The rapid-fire National League campaign is now over with the action getting underway in this year's Championship next weekend. Mayo take the field next Saturday, when they face Sligo in a Connacht SFC quarter-final tie at Markievicz Park.
In this episode of the Mayo News football podcast we use the short lull in hostilities between League and Championship to preview this year's race for the Sam Maguire. Billy Joe Padden hosts the Championship preview episode and he's joined by fellow Mayo News (and Irish Examiner) columnist Colin Sheridan and by Mick Foley of the Sunday Times.
In a wide-ranging discussion, the lads look ahead to the summer campaign from a number of different angles. Their focus initially is on Mayo, where, naturally, they zero in straight away on the loss that Cillian O'Connor represents to a Mayo team that start out as favourites to retain the Nestor Cup but whose more expansive plans this year have been undercut by the Achilles injury suffered by their talisman.
The lens then widens out to consider Galway and Roscommon, both of whom were relegated from Division One last weekend and who seem destined to meet in Connacht at the semi-final stage. Their respective strengths and weaknesses are examined, as are their prospects for provincial honours.
Casting the net wider still, the lads survey other potential last-four competitors, before their gaze fixes on the quixotic endeavours of John Maughan and Mickey Harte. Both men have walked the line more than once on All-Ireland day but this year their respective charges in Offaly and Louth - both of whom enjoyed League promotion this year - are set to meet in the first round of the Leinster Championship.
Wrapping up this Championship preview episode, all three provide their predictions on who'll come out of Connacht and then they go on to declare who they think will get their hands on Sam in August.
This episode of the Mayo News football podcast is now online and is available to listen to on iTunes, SoundCloud, Podomatic and Spotify. You can also listen to it directly on the Mayo News website as well as on the Mayo GAA Blog.
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The Mayo News football podcast is sponsored by Ceramic City and Swinford Motors, two fine Mayo businesses with whom we're proud to be associated.