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Mayo u21 manager Niall Heffernan got his sophomore year in charge of the inter-county team at this grade of football off to a winning start last Saturday. Mayo opened up their Hastings Cup campaign with a 3-7 to 0-5 win over the Lake County men in Tubberclair. Heffernan and his backroom team will be looking this year to reverse what has been a poor half-a-decade for Mayo at this level, not since the last of a four-in-a-row of Connacht titles put together by the current senior management team of Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes in 2009 have Mayo managed to win or even compete in a Connacht final.
Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly got their senior management tenure off to a winning start in Elverys MacHale Park on Sunday. The fare on show wasn't anything that will be remembered for long, but it got a few miles in the legs of a a couple of new and some returning faces in green and red.
There was no let up in the action on the club scene last weekend, even after Mayo’s elimination from the All Ireland championship.
The four Egan Jewellers Intermediate Football Championships quarter-finals that were down for decision over this weekend were postponed on Wednesday evening by the county board following discussions with Mayo senior team manager James Horan.
There will not be an inch given in any of the eight games in the second round of the Mayo GAA Intermediate Football Championship this weekend, with a number of exciting battles in store over the two days of action.
Cillian O’Connor remains the one injury doubt for Mayo from those who were available for selection last weekend for Sunday’s Allianz National Football League semi-final in Croke Park. The Ballintubber attacker, who had to leave the action after just 10 minutes in Elverys MacHale Park last Sunday, may not make it back into the starting line-up for this weekend’s game. The team is due to be announced at some stage today (Friday, April 11).
It will only be the second week March next week, but for either Mayo manager Niall Heffernan or his opposite number from Roscommon, Nigel Dineen, by the time they go to bed next Wednesday night one of their inter-county seasons will be over already. The traditional once chance brutality of championship football still remains at the u21 grade and many months of work and planning for both sides will come down to what happens on the field in MacHale Park next Wednesday.
Firstly to admit an error broadcast by yours truly live on radio last Sunday during the Mayo v Tyrone game. With the entire furore over black cards, yellow cards and red cards, I was blissfully unaware that teams were now in fact allowed to make six substitutions.
If the enormous score line of 2-19 to 2-18 between Kildare and Mayo is a direct result of the new black card rule, then maybe it was not such a bad idea, particularly if you are a forward. However interpretation of the rules that merit a black card is likely to cause debate the length and breadth of the country. Rory Hickey issued two black cards in Newbridge last Sunday for fouls that would not have even warranted a yellow card in the old rule book. Paul Cribbin, the Kildare wing back, the first culprit. After making a brilliant block on Adam Gallagher and then trying to prevent Gallagher pick up the loose ball his outstretched arm tripped Gallagher, Hickey had no choice, it looked intentional and Cribbin walked. When Aidan O’Shea got into a rugby clutch with Gary White just before half time and allegedly threw him to the ground you knew there was only going to be one outcome. Hickey’s interpretation an intentional foul, so O’Shea walked. I am fully convinced if Kildare still had the full complement at the time of O’Shea’s incident, he would not have even received a yellow. Cathal Carolan got taken wildly around the neck late on while bearing down on the Kildare goal, Mr Hickey obviously thought it was an accident and not intentional, I thought differently.