrew Farrell and Padraig Ferrick injury concerns. Belmullet's Eoin O'Donoghue, who impressed so much with the u21s and was part of last year's team that reached the All Ireland final, played in the Connacht final win, but has recently been drafted up to the senior squad as cover due to a number of defensive injuries, is another who could be available for selection.
Plenty of quality on show
Mayo will be hoping that their potent attacking unit which includes Adam Gallagher, Micheál Forde, and Darren Coen, will hit form on the field, while in the middle of the park Peter Collins and Gary Keane have been around the block a few times at this grade and and are more then capable of holding their own.
With Nallen away, Flanagan should slip in between the posts and the colourful Balla man has proven himself to be a very good shot stopper and a decent ball distributor in his under age outings with the county. At the back Niall Freeman, Cormac Reape, and O'Donoghue if available for selection will be have to be touch tight on the Wexford attack, but they are all well capable of doing so.
The Model County booked their place in the final four of the competition with a 2-12 to 0-9 win over Louth in the Lenister final with Conor Sinnott bagging 0-7 and Sean Ryan hitting the net twice against the Wee County. The Wexford men have a familiar face on their sideline with former All Star Mattie Forde in the management team alongside David Power. The winners of this game will take on whomever comes on on top from the meeting between British Champions Lancashire and Kerry who meet in their semifinal in Manchester on Saturday afternoon also. The Kingdom have always been a force in this grade winning 16 All Ireland titles, the last of them against Mayo last year in Croke Park.