THE HOLY GRAIL Mayo under 21 captain Stephen Coen is pictured with the Clarke Cup yesterday (Monday). Pic: Sportsfile
ALL roads will lead to Ennis for Mayo GAA fans next Saturday as the county’s under 21 footballers take on Cork in the All-Ireland Final at 6pm.
The game is taking place on April 30 — a date that has been declared ‘Mayo Day’ as part of a concept that is driven by Mayo County Council with events taking place in towns and villages all around Mayo, and in Mayo communities overseas.
A huge Mayo crowd is expected to travel to Cusack Park for the game, with Stephen Coen aiming to follow in the footsteps of Willie Loftus, John Culkin, Eddie Gibbons and Keith Higgins as All-Ireland winning under 21 captains.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned Higgins lined out for seventy minutes with the Mayo hurlers last Saturday as they beat Tyrone in the Nicky Rackard Cup.
Higgins, who played at centre-half back, was starting his first competitive game since limping off during Mayo’s National Football League defeat to Donegal two months ago.
However, at least eleven of Stephen Rochford’s extended Mayo panel didn’t line out with their clubs with Castlebar trio Barry Moran, Paddy Durcan and Ger McDonagh, Breaffy brothers Aidan and Seamus O’Shea, along with the likes of Ger Cafferkey, Donie Vaughan, Brendan Harrison, Chris Barrett, Shane Nally and Kevin McLoughlin all sitting games out due to various aches and strains.
Elsewhere, Aghamore’s Alan Freeman, Ballintubber’s Alan Dillon and Knockmore’s Shane McHale were forced off with injuries during their team’s respective league matches.
Rochford is expected to finalise his championship panel next weekend, with a number of players set to be released back to their clubs.