Minors looking for Bank Holiday Bonus

IT’S a pity that the fact that we drew Limerick or Meath has meant that the possibility of a senior/minor double header has went out the window. The extra seven days that our senior draw has given us is, of course, going to be beneficial from an injury and recovery point of view.

It should, I hope, mean that Aidan Kilcoyne is back fully fit. It will also mean an extra week to allow Barry Moran every chance to recover from the broken bone in his hand. While John O’Mahony has ruled him out we’re not so sure that it is that definite. After all Aidan O’Shea played in a Minor All-Ireland final last year (and gave one of the best performances ever seen by a Mayo minor) just two weeks after breaking a bone beneath his thumb so there is a precendent of a quick recovery.

But Moran will remain a big, big doubt.

INJURY DOUBT: Barry Moran.

INJURY DOUBT: Barry Moran.

Tom Parsons, I’m told, has been tried at training in full-forward this week which is, in my opinion, welcome news. I like the cut of our jib when we have two big men inside and I wouldn’t be terribly optimistic if Conor Mortimer started. I think the way his season has went means that his role from the bench is more beneficial to us.

The extra week also allows Parsons, if that is where he will play, time to adjust to the requirements of full-forward.

But, as I said at the outset, the extra week is not ideal for our minors who will travel to Tullamore on Monday fairly sure that a massive support won’t follow them. That’s a pity but it is the way of the world. When only half the Mayo supporters can be bothered to go to watch Mayo minors merely two hours before a senior game, then the minors know where they stand. They are off broadway.

But that will probably suit Raymond Dempsey. No better man to play down an occasion and get his players to concentrate on a simple game of football.

Which is exactly what they will need to do on Monday because take their eye of Tipperary and they’ll suffer for it.
There was an element of that about their Connacht final experience. A facile enough win over Galway lulled Mayo, despite Dempsey’s warnings, into a false sense of security for the final against Roscommon.

That they weren’t punished for their lack of focus is almost entirely Roscommon’s fault but Mayo got the kick up the arse they needed and play with passion and purpose in the replay.

Hopefully they will not fall into another trap of taking a team for granted because most people in the county will think that there is no way Mayo should have to worry about a Tipperary football team.

But Tipp’ have been making diligent progress in recent years. They may never have won a Munster Under 21 title and their last Munster minor title was in 1995 but they’ve come mighty close in recent years at both grades.

They defeated Cork 0-13 to 0-10 after extra-time  to get to the Munster final against Kerry but a slow start cost them there and they lost 0-12 to 0-6 against one of the All-Ireland favourites.

Their manager David Power will have learned a lot about Mayo from watching both the drawn and the replayed Connacht finals and he’ll be further boosted if Mayo’s captain Aidan Walsh doesn’t recover from the ankle injury that has him sweating to make it.

Walsh hasn’t been excellent this year but he has been vital. His workrate has been exemplary and he is a man who can really inspire Mayo.

His switch from full-forward to midfield between the drawn and replayed finals was pivotal and Mayo would nearly be demoted to underdogs if he didn’t make it.

Elsewhere I have to admit I really liked the look of Andrew Farrell in the replay. A fantastic ball winner, he also looks like someone who has that bit of panache to separate him from other water carriers in the modern day half-forward line.

We’ve spoken about Cillian O’Connor here before and continue to be impressed but Mayo will need a small bit more from the likes of Darren Coen, Alex Corduff and Brian Ruttledge. We’ve exempted Fergal Durkin from that because the Mitchels man plays the  role of a purely ball winning wing-forward, a role he performed to near perfection in the replay.

Further back we look solid. Danny Kirby and Aidan Walsh look ideal at midfield. Shane McDermott and Keith Rogers really look the part down the middle of defence, Michael Schlingermann was excellent when called on in the replay against Roscommon and none of the other four defenders look anywhere near out of their depth.

If they play like they did against Roscommon second time out we think they’ll make the semi-finals and be waiting for the seniors to follow suit. Now that would be a good double header.


1 Response to “Minors looking for Bank Holiday Bonus”

  1. 1 Green and Red » Good luck to the minors today Trackback on August 3, 2009 at 10:21 am

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