On and off again became the theme of Mayo’s National Football League meeting with Dublin over the past week. Saturday night’s match against the All Ireland champions was abandoned by referee Marty Duffy at half time, when a thick blanket of fog descended on McHale Park shortly before the median whistle and showed no signs of clearing after a prolonged half time break, forcing the Sligo whistler to abandon the game.
The CCCC of the GAA met on Monday afternoon and initially re-fixed the game for tomorrow, Saturday February 18, in the same venue throwing in at 2pm. However not long after, that date was abandoned and a new date of March 31 was pencilled in for the Castlebar ground, with a throw in time yet to be confirmed.
The refixed game will see Mayo line out in league action six weeks in a row from their next league game on Saturday, March 3 against Armagh until they make the trip to Tralee to take on Kerry on April 8 in their final game in the league stages. If Mayo make the top four of the division, they will then be out in the semi-finals of the competition shortly afterwards. Also sandwiched in the middle of all these senior league games will be the Connacht u21 football championship which throws in on Wednesday, March 14 against Galway in the preliminary round in McHale Park. If they overcome Galway a trip to Kiltoom to take on Roscommon will be in order the following Wednesday evening, with the Connacht final down for Saturday, April 7, the day before Mayo’s final league game against Kerry.
The refixing of the game for Saturday March 31 has thrown a bit of a spanner in the works for the internal competitions in Mayo as Mayo County Board PRO Aidan McLoughlin explained. “We are supposed to be starting the leagues in Mayo on that weekend. We have to wait and see for the moment on the squad that James Horan has at that stage, we might just be able to start from division 1C or 1D down that weekend, depending on the players who are involved with the senior squad at the time.”
While there is no inter-county action this weekend for Mayo, there are a number of players involved in the M Donnelly, Inter-provincial semi-final in Markievicz Park on Sunday as part of Fergal O’Donnell’s squad. Donal Vaughan, Seamus O’Shea, Kevin McLoughlin, Alan Dillon, and Conor Mortimer are all part of the starting line up. Other Mayo players who are part of the squad are Lee Keegan, Barry Moran, and Michael Conroy.
Mayo Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta launched
Former Mayo manager John O’Mahony was on hand last week to officially launch the 2012 Mayo GAA Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta tournament, which takes place in CLG Bhaile an Chaisil GAA grounds in north Mayo on the weekend of March 10 and 11 this year.
Speaking about the Comórtas competition O’Mahony stated that the competition is one of the most important club tournaments in the country, and with TG4 and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta now broadcasting the finals live it is a great chance for players and clubs to shine on the national stage.
“Over the years, Mayo intercounty players like Chris Barrett, Billy Joe Padden, Colm Cafferkey, Mikey Sweeney, and Fintan Ruddy have gone from the Comórtas Peile finals straight on to the Mayo senior county panel. The comórtas brings out the very best in club footballers and I hope it is a similar situation during this year’s Mayo finals in Ballycastle,” O’Mahony said.
Chairperson of the Mayo Comórtas Peile competition Piaras Ó Raghallaigh stated that the commitment of the Gaeltacht clubs to the Comórtas tournament and the local interest in it was very strong at present and he looked forward to another excellent weekend in Ballycastle.
“We need to continue to build on the success of Mayo Gaeltacht clubs in recent years at the national finals and we must travel to Gweedore in Donegal for the finals with committed junior and senior champions from Mayo,” he said.
Cathaoirleach of CLG Bhaile an Chaisil Martin Heffernan said the club was delighted to be hosting the Mayo Comórtas finals this year. “It is a great honour to welcome all the other Mayo Gaeltacht clubs to Ballycastle and I know they will get a ‘céad míle fáilte’ from everyone. This is the first time in the history of the club to be hosting the Mayo Comórtas finals and we will certainly be rolling out the red carpet for the visiting clubs.”