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The only silver lining that the Mayo minors could take out of their Connacht final defeat to Roscommon a little under three weeks ago was that they were going to get a second chance. If Tony Duffy’s side are going to take that second chance, they will have to seriously up their performance against the rising kings of underage football in Munster, Tipperary.
One of the scary aspects about last weekend’s one point (0-11 to 0-10) defeat to Antrim in Casement Park was that so few football people in the county were genuinely surprised by the loss.
Sunday afternoon was a very special day for Anthony Cunningham, Tom Helebert and Mattie Kenny’s vibrant panel of hurlers and for Galway hurling.
Unfortunately the Galway minor footballers had a very short championship this season, as they crashed out of the competition last Saturday evening at Tuam Stadium, losing to Roscommon on a scoreline of 1-11 to 1-9 after extra time.
In recent decades there have been a number of inter-county teams that have made real eye catching progress. Dublin, Tyrone, Armagh, Kerry and Cork are the obvious selection in this regard and they, more than most, have brought a new dimension to the whole area of team sacrifice and all year round physical preparation. In fairness, Mayo football has also moved up a gear or two and if nothing else we are a team that few will ever take for granted. But I get the impression that we are just about hanging on to the coat tails of the top three or four teams in the country right now. On the evidence of the matches I have witnessed so far this year, I need some convincing from Sundays encounter with Leitrim that we deserve to be talked about in the same breath as Dublin, Cork and, believe it or not, Donegal. I watched the Ulster champions play Derry last Saturday and those of you who saw Derry’s inept performance will agree that they (Derry) are a team in serious decline. But it was the performance of Donegal that was the main talking point of the encounter. They played a terrific brand of open flowing football that suggests they have stepped up a level from last year. It should be a fascinating Ulster semi-final between themselves and Tyrone in a week’s time. But I am digressing!
The opening round of games of this year’s Shay Murtagh Precast Westmeath senior football club championship took place last weekend and there were plenty of talking points not least of which was Tyrrellspass’ draw with beaten all-Ireland finalists Garrycastle.
The Mayo ladies surrendered their 100 per cent record in the Bord Gáis Energy National Football League last weekend when they were held to a 1-14 to 2-11 draw by Fermanagh. That result itself was a bit of surprise as it was the lake county’s first point in the competition having lost their previous four games. However Mayo were also down two players during one portion of the game when both midfielder Caoilfhionn Connolly and experienced midfielder Claire Eganwere both sin-binned. Cora Staunton was once again the go to person scoring eight points for Mayo, with Yvonne Byrne chipping in with 1-1.
The Galway senior footballers will have to forget about last weekend’s disappointing one-point defeat to Westmeath and refocus on the fresh challenge they face on Sunday when Meath visit Pearse Stadium (2.30pm).
The Galway hurlers will face the defending league champions Dublin on Sunday in the opening round of the Allianz Hurling League 2012 at 2.30pm in Pearse Stadium.