Success has its costs and for the Mayo County Board, success in the Connacht Junior Football Championship came with the cost of having to send a Mayo team across the Irish sea for the third time this year. The Mayo hurlers had two adventures in London in the league and the Christy Ring Cup, and this weekend it is the turn of the junior footballers who are heading to Manchester to take on Lancashire in the All Ireland semi-final tomorrow at 2.30pm in Old Bedians, Manchester.
John Kelly’s side have been waiting a long time for this game to come around, they picked up the Connacht title all the way back on May 20 in Hyde Park when they were the under-card to the Galway v Roscommon, Connacht senior championship quarter final. That day they ran out 2-12 to 0-10 winners over Galway, thanks to goals from, Swinford’s Colin Dempsey and Davitts’ Aidan Minogue.
Their opponents on Saturday picked up their third All-Britain championship in a row when they beat the London junior side by 2-10 to 0-10 in the final which was played in Birmingham. Last year they ran Kildare close at this stage in the competition and they will be relishing the chance to have a crack at Mayo. For some of the exiles it will also offer a chance for them to take on their home county. Achill duo Donal and Adam Gallagher, former Castlebar Mitchels’ man Joe Corcoran, and Louisburgh native and former Westport United star Dessie O’Malley will be part of the English county’s panel for tomorrow’s game.
John Kelly will be looking to call on a number of experienced heads in the game. Burrishoole’s Liam O’Malley has bags of senior inter county experience and will be a key man in the defence. However Kelly will be shorn of the services of O’Malley’s club-mate Shane McDermott who is ruled out through injury. Ronan McNamara captained the side from midfield alongside Pádraic McManamon in the provincial decider and both men could have a big influence on the outcome of tomorrow’s clash. Swinford’s Colin Dempsey, Parke’s Simon Cloherty, and Davitts Aidan McTigue will be the go to men who Kelly looks to in attack over the 60 minutes in Manchester.