Search Results for 'Tom Parsons'
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World Cup fever is well and truly upon us with games coming thick and fast and most of us struggling to keep the lids open for the late starts every night. Mayo football and the World Cup is something I relate to from my memories as a Mayo footballer. I made my championship debut for Mayo all the way back in 1994, the World Cup was on in the USA the same year. It is hard to believe 20 years could go by so fast. Mayo football was taking a bit of a bashing then on the back of Mayo’s humiliating defeat to Cork in the All-Ireland semi final by all of 20 points in 1993. As a new kid on the block I did not care about the World Cup, and I was oblivious to the thrashing I am sure Mayo football was taking from the entire country, because I had achieved a goal I set myself as a 16-year-old who failed to make a Mayo u16 team for the Ted Webb Cup. When I arrived home from Mayo u16 training in 1990 to tell my parents I had been dropped from the panel because I simply was not good enough I swore to them that day I would play for the Mayo senior team before I was 20.
Mayo travel to Hyde Park on Sunday to take on Roscommon in the Connacht semi-final. It’s remarkable that it has only been five weeks since we played New York in Gaelic Park. It feels like that game was in a different year. I mentioned in a column a few weeks back that James Horan should keep five or six midfielders in his panel, however I didn’t envisage what was going to happen after that. Tom Parsons is the latest to be struck down with a bad hamstring tear on top of Barry Moran and Jason Gibbons already suffering disheartening injuries. They say things happen in threes, so I hope no more players join them on the casualty list. No time is a good time to get injured but end of May/early June is the nightmare time for any footballer. If your injury is so bad that you are not able to participate in any level of training it may leave you on the scrap heap for the rest of the year as the stamina and fitness levels you have worked so hard to build up will dwindle away like a puff of smoke.
With all the furore, excitement, and stories from my recent visit to New York for the start of the Connacht championship I did not leave many column inches for the most important part, the match. It was amazing the amount of Mayo supporters who expressed concern to me before the team departed from Dublin for the Big Apple. I was regularly asked if they would win in New York, and the number of times I heard “they’ll hardly mess up, will they?” made me snigger to myself. Supporters were concerned after the performance against Derry in the League semi-final, but you were dealing with three in a row Connacht champions and double All-Ireland finalists here against a bit part team made up of a sprinkling of average county players and mostly of average club players. The result was never in question, but it took until the last kick of the game when Enda Varley goaled to seal my prediction of Mayo winning by at least 20 points. New York’s so called bigger players, Brendan Quigley and Ross Wherity, completely faded into obscurity as they were overwhelmed by Seamus O’Shea, Jason Gibbons, and Donal Vaughan. It was a difficult game to watch and even more difficult to talk about as New York had 13 men in their own half for long periods to basically try to keep the score down.
It is 11 am, Wednesday morning, May 6, and I am just in the door from my five night New York adventure.
Mayo did the heavy lifting in first half in their 2014 championship opener, when they ground down the New York challenge with the minimal of difficulty. James Horan will have learned nothing new about his side, but will have been pleased to have been able to give some game time to likes of Alan Dillon who returned to Mayo colours for the first time since the All Ireland final as a second half sub, while debutant Diarmuid O'Connor marked his first senior bow with a well taken goal right at the start of the second half. The game also saw a little bit of history with the three O'Shea brothers on the field at the same time, for the first time when Conor O'Shea made his championship debut as a second half sub.
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).
Derry travelled to Castlebar last Sunday to take on the home side in what was a crucial game for Mayo to see if they would qualify for the playoffs of the National league. I should have smelled a rat earlier in the week when the bookmakers had Mayo at an outrageous 1/16 to beat the Oak Leaf county. This game could have been a cracker but it turned out to be a damp squib. Derry fielded only one of their starting 15 which made us realise from the outset that they did not care about the result, we will only know for sure if Brian McIver got anything out of this game when we see the Derry line up on Sunday.
In seven day's time it's sure to be a very different game, with a place in the league final at stake. Derry came to Elverys MacHale Park with their spot in the last four already in the bag and made 14 changes from their game the previous week against Kildare with only Emmet McGuckin holding on to a place in the first 15. James Horan made five changes from the team that faced Dublin with Kevin Keane, Shane McHale, Tom Parsons, Seamus O'Shea and Mikie Sweeney all getting starting spots against the Oak Leaf county.
Mayo face into their final two regulation games of the Allianz National Football League over the next two weekends. Whether they will extended that league run until at least the semi-final stage on April 13 and potentially the final on Sunday April 27 (a week before the open their championship campaign in New York) will have a lot to do with how they get on tomorrow night against the Dubs. A win over the All Ireland champions would put them two points clear of the metropolitans and almost assure themselves of a spot in the last four, ahead of their final game at home to Derry in Elverys MacHale Park.
It wasn’t convincing and James Horan wasn’t pleased after it but Mayo picked up their second win in a row last weekend in Mullingar to get a bit of momentum build behind the team. This Sunday in Elvery’s MacHale Park a far sterner test will be given to Mayo when an unbeaten Cork team arrive in Castlebar under new manager Brian Cuthbert. The Rebels boss whose side have so far beaten Dublin, Kildare, Derry and Westmeath in the league has made eight changes to the team that beat the Oak Leaf county last Sunday, with Eoghan Cadogan, Aidan Walsh, Donncha O’Connor and Colm O’Neill just some of the star names that Cuthbert has drafted in for the game.