Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tough start for the minors this weekend

The opening assignment in the Connacht championship that our minors face this weekend couldn't really be any tougher: they line out against reigning All-Ireland champions Roscommon at the Hyde on Saturday evening (throw-in 6.30 pm). We've had a lean enough time of it with the minors over the past number of years (although we did make it to the All-Ireland final via the backdoor in 2005, losing to Down in that decider) and Connacht titles at minor level have been fairly thin on the ground of late. Indeed, we've failed to win a Connacht minor title since we completed a provincial three-in-a-row in 2001. And, of course, you have to go all the way back to 1985 for our last All-Ireland title at minor level. That was the team that had in its ranks the likes of Greg Maher, Michael Fitzmaurice, Kevin Beirne and MJ Mullen. I can still recall with fondness the raucous celebrations at the team's victory bash in the Garda Club that night . . .

Fast forward back to 2007 where former senior player Ray Dempsey is now managing the minor team. There's a good in-depth interview with him in this week's Mayo News and the Knockmore man certainly talks a good game. His charges will be up against it to get a result in the Hyde on Saturday evening but, from the sounds of it, it won't be from the want of trying.

1 comment:

Fourgoal McGee said...

It’s amazing! Mayo supporters must be the most resilient in the world. We keep getting knocked back (high profile defeats, injuries, etc) but one whiff of a chance that things might be improving and the whole football crazy county is dusting down the flags, washing the jersey and waiting with bated breath for the qualifier draw so that we can get back into action. Mighty! I’d hate to be from anywhere else!

Latest reports suggest that we can expect a half back line with a bit more steel in it that of late for the next competitive outing. This has to be welcomed as we were getting into a habit of being pushed around a bit too much for comfort in that department. Interesting to see T Mort getting a run there. I have to admit that I didn’t consider Trevor’s CV when looking at the half backs, but the man has passion for his football in bucketfuls and this is really needed in the half back line. If memory serves me correctly, Brady the Younger spent some of his underage footballing days in defensive territory, so I can see why he is getting a run there. Again, he adds a new dimension as he is no shrinking violet, but you have to ask how good a man marker is he? As I have said before, we need a few of these and I hope that Johnno is addressing this.

Austie back again? On his day, he can do serious damage but he needs to be consistent in having more such days more often.

Young Mort in flying form? That’s great but we need at least 3 scoring forwards and challenge matches have a habit of making a forward look good. Anyway, if Johnno is getting them to a stage where they won’t allow themselves to be pushed around, that’s progress.

(By the way, if anyone is still wondering why Dublin beat Meath last Sunday, look no further than Shane Ryan. There’s a man who knows how to look after himself. Everytime Pillar plays him at centre field he delivers. How many times did he loose the ball last Sunday? Watch the match again (Setanta tonight at 10.30pm) and you will find that “rarely” is the answer. With someone like that constantly feeding the forwards, they will always get enough chances to win a game. When the supply reduces, fellows like Vaughan get afraid that they will miss and they bottle it. However, Pillar hasn’t seen this yet. Ryan only started in centre field because Magee was unfit.)

Anyway, back to Mayo! Who would we like to get in the draw? Ideally a team that is beatable but would ask the right questions of us if we have notions of progressing further. My choice (if we had it) would be Meath. We could help Fat Dudley and the Failed Candidate to move on from 1996 by beating the shite out of them – preferably in Navan!

Keep the faith!