In what can only be described as a mammoth weekend of sporting fixtures, two Mayo teams certainly helped to lift the blues off us Mayo folk still trying to come to terms with the fact that our quest for Sam McGuire in 2018 is over. With the Wimbledon champions crowned and the World cup now decided we can now fully dedicate our time to all matters GAA.
After what was a very difficult week for Mayo LGFA, the ladies team did remarkably well to beat Cavan having lost the services of up to 12 players after a player walkout in the lead up to the game.Preparations for this game can only have been severely disrupted by what happened, basically splitting the camp in two.
Player welfare is the reason cited for the walk out. I don't know nor do I want to know the finer details or the reasoning behind the decision. Something must have happened to command such a drastic action but what disappoints me is that it wasn't resolved amongst the parties involved behind closed doors and not in the public eye which heaps unnecessary negative publicity on our county.
After what happened a few years ago with the men's senior team I can only imagine what was and is being said by those outside the county. I hope there is a resolution going forward as Mayo LGFA will not be able to compete against the big hitters without some key players who took part in the walkout.
Solan's men send us back to Croker
The Mayo u20's 2-14 to 2-11 win in their semi final against Derry was a real tonic for Mayo football. They played remarkably well under the guidance of Michael Solan against a hotly fancied Derry outfit and even when things looked like they were drifting away from them they managed to hold their nerve to close the game out.
The harsh black card issued to Cathal Horan in the 50th minute looked like it could have telling consequences as Horan had really come into the game in the ten minutes before he was sent off. The referee decided that Horan deliberately obstructed a Derry player after laying a ball off when it was clear he stood his ground and the Derry player ran straight into him. The black card issued to Nathan Moran in the 57th minute was much more clear cut and from Moran's viewpoint, most definitely the right thing to do to deny Derry's attacking advances.
Call it cynical if you wish. Mayo were two points up at that stage so Moran basically took one for the team. Mayo have some real good talent which is great to see. Jordan Flynn at midfield dominated proceedings until he ran out of gas for the last 10 minutes. Captain Ryan O'Donohue who had a quiet game by his standards but showed real class at times with his customary goal in the first minute, however his fetch from an up and under by Jordan Flynn in the 24th minute will certainly have alerted some Aussie rules scouts. I still can't figure out how he ended up catching it.
I think I'm going to start a petition to rename Tommy 'goals' Conroy to Tommy 'points' Conroy after his coolness to fist two crucial points when the game was almost up. I'm sure it went through his head that I better live up to my name and find the back of the net with at least one. Points at the time were of utmost importance to settle Mayo and ultimately win the game.
The Mayo half back line are definitely the strongest line on this team, very similar in ways to our senior team half back line, in Oisin McLaughlin and Pat Lambert (you can tell they're from Westport and watch Lee Keegan closely ) we have two guys who thrive on going forward and love to score just like Keegan and Paddy Durcan and as in Colm Boyle, Cathal Horan is a stopper and a real driving force.
All around it was a tremendous display and a great lift for Mayo football. The future looks bright. It's massively important these guys continue to develop and make a difference at senior level. Once the u20 final is over these guys need to be harnessed and pointed in the right direction. Ironically the u20 final is against Kildare only this time the game is on in Croke Park and not in Newbridge.
After opening weekend Super 8s need to spark into life
The first round of the Super 8s failed to deliver any decent spectacles with poor attendances on both days in Croke park. The two most stand-out results were Galway defeating Kerry for the first time since 1965 in championship football and another Roscommon capitulation in HQ where they were hammered by Tyrone on a scoreline of 4-24 to 2-12.
Galway's fine win in what was a very dull contest did come at a price however with a sickening double leg break for their inspirational midfielder Paul Conroy. Coupled with a wrist injury to Ciaran Duggan who got man of the match against Mayo this year, Galway have now lost both first choice midfielders which doesn't auger well for them for the future, in 2018 anyway.
Kerry on the other hand have much bigger problems and could easily go out of the championship this weekend when they take on Monaghan in Clones. Tyrone's emphatic win over the Rossies sees them jump in the pecking order and just behind Dublin and Galway in the race for Sam Mcaguire, according to the bookmakers.
Donegal's game against Roscommon this weekend in Hyde park is a do or die scenario for both teams with the losers going out. Will Roscommon be able to turn it around in such a short space of time? I'll be covering that game for Radio One and expect Roscommon to make a real dog fight of it. It's time for them to realise ugly football can sometimes win games.