Sat, Dec
19 New Articles

Hopefuls go on trial for Mayo

Hopefuls go on trial with Mayo

Mike Finnerty

FOOTBALLERS from all across the county were given their first opportunity to impress the new Mayo senior management last weekend at a trial game in Castlebar.
A selection of club players (none of whom were involved in Mayo’s senior panel last season) took on a Mayo U-21 outfit on Saturday morning with former Mayo players like Aidan Campbell, Austin O’Malley, Damien Munnelly and Michael Conroy all invited to take part.
A second trial game has been pencilled in for next weekend.
Speaking to The Mayo News last night, Mayo selector Martin Connolly said that the management team were given plenty of food for thought by the game of four twenty-minute quarters which was won convincingly by the senior XV.
“We were very happy with how it went,” he admitted. “It was a nice morning for a game and everybody got at least forty minutes, everybody got a chance.
“All the lads took to the game quickly and competed well. We were surprised with how well they gelled together and played as a team. The decision-making was good too.
“We were looking for a bit of desire and mental toughness,” he added. “We were looking for lads who were prepared to put their hands up and say, ‘I have something to offer’. It’s a clean sheet for everybody so they all got a chance to impress.”
Among those to get on the scoresheet for the senior hopefuls were Tourmakeady’s Kevin Dolan, Crossmolina’s Ian Rowland and Austin O’Malley, the former Louisburgh forward who now plays his club football with St Vincent’s in Dublin.
A number of players who were unavailable or injured for last weekend’s trial game will get a second chance in the final trial game.
The majority of players who are expected to make up Mayo’s squad for the National Football League next season have already been ‘tested’ and given individual training programmes by James Horan and his backroom team.
Martin Connolly explained that there are a number of factors to be taken into account for those club players who are hoping to make the step-up to inter-county football in 2011.
“On the technical side, you don’t get much time on the ball. When you get the ball you’re under more pressure and everything has to be done at speed.
That will be the biggest step-up for a lot of players to make. There is a lot more physicality too, it’s hard and fast. But it’s a new start and all the lads had their moments last weekend.”
Robert Hennelly (Breaffy); Ronan Rochford (Crossmolina), David Killeen (Ballinrobe), Lee Keegan (Westport); Donal Newcombe (Castlebar), Jason Healy (Kiltane), James Burke (Ballymun Kickhams); James McAndrew (Cill Chomáin), Donal Gallagher (Achill); Aidan Campbell (Swinford), Austin O’Malley (St Vincent’s), Damien Munnelly (Knockmore); Kevin Dolan (Tourmakeady), Brian Benson (Crossmolina), Michael Conroy (Davitts)
Subs used: Ian Rowland (Crossmolina), Peter Cosgrave (The Neale), Colm English (Achill), Liam Lydon (Kiltimagh), Gary Loftus (Ballintubber), Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber).