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While Mayo head into Sunday's Connacht final as favourites, joint Mayo manager Noel Connelly is not taking anything for granted and he is very keenly aware that Sligo will pose a serious threat to his side's ambitions of claiming a 46th Connacht title. Sligo's performance against Roscommon and particularly that of their inside forwards impressed the Hollymount-Carramore clubman. "They were the underdogs, Roscommon were the hot favourites after winning the division two league final. Sligo had won three and lost three in division three, but they were the highest scoring county team in all the leagues, also they used very few players outside the 17 or 18, so they are a very settled team, a very young team, and they played with great belief and no fear, and led from the off. Nobody could say they weren't deserving winners," he said.
The reward for Galway's hard-fought three-point victory over Armagh (1-12 to 0-12) on Sunday at the Athletic Grounds is a home tie with Derry this Saturday evening (5pm) at Pearse Stadium.
A bumper attendance is expected at Eamonn Deacy Park for Saturday's friendly between Galway United and a Liverpool XI, kick off 2pm.
An acquaintance of mine from Galway and his wife took a few nights away in lovely Westport last February to celebrate Valentine’s.
The Mayo Minor Hurlers start the defence of their All Ireland Minor C title against Sligo at the Connacht Centre of Excellence in Bekan tomorrow Saturday, July 11, at 3.30pm. Mayo are in contention for three in a row at this grade having defeated Ulster champions Monaghan in 2013 and 2014 to win the title.
I thought I was hearing things when I tuned into Midwest radio last Saturday evening to see how our minors were getting on against our bitter rivals Galway. I did not make it to the game because of the lure of what was on TV as I wanted to see how Roscommon would respond after their embarrassing defeat at the hands of Sligo. Mayo’s defeat to Galway by a whopping 17 points has to go down as one of the darkest days in Mayo football at minor level. I do not recall any Mayo minor team taking a pasting of that magnitude.
On Sunday at 4pm the Mayo Ladies senior footballers will go looking to reclaim the Connacht Senior Championship from their southern neighbours after a few years of dominance in the province by Galway. Frank Browne is back in charge of Mayo this year after being the man who guided Mayo to the All Ireland final back in 2007 only for his tenure to end in controversial circumstances, before he could build on that success the next year.
Diarmuid O'Connor is the only potential doubt for Mayo ahead of their Connacht Senior Football Championship final against Sligo next weekend, but joint Mayo manager Noel Connelly expects the Ballintubber man to get over his fractured wrist in time for the game. Connelly said this week: "Diarmuid O'Connor has a slight hairline fracture on his wrist, he's a x-ray during the week, but all the indications are that he's fine and will be fit to play. But he hasn't been playing contact football with us since the Connacht semi-final, and he hasn't played for Ballintubber in either of the club championship games, but we're hoping to have him this weekend. If not, if the doctors say to be better not to chance him for the [training] game on Sunday we won't, but we're still hoping to have him for selection the next weekend."
There was 17 points between these sides at the end and it could have been 27 if Galway had kept up the pace they showed in the first half in the second period. They went in leading by 11 points at the break and had their place in the Connacht final already secured before the final 30 minutes of the contest.
Last Sunday in Croke Park, Kildare booked their place in the final of the Leinster minor championship with a swashbuckling win over Dublin. This was despite the fact the Lillywhites had already been beaten in the championship by Louth back in April. However in Connacht there are no second chances for teams, until the final where both sides are guaranteed a place in the All Ireland quarter-final.