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Mayo jet out to Portugal for training camp


Jason Gibbons has missed out on Mayo’s training camp to Portugal due to a hamstring injury.
Jason Gibbons has missed out on Mayo’s training camp to Portugal due to a hamstring injury.?Pic: Sportsfile

Mayo jet out to Portugal for training camp

Mike Finnerty

THE Mayo senior football squad flew out to Portugal yesterday (Monday) morning for a five-day warm-weather training camp to begin the countdown to their Connacht Championship semi-final in June.
All bar two of the Mayo panel (injured duo Jason Gibbons and Darren McHugh) have made the trip, while The Mayo News understands that U-21 pair David Kenny from Aghamore and Conor Loftus from Crossmolina also accepted invitations to attend the camp.
The team management of Noel Connelly, Pat Holmes and Micheál Collins, coach Donie Buckley, strength and conditioning coach Barry Solan, two physios and a kit-man are also in the travelling party, along with Mayo GAA Chairman, Mike Connelly, who also serves as the team’s liasion officer with the County Board.
The Mayo delegation will arrive back in Ireland next Saturday.
The group are travelling to Browns Sports and Leisure Club in Vilamoura for their training camp, a venue they also used three years ago before the start of the 2012 championship.
The resort is popular with both Gaelic football and hurling teams, as well as rugby and soccer outfits. Among the recent visitors for training camps at the well-known club were the Bristol rugby and Japanese women’s soccer teams.
“This is no sun holiday, everybody is going over there to work,” Mike Connelly told The Mayo News. “The players will train twice a day and they know that there are going over there to step up their preparations for the championship in June.
“In terms of budget, it costs approximately €10,000 per week to train the team. The squad didn’t train last week, which was a saving of €10,000, and this week’s budget will go towards the training camp as well.
“This camp is something that’s been planned since Noel and Pat took over,” he added.
“I think it’s a great idea. They’re a new management team trying to put their own stamp on things. The players had four years under James Horan so it takes a while for everybody to get used to the new management and the new systems.
“This training camp will be a chance to get a lot of work done, a lot of collective training, and for everybody to get to know each other a little better.
“It’s a big commitment going over there for the week and I have to acknowledge the players and management for making that commitment. They’re making sacrifices and pulling out all the stops to travel and train and work hard for Mayo football.”
Mike Connelly also confirmed that the senior squad will “probably be trimmed by four or five players” following their return from Portugal next weekend.
Commenting on Mayo’s overall performance in the recent National League campaign, the Board Chairman stated: “I thought it went fairly well for us.
“There was a complete culture change for the panel of players and the new management at the start. There were some new players in, Noel and Pat were trying to improve the panel and win games at the same time. They had a few injuries as well which didn’t help things either.
“We ended up going within a few scores of getting into a league semi-final. . . Now it’s about getting ready for championship, that has to be our focus.”
Connelly also paid tribute to the “absolutely unbelievable” support that the Mayo team had got at both their home and away matches during the spring.
“One of the biggest things that struck me about the league was the support the team got.
“We went to Kerry, Derry and Cork and we had more support at those games than the home teams. That says something about our supporters.
“It also goes to show just how popular and successful that the Croke Park Season Ticket and Cáirde Mhaigheo Season Ticket has been,” he concluded.