Just like last year Mayo will square off against NUIG in the home final of the FBD League on a Friday night in McHale Park. The prize for the winners, a trip to New York in October to take on the exiles in the away final, should be enough motivation for any amateur player, but both sides have bigger fish to fry in the coming days and weeks, which will be a distraction this evening.
It will be a meeting of Mayo minds on the sideline, with Advertiser columnist John Maughan in charge of the students again this year, where he will look to get one over on his former player and current Mayo manager.
But for Maughan, the real goal this year is the Sigerson Cup, a competition he won himself as a player back in 1981. Maughan has often written fondly of the competition in these pages over the last number of years and his side will have a quick turn around from Friday night to their first game in the competition. NUIG will take on St Mary’s, Belfast, this Tuesday in the opening round of the competition. Last year Maughan and his back-room team which includes Tomas Tierney, guided the students as far as the semi-final stages of the competition and will be looking to go at least one better this year. There will be plenty of Mayo influences on the Galwegian third level side in action this evening and on Tuesday with the likes of David Gavin, Ronan Rochford, Kieran Conroy, Cathal Freeman, Conor Walsh, Neil Douglas, Donal Newcombe, and Jason Doherty all part of the set up.
For Mayo it will be a last chance to get some game time in before the real business of the National Football League throws in on Saturday week with a trip away to Laois first up for the men in green and red. Last weekend Mayo maintained their 100 per cent start to 2012 with a two point win over hosts Roscommon in Ballinlough. There was little to play for in this game bar bragging rights ahead of the summer, with Mayo having booked their place in this evenings game the week previously and Roscommon’s chances vaporising with a draw against GMIT and defeat at the hands of Leitrim. But the game did give Mayo management and supporters alike a chance to run their eye again over some emerging talent and some welcome returning faces. The good news for Mayo supporters was the return of Andy Moran and Cillian O’Connor from injury last weekend. Moran who has been recovering from a broken leg picked up in training for the international rules team kicked a point with his first involvement in the action. O’Connor replaced Conor Mortimer who had kicked six points during his stint in his third game back in Mayo colours. Last year’s captain, Alan Dillon, also made his first start of the season with Alan Freeman coming back into the fold after being involved with DIT in the O’Byrne Cup in the early weeks of January. Barry Moran who started in the middle of the park in the opening couple of game moved to full forward, with Shane McHale given the chance to impress at full back, while Chris Barrett also returned to the starting line up for Mayo.
So far this year Horan has shaken up his starting 15 in each game and tonight’s encounter will probably be no different as he looks to get his thoughts together on the best 15 to line up the following week against the men from the midlands in the league opener. You can see how Friday evening’s game went on www.advertiser.ie/mayo on Friday evening not long after full time.
Dublin game gets earlier throw in
The Mayo County Board earlier this week confirmed that the throw in of Mayo’s game against Dublin on Saturday February 11 has been moved forward to 6.30pm. The decision to move the game to the earlier throw in time was reached following discussions with Croke Park officials, the Dublin County Board, and Setanta Sports television which will be broadcasting the game live on the night. An online campaign to get the time of the game changed had been mounted in the recent past, as the time of the throw in would clash with the kick off time of Ireland RBS Six Nations game in Paris that evening at 8pm. It is hoped that the change of the throw-in time will see more people attend. It was fitting then that the Mayo County Board used its official Twitter account @mayogaa to announce the news that the throw in time had been changed. In the announcement the board also confirmed that they had been involved in discussions with the other affected parties for a long time before the decision was reached.
Deadly Davitts book their final All Ireland final spot
As was reported on www.advertiser.ie/mayo last Sunday evening, there was much celebration in the towns of Ballindine and Irishtown and the surrounding areas last Sunday night after Davitts booked their place in the All Ireland Intermediate Club Championship final. The south Mayo men ran riot against their opponents, Wicklow and Leinster champions, Éire Óg from Greystones running out 2-12 to 0-5 winners. Captain fantastic Michael Conroy was once again the main man scoring nine points for his side and setting up the first goal which killed off the game as a contest, with a sublime pass.
Next up for Pete Warren’s men is the All Ireland final in Croke Park, the GAA announced earlier this week that game against Kerry side Milltown-Castlemaine will take place on Sunday, February 12. That will be only 21 hours after the meeting of Mayo and Dublin in the National Football League in McHale Park, which will ensure a hectic weekend for the Mayo GAA supporters who might want to take in both games.