Search Results for 'Billy Joe Padden'
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John O'Mahony named his squad for the championship on Monday, there were no major surprises in the 30 men named, with Belmullet's Billy Joe Padden the only man who wasn't involved in action so far this year coming back into contention. O'Mahony now has 33 days to get his team ready for Sligo in the Connacht championship opener.
In just over six weeks time the real deal will get under way when Mayo head to Sligo in the Connacht championship. But on Sunday all roads lead to Croke Park and a second joust with Cork inside three weeks. But this time national honours are at stake. It has been an impressive league run so far by Mayo, picking up tough away wins against Tyrone, Derry, Kerry, and Cork along with home victories over Galway and Monaghan. The only black spot on the copybook so far this term was the single point defeat to Dublin in McHale Park, but in the grand scheme of things Mayo supporters can have nothing to complain about so far this term. When the league started back on the first Sunday of February, most people’s expectations and hopes were that Mayo did enough to survive in division one. But since their blitzkrieg start against Galway, John O’Mahony’s men have barely paused for breath, as the faced down nearly all comers, with the exception of Dublin, a game they should have won, kicking 18 wides over 70 minutes.
The last time Mayo made the trip to Cork in the National Football League, they came out of Páirc Uí Rinn with a slender one point win and one foot in a league semi-final and consigned the Rebels to division two football for the next season. A lot has changed in the past two seasons since then for Mayo. Only five of the team that lined out that night started for Mayo in their last National Football League game against Monaghan; Liam O’Malley, Keith Higgins, Conor Mortimer, Andy Moran, and Alan Dillon. Mark Ronaldson came on as a sub three years ago as he did against Monaghan. Kenneth O’Malley, who was between the posts that night, is still involved in the panel as is Pat Harte, and the injured duo of Peadar Gardiner and Aidan Kilcoyne who also made an appearance in that game, the likes of James Kilcullen, Enda Devenney, Ger Brady, and Aidan Campbell who all started have fallen by the wayside, along with Marty McNicholas who kicked 0-2 that day after coming off the bench. David Heaney and Kevin O’Neill have both retired from the game.
Time has ticked by very quickly since Mayo took their final bow in the championship for 2008 on a warm August Saturday in Croke Park, slipping out of the championship at the hands of the eventual winners, Tyrone, by a solitary point. And with Cormac Reilly’s final whistle that day attention turned to 2009 and the talk of the pubs and sidelines as to what went wrong over the past two years. Well one thing is for sure, John O’Mahony is still in the hot seat and will remain there for the next couple of years after being given a new deal in the autumn. Who will make up his side this Sunday and for the rest of the year will be talking points for the next few weeks as a side begins to take shape as the opening rounds of the National League slip by.
The wearing of county jerseys has become extremely fashionable in recent times. It affords the wearer an opportunity to advertise his or her identity in a subtle way that often leads to a conversation about the chances of their team in an upcoming championship encounter. I was descending Croagh Patrick last Thursday morning when I noticed a family bedecked in their county colours. This Fermanagh family was heading for the summit to plant their county colours ahead of the Ulster final replay between Fermanagh and Armagh. Having stopped briefly to engage with them and to offer my best wishes I recognised a striking resemblance of the father of this particular family to that of Marty McGrath, the towering Fermanagh midfielder. He excitedly told me that he was indeed Marty’s brother and, as he would normally travel to climb on Reek Sunday, the clash of fixtures left him with no option but to travel west a few days in advance.
With the front door closed by Galway after the Connacht final, Mayo go in search of squeezing themselves through the back door starting with Tyrone tomorrow afternoon. The two-time All Ireland champions, who were kicked to touch at the quarter-final stage of the Ulster championship by Down and have come through the first two rounds of the qualifiers, seeing off Louth and a 13-man Westmeath side last weekend, to arrive in Croke Park with a bit of steam built up.
“It’s off the mark, it wasn’t spectacular, it’s a win at the end of a difficult week with all the injuries and uncertainty.” John O’Mahony cut a happy figure outside the Mayo dressing room on Sunday after he watched his side see off Westmeath with ease. The two points on the board was the most important thing on an afternoon where conditions dictated that the game would never move above the mediocre in quality for long periods. Mayo were struck with a number of injuries going into the game and O’Mahony is confident most will be back in the reckoning by the time Mayo make the trip to Kerry this weekend. “I’d hope they would, Ger Cafferkey it’s not a serious injury but we didn’t want to take any chances, Pat Harte would have been OK to go in there, but we decided to hold him so we could get another week’s training into him. Barry Moran’s injury was a bad hamstring pull and it could be a long one. Billy Joe Padden, maybe he’ll be back, it was a very bad dead leg he got in the challenge match last week, at least we have another week to buy with them and see. Alan Dillon will be fine, he could have almost started but the extra week will do him good.”
While Mayo were busy dispensing with the paltry challenge put up by Westmeath last Sunday, the flashbulbs were frantically popping in Bellaghy as the prodigal son of Kerry football, Tadhg Kennelly, made his return to the Gaelic fields of Ireland after his nine year excursion on the fields of Australian rules. Mayo will make the 300 mile round trip from home base in McHale Park to Tralee to take on a side which has seen off Donegal, Tyrone, and Derry in their last three games, and are brimful of confidence as they try to impress Jack O’Connor who has taken over the reins of the side for the second time this year.