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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."
The Mayo senior football panel and management were in Portugal this week taking part in a five-day training camp in Browns Sports and Leisure Club as they begin their preparation for their championship opener in June. The players jetted out on Monday after completing the first round of action in the club league season last weekend.
The Mayo senior football squad flew out to Portugal last Monday morning for a five-day warm-weather training camp to begin the countdown to their Connacht Championship semi-final in June, according to the Mayo News.
The widely anticipated County Board meeting passed off relatively peacefully last Thursday night with a few members of the board resigning over the process in which the new Mayo managers were appointed. The story had gained national headlines for all the wrong reasons and certainly it was a little embarrassing the way matters were conducted in appointing Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly. An apology was offered as there were and still are a lot of disgruntled people in the county. I am sure Kevin McStay and Liam McHale are bitterly disappointed at what happened, and some gesture or apology to both men should be offered as both are true Mayo Gaels who gave an awful lot to the green and red and they deserved at the very least an interview before been told they did not have the job. I am sure anyone reading this has heard the vile rumours about players not wanting McHale, which I am told could not be further from the truth. It is amazing how widespread the rumours went and pretty much to the point that people started to actually believe them. Liam McHale suffered a severe character assassination over the last few weeks and did not deserve it. Good luck to Pat and Noel; it is time to let them at it. The new management team along with selector Michael Collins and strength and conditioning coach Barry Solan from Ballaghaderreen were deep in discussion and taking lots of notes during the senior semi finals last Sunday. I am a little surprised a forward coach/selector was not incorporated in the set up, I guess they will be basing their team on a strong defence. I feel someone like Kevin O’Neill would have been a great addition to offer some insight into good forward play. I am delighted Barry Solan has finally been given a chance with his own county. Apart from working with Laois and Kildare he has also done a lot of work with Katie Taylor so there is obviously good pedigree there. If Hollymount/Carramore win the intermediate title on Sunday and get a good run in the Connacht championship, Noel Connelly’s wife Valerie and their children may not be seeing a lot of him for the next few months.
Last night’s county board meeting of Mayo GAA took centre stage both nationally and locally following the recommendation of Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes as the new senior football managerial team last Saturday night. The handling of the appointment has been the hot topic of discussion around the country since it was announced on Saturday night.
With plenty of time still to go before Sunday’s showdown with the Tribesmen, James Horan along with Keith Higgins and one of the new guns in his panel, last year’s minor captain Stephen Coen were in relaxed mood, when they sat down to meet the press. However Horan picked the two players to accompany him on press duties is something only the manager knows, but in choosing both Higgins and Coen he was flanked by the last two Mayo players to captain the county to All Ireland glory. Higgins in 2006 with the u21 team, and Coen last September in Croke Park with the minors.
Oh to have a crystal ball to see what fortunes lie ahead for Mayo football in 2014. One thing for sure, one Mayo club — Kiltane have a superb chance to claim one of the early pieces of silverware when they take on Truagh of Monaghan in the All-Ireland intermediate final in Croke Park on February 9, a feat my own club Charlestown should have accomplished last season but for some calamitous decisions when they were coasting against eventual winners Cookstown of Tyrone in the All- Ireland semi final. Kiltane were simply brilliant last Sunday. If you were to tell me before the game that star attacker Mikey Sweeney and Tommy “Goals” Conroy were not going to score against Clyda Rovers, I would have re-mortgaged the house on Clyda.
After 25 years of “living and breathing” Connacht Rugby, coach Eric Elwood has said it is time for a change. In officially announcing on Wednesday evening that he would step down at the end of the season, Elwood said his decision had nothing to do with any “issues” at Connacht Rugby, but for personal reasons. “I have come to this decision after thinking long and hard about what is best for me and also what is best for Connacht. I have given a big part of my life to Connacht Rugby and I feel that it is time for me to have a change and time for the province to have a change as well.”
Alan Mulholland’s u-21 squad provided a terrific and well-timed tonic for Galway football with an impressive and comfortable victory over Cavan in Sunday’s All-Ireland final at Croke Park.
•The Galway Lawn Tennis Club hosts an open day on Saturday (June 26) from 12 noon to 5pm. Newcomers can sample the range of facilities available at the Threadneedle Road club, including trying out tennis, squash, and badminton with coaches available for all three sports. The club also offers an extensive range of facilities, including a sauna/steam room, personal training, indoor bowls, pool and table tennis, aerobics, chess, golf outings, and salsa and dance classes. Special membership rates are available on the day. Visitors are asked to bring a pair of runners.