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The Mayo juniors will get their big day in the sun when they take on Kerry in the All Ireland junior final on Saturday week, after the GAA confirmed the showpiece in the grade will be on the under card of Mayo's senior All Ireland quarter-final in GAA headquarters. Mayo booked their place in the final of the competition last Saturday with a 1-12 to 0-8 win over Kilkenny in Tullamore, and sets up a repeat of the 2012 final meeting between the two sides.
With just a week to go before Mayo head into the All Ireland quarter-final in Croke Park their opponents are still unknown until this weekend's round of action in the qualifiers is completed on Saturday evening. Speaking ahead of the game, joint Mayo manager Noel Connelly said he hoped that Aidan O'Shea gets "fair play" from officials in the upcoming contest and they do award him frees when he is fouled and not let the infractions slide by just because of his size.
While they are far better known for their small ball game, the black and amber Cats from Kilkenny are standing in Mayo's way of reaching the All Ireland Junior Football Championship final tomorrow afternoon in Tullamore. Kilkenny who only field a football team at junior level have progressed to this stage of the competition after winning the British junior crown, travelling over and back to Great Britain for all their games this summer so far. In the final of that championship they saw off the challenge of Scotland to book their final four spot.
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.
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."
After seeing his side fail to hold on for a win in the dieing stages of a game for a second week in a row, joint Mayo manager Pat Holmes expressed his disappointment after the game, but still was happy with what his side have gotten out of the league. “You’d always like to be in a league semi-final. Today we came to put in a performance, the same as every game we’ve played. In fairness to the lads they worked very hard today. We just didn’t get over the line.
When they took over the job of joint Mayo managers, Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly’s first competitive priority would have been to ensure that Mayo maintained their top flight status. With one game to go it looks like the duo will achieve that target, at least unless we ship a serious loss to Donegal and Tyrone overcome Kerry by a handful of points. So a win for Mayo on Sunday will send them into the semi-finals on either Saturday or Sunday week.
The number of new cars sold in Mayo in January has increased by 30 per cent compared to January 2014.
Film Mayo was delighted to have internationally renowned film director Pat O’Connor as its special guest for the launch of Film Mayo, which took place before Christmas. Pat has a very special relationship with Mayo since filming The Ballroom of Romance in Ballycroy in the early eighties. He has very fond memories of his time in Mayo, particularly the warmth of the people in Ballycroy. The reason that Pat agreed to be the special guest at the launch of Film Mayo was because of the affection he holds in his heart for Mayo. During his recent visit Pat talked of how shooting in Mayo was a very special time for him and one of the most fulfilling experiences that he has ever had film-making.
A seven point win over the All Ireland champions is as welcome a start to national competitions as any management team could hope for and joint Mayo manager Noel Connelly was pleased with how things played out in Killarney yesterday.