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Mayo used 21 players yesterday on the field in their historic win over Sligo as they picked up their fifth Connacht title on the bounce, we run our eye over the performance of all those 21 players.
It’s been a long wait and it's nearly over. Since Mayo last tasted competitive action almost every other county has been involved in championship action, with Sligo the only side to have not got their summer underway by the time Mayo throw in against Galway on Sunday. This will be the first proper test of the Holmes and Connelly management ticket in the white heat of championship action and they couldn’t have asked for a more traditional joust than a meeting with Galway in their own back yard.
The first weekend of the Mayo GAA senior championship had a little bit of everything including one side lining up their entire 15 players in their own half for the start of the second half of their game, a heroic struggle between Mayo men Aidan O’Shea and Colm Boyle against each other for the pride of the parish, the return of Cillian O’Connor to action for Ballintubber and late, late fight back from Kiltane to break the hearts of Shrule-Glencorrib who made the long trip to Bangor.
A two goal first half salvo from Aidan O’Shea inspired Breaffy to their first win in the Mayo GAA Senior Football League this season as they saw off local rivals Castlebar Mitchels in Munnelly Park in Castlebar on Sunday. Both sides lined out with out key players for this contest with Seamus O’Shea serving a one match suspension for Breaffy after being dismissed early in their loss to Ballintubber a fortnight ago, while for Castlebar Mitchels neither Tom Cunniffe or Patrick Durcan were available for selection.
Stephen Griffen’s injury time point stole a draw for his side and sent them into the semi-finals next weekend, while Mayo have nine weeks to get things right before they start the championship in summer time.
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.
Heartbreaking is all that can be said to describe Mayo’s defeat in Park Ui Rinn last Sunday. After going 1-02 to no score down after 10 minutes it looked like the writing was on the wall for another hiding at the hands of League leaders and division one top scorers Cork.
Mayo’s search for back-to-back wins in the Connacht u21 football championship for the first time since 2009 will stretch into 2016 at least after the exited the competition at the semi-final stage on Saturday evening. In a game that wasn’t ill tempered Roscommon referee Paddy Neilan dished out three black-cards and late red card to Mayo’s Patrick Durcan, as Galway deservedly claimed their spot in the final against Roscommon in a fortnights time.
Tomorrow evening in Elverys MacHale Park, Mayo will be looking to make it back into the Connacht u21 final for the first time since 2009 when they take on Galway in the provincial semi-final.
The Mayo management have continued their rotation policy for Sunday’s game against Derry in round four of the National Football League. Mayo have made a total of five changes from last weeks starting 15.