Those souls who made the trip to Ballyhaunis last Sunday were left sorely disappointed when the man in black, TJ Keaveney from Sligo, decided that there would be no action on display because of a frozen pitch. The game which was originally down for Ballinamore in Leitrim was changed only the day before because of a similar problem. But the game being called off only 20 minutes before throw-in time caused a major inconvenience not only for the teams — Mayo had been going through their warm up on the second pitch in Ballyhaunis when it was called off — but to the supporters who had paid in to the ground. Mayo will now get their season underway on Saturday night in McHale Park when they host GMIT under lights in what will be a test run for the county ground ahead of their National League division one opener with Down on February 5 in the same venue. No Mayo starting team has been announced for the game at the time of going to print, but it would be expected to be along the same lines as the one picked for the Leitrim game. However there was one planned change before the game was called off last Sunday, with Castlebar Mitchels’ defender Richie Feeney out of the side after he picked up a foot injury the day before the game. GMIT will have Mayo representation with former Mayo midfielder Pat Fallon in charge of the team and a number of players from Mayo clubs battling for inclusion in his side. Mayo’s game against Leitrim has been refixed by the Connacht Council for January 30 in the original venue in Ballinanmore. The re-fixed game will give Mayo manager James Horan one last chance to run the rule over his side before the opening of their National League opener with Down the next Saturday.
New hurling manager appointed
With the national leagues at the start of next month, both the Mayo senior hurling team and senior ladies’ football team have had new managers appointed to them in the past week. On Wednesday evening it was announced that Galway man Murt Connolly would take over in charge of the senior hurling team this year. Connolly will take over from the management team of Martin Brennan and Pete Finnerty who stepped down from the role after last year’s disappointing run in the Christy Ring Cup and the national league. Connolly, from the Castlegar club in Galway, claimed an All Ireland Club title in 1980 with his club. He will not be a complete stranger to the Mayo set up, as is an uncle of last year’s Mayo captain and full back Aidan Connolly. Mayo will open their National Hurling League account at home against Roscommon on February 13 in Division 3B of the league.
Mayo ladies get new manager
The Mayo Ladies County Board last weekend appointed Jason Taniane to the position of manager of the Mayo ladies’ senior team. Taniane was selected by the county board from six candidates who were interviewed for the position. Taniane has been given a two year term in charge of the side who were mired in controversy last year when the county board withdrew the team from the championship following the resignation of manager Pat Costello. The situation was eventually resolved following an appeal by a number of clubs to the Ladies Football Association and Mayo were readmitted to the championship, where they were defeated by Kerry. Taniane will take charge of Mayo for the first time in a competitive game when they face Cork in the Rebel County in the first round of Ladies National Football League Division One on February 6. The new manager has previously managed Galway and Leitrim, who he guided to an All Ireland junior title, as well as a stint as a coach with Roscommon.
Parke cross the channel in search of success
After snow and ice put paid to the initial fixture between Parke and St Peter’s from Manchester before Christmas, both sides will get to grips with each other this Sunday at 1.30pm in Manchester. This promises to be a tough clash for the Mayo side who are looking to emulate and go one step further than Kiltimagh, who made it all the way to Croke Park and the All Ireland final before losing in the final. There are a number of Mayo faces in the ranks of the exiles, with three men from Achill, Shane Gallagher, Ronan Gallagher, and Donal Gallagher, all part of the set up. The west Mayo contingent in the St Peter’s side is bolstered by the addition of Ballintubber’s Eoghan Vahy and Castlebar,s Joe Corcoran. But Parke have been training all throughout the Christmas period and will not be treating this weekend’s trip as a holiday at all. Frank McHale’s side have been in putting in the hard yards since the start of the season and they are not going to want to let it slip on Sunday.