Mayo playing the waiting game this year

Catching the sun:  Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly had the Mayo senior squad on a training camp in Portugal this week. Photo: Sportsfile

Catching the sun: Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly had the Mayo senior squad on a training camp in Portugal this week. Photo: Sportsfile

The Mayo senior football panel and management were in Portugal this week taking part in a five-day training camp in Browns Sports and Leisure Club as they begin their preparation for their championship opener in June. The players jetted out on Monday after completing the first round of action in the club league season last weekend.

The long lead in time for Mayo ahead of their championship opener on June 14 is somthing that the management team will be hoping does not become a disadvantage as they aim to peak for June.

Compared to the last three Mayo managers in their first years in charge of the senior side, Holmes and Connelly have a much longer wait from their last league game to the start of the championship. In James Horan’s debut season in charge of the side in 2011, Mayo had a 49 day gap between their last league game against Monaghan in Inniskeen on April 10 and their championship opener against London on May 29. In John O’Mahony’s first year in charge of the side in his second spell in 2007, there was just a 28 day turnaround after Mayo reached the league final against Donegal on April 22 and they then faced Galway in Salthill on May 20 where the Tribesmen emerged victorious. Nine years ago in Mickey Moran’s sole year in charge of the side that ended in All Ireland final defeat, he had a 42 day gap between Mayo’s exit from the league and the hands of Galway at the semi-final stage on April 16 and their game away to London in Ruislip on May 28.

This year Mayo will have a 70 day gap after their last league game against Donegal on April 5 until they face Galway, Leitrim, or New York in their Connacht semi-final on June 14, that is 21 days longer than Horan had to wait to take charge of his debut championship outing four years ago.

Peaking for championship is what Mayo have been planning for and Mayo’s new strength and conditioning coach, Barry Solan, and football coach, Donie Buckley, will have been busy working along side Holmes and Connelly to ensure this gap is used to the maximum potential.

That winning feeling

With the league now firmly in the past, we decided to look at the new Mayo management’s record over the seven game league campaign in comparison to their three previous predecessors in the job. The current Mayo management emerged from their seven game run having won 43 per cent of their games, while James Horan had a 29 per cent winning return in 2011, John O’Mahony had an 86 per cent winning return in 2007, and Mickey Moran’s side in 2006 won 72 per cent of their games. The standard of opposition in each year of course varies, with this year’s division one having four teams who have won the All Ireland since 2010, while in 2007 both Limerick and Fermanagh were in division one, and in 2006 Offaly and Fermanagh were at the top tier alongside a Monaghan side that were not the force they have become in recent times.

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