FAMILIAR FOES The names of Mayo and Galway who were drawn against each other in the 2018 Connacht GAA Football Championship quarter-final last week. Pic: Sportsfile
THE prospect of facing Galway in the 2018 Connacht senior football championship will focus Mayo players’ minds during the winter, according to Barry Moran.
The Castlebar Mitchels midfielder — who won his fourth Mayo SFC medal last Sunday — didn’t see any game-time during Mayo’s run to this year’s All-Ireland Final due to a persistent Achilles injury.
However, after last week’s Connacht SFC draw paired Mayo with Galway for the sixth season in a row next summer, Moran admitted that it’s a quarter-final match ‘to look forward to’.
“It doesn’t seem too long ago since we were getting over the All-Ireland, but it’s great that the draw has been done so early,” said the Allergan Pharmaceuticals employee.
“It puts a focus on it and the Mayo lads will straight away be looking at that and saying, ‘In the last two seasons Galway have turned us over. We know how good a team they are, and if we’re not up to our standards they’re going to beat us’.
“So it’s definitely one that will keep the lads going though pre-season and the winter.
“It’s something to look forward to.”
The Mayo senior management and players concluded their 2017 end-of-season review recently as they reflected on a campaign that saw them win six of their ten championship matches, with draws against Roscommon and Kerry thrown in for good measure.
Barry Moran, who has been involved in four All-Ireland senior final defeats with Mayo, says that he and his team-mates ‘have to take the positives’ from their latest loss to Dublin.
“The full week after [the final] you’re just thinking about the game and looking at absolutely everything,” he explained.
“When you lose a game by a point you’re looking at the ball that bounced here or that decision or what you could have done differently.
“But I suppose we have to take the positives from it, we were so close, and we have to also improve.
“I know the lads have been going through it with a toothcomb and I know personally and collectively we’ll be looking at improving next year and hoping to go one step further.”
No date has been yet confirmed for the game next summer, but there has already been speculation that it will be fixed for mid-May at MacHale Park in Castlebar.
O’Shea to captain Ireland team
MAYO’S Aidan O’Shea looks set to be named as as the captain of the Irish International Rules team tomorrow (Wednesday) at a press conference in Dublin.
The Breaffy clubman, who is also in the running for his third All Star award this season, has been a regular in recent International Rules squads and was selected for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 series.
Fellow Mayo footballers Brendan Harrison from Aghamore and Chris Barrett from Belmullet are also expected to be named in Joe Kernan’s squad for the trip to Australia next month.