The long lay off, of five weeks since their defeat at the hands of Galway in the Connacht final, did not do Mayo too much harm last weekend when they finally got back to championship action. Kevin Reidy’s side, which lost their provincial title to Galway back at the start of July, were slow coming out of the blocks against Laois and found themselves 1-6 to 1-2 down early in the first half, but inspired by player of the match Emma Mullin they ran out seven point winners in Pearse Park, Longford. That win has set up tomorrow’s meeting with Ulster champions Tyrone in Ballymahon, Co Longford, for a right to make it to the last four of the competition.
While the win was the most important thing to come out of the game, Mayo manager Kevin Reidy knows that his side need to continue to improve on Saturday or they might not be so lucky. “I’m happy with the win, as you always are because that’s the minimum that you set out to achieve, but you always want to see your performance improve from game to game,” Reidy explained.
Having a similarly shaky start to the game on Saturday as they had against Laois is somthing that Reidy believes his side can not allow to happen against Tyrone, as they may not get the chance to put it right later on as they did against the midlanders. “They did get a bit of a run on us early on going into a four point lead, but we hadn’t had a game for five weeks at that stage so we were slow out of the blocks. But once we got going especially in the second half, I was happy with the way we went about our business on the field.”
While Mayo took a bit of a battering in the Connacht final and did have to struggle at times against Laois, Reidy is still positive about his side’s chances on Saturday. “Things didn’t go to plan in the Connacht final, that’s pretty easy to say and we know that we will have to step it up a notch against Tyrone. They are coming in as Ulster champions, and while people might think of Mayo as a big name in ladies’ football, there is going to be nothing easy for us. We have to dig in and play for the whole 60 minutes on Saturday or we could be out of the championship.”
With Emma Mullin putting in a player of the match performance grabbing 1-6 from play and Cora Staunton scoring 0-12 the two Mayo corner forwards were in outstanding scoring form, but Reidy was full of praise for all his forwards. “Yah Emma had a great game and got a good score, as did Cora, but every one of the forwards did really in the second half especially. Triona McNicholas scored 1-1 and worked very hard as did all the half forward line but we are going to need performances like that again on Saturday.”
Reidy also revealed that he didn’t expect much change in the make up of his team from the one which played last week, but would be waiting until tonight to pick it. “We have a full squad to pick from again this week, which is a huge bonus for us, everyone is fighting hard for a place in the first 15. We won’t be picking our team until Friday night, but I can’t see there being too much difference between the side that started the last day.”
U16s get second bite at the cherry
The Mayo ladies’ u16 side will get a second chance to claim the All Ireland u16A shield title on Sunday when they face off against Dublin in a replay in Kiltoom at 3pm. Aileen Gilroy saved the day for Mayo when her speculative shot ended up in the back of the net to leave the score 4-9 to 3-12 and the need for both sides to do it again. Mayo had a number of outstanding players on the day, none more so than centre back Grace Kelly and her sister Niamh who bagged two goals on the afternoon. If this Sunday’s game is anything like last weekend’s was then it is one not to be missed.