Mayo start All Ireland series in Armagh

Looking to the next challenge: Rachel Kearns is looking forward to what's next after Mayo's Connacht Final win over Galway. Photo: Sportsfile

Looking to the next challenge: Rachel Kearns is looking forward to what's next after Mayo's Connacht Final win over Galway. Photo: Sportsfile

The newly crowned Connacht LGFA Senior Football champions Mayo will start the LGFA All Ireland Senior Football Championship group stages with a trip to Armagh at the end of the month on Sunday, June 25.

Michael Moyles' side have been placed in Group One alongside the beaten Ulster finalists from the Orchard County and Leinster side Laois, who they will host in a Mayo venue on Saturday, July 1. The reward for the group winners is a home quarter-final, with the last-eight ties to be confirmed by a draw.

After finishing sixth in Division 1 of the Lidl NFL, Mayo got their hands on the TG4 Connacht Senior Football Championship title for the first time since 2016, with a 3-13 to 2-9 win over Galway at MacHale Park in Castlebar on May 7.

A late penalty from Rachel Kearns helped them to get over the line, but even though this provincial success is welcomed, she insists the focus has already switched to the start of TG4 All-Ireland series and a shot at reaching another national final

Kearns speaking in a recent interview with the LGFA said that she believes Mayo have a few more gears to go through this season. "We kind of had a talk the last night at training, we said the Connacht is won. It’s done, it’s gone. We can’t really do anything about it now and concentrate just on the All-Ireland series. We’ve to wait for the draw to happen and see how that turns out, but we said we had a good couple of percentages to go to even reach the top teams at the minute.

"Which would be the likes of Kerry, Meath, Dublin. We’ll have to up it a couple of notches to try and up to the standards for championship. We obviously are delighted we won Connacht, but it’s done and dusted now. We have to move on and look onto the next stage.”

The MacHale Rovers player will be hanging around for the remainder of the championship and not heading out to Australia to start pre-season until Mayo's interest has ended on the field.

“When I left abroad, we didn’t have a complete clarification of what I was going to do. They (Geelong ) kind of said ‘play the league and we’ll see how you get on’. They were saying ‘we would have liked to have you over a bit earlier’ because I kind of missed all of last season with shoulder reconstruction,” Kearns explained.

“They said ‘we would like you to come over for the full pre-season, even though we know you really want to play Gaelic. Just go home and see how you feel’. Then basically the coach and the captain came over for a visit, because they were going looking at other players. We were talking and they said how was I getting on and I said I was really enjoying it. Then they said ‘you could stay for the whole championship if that’s what you wanted?’

“So I said ‘that’s fine’ because it will work out. Myself (and Tipperary footballers ) Aishling Moloney and Anna Rose Kennedy will be able to go over together. I know some coaches don’t be as lenient as that. I have to say, I’m really blessed in Geelong. I’m really grateful to them for letting me do this.”


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