“It's do or die or whatever other way you want to put,” is how Mayo League manager Michael Hutton described Sunday's Oscar Trainer trophy clash between his Mayo League side and the Sligo/Leitrim League on Sunday in Milebush Park at 2pm. The competition, which kicked off a number of months ago, has only reached its second and final group game stage this weekend, and it is all to do for the Mayo League on Sunday.
Mayo were beaten by the Roscommon League in their opening game in the competition which seems like a long time ago now and Hutton was disappointed with the result. “It was a disappointing game, the first half we had a few chances then we conceded two soft goals, fair play to them they were the better side in the second half and deserved the win, but we didn't perform to the levels we could have.”
Lots of goals needed on Sunday
Sunday's opponents saw off the Roscommon League 1-0 in their first game, but the Roscommon collective lead the group on goal difference and Mayo will have to score a glut of goals on Sunday if they are to progress, they need at least a 4-1 win or 5-2 and so on to make it out of the group. But Mayo are not going to go down without a fight according to Hutton. “We're going to go out there and go for it, we have to score goals there is no question that we're not going to go for it. It could leave us open at the back, but that's where we find ourselves. The weather conditions aren't ideal for the kind of attacking football we will want to play, quick fast ball on the deck. It'll be more conducive to lumping the ball forward and pulling out a 1-0 win, but we're going to have to get over that and go for it.”
As with a lot of the competitions outside the county, summer football can be a hindrance to sides from Mayo as Hutton explained. “It's been a long year, most of our lads have been in pre season training since last February and it's rolling up on that time this year again, it's been a long season for our lads. Whereas our opponents are only really three months or so into their seasons. It's been difficult to get the full squad together for training over the past while. We've had sides in Connacht Cup and FAI Cup action so they were needed by their clubs, then we had the Christmas and New Year’s break and the lads had to get some time off. We got together last Friday and played Castlebar Celtic in a challenge game in Milebush, it was a good work out for both sides and we'll have met twice this week again. It's tough for a team of guys who are normally trying to beat each other to gel together in a short space of time, but everyone who has wanted to be involved has shown great commitment to the cause and we'll be going to do what we need to do on Sunday.”
Free admission on Sunday
The Mayo League is hoping to get a good home support on Sunday in Milebush, Mayo League PRO Pat Quigley said this week. “The Mayo League are issuing an invitation to all Mayo League clubs, players, and supporters, to come along to support the Mayo team who play Sligo/ Leitrim in Milebush Park at 2pm on Sunday January 8, in the Oscar Traynor qualifying game. The Mayo League, would like to point out that there will be no admission fee on the day, everyone is welcome, and everyone is free, This is the Mayo League's 2012 gesture to all involved in soccer in the county, for their support towards their club and league in 2011. The league looks forward to a big crowd on the day, to shout the Mayo team to victory and go forward to the next round of the competition.” So if you are at a loose end on Sunday get along to Milebush and support local soccer.