Wednesday, 17 November 2010 12:38
New Mayo senior team manager James Horan was back on the sideline directing matters only six days after bowing out as Ballintubber senior club manager when Mayo Reds took on Mayo Whites in what was a very interesting and highly competitive four-quarter (20 minutes each) game in McHale Park, Castlebar, on Saturday. This time, along with his new management team, he was giving players from around the county who were not part of this year's Mayo senior panel a chance to show their worth in a game between his selected 15 against a younger side made up mostly of players who will be hoping to be a part of the county
Under 21 squad when they start their preparations next January for the 2011 championship.
Following Horan's appointment as Mayo team manager he promised to comb the county for new talent. Going by his selection last Saturday he certainly seems to be keeping that promise, and while it is early days yet it is one that could pay dividends.
In all, 43 players took part in this 80-minute game and many of them can expect to be given further opportunities to display their talent. Among those who really caught the eye were Lee Keegan, Donal Newcombe, Jason Healy, Peter Cosgrove, Jason Gibbons, Aiden Campbell, Ian Rowland and Kevin Dolan.
In the opening minutes it was evident the players on both teams were out to impress and as a result the game started at lightening pace. It was a trend that was to continue throughout and it all added up to a tough, hard game where no quarter was asked or given by either side.
Indeed, the hits were hard and included tough challenges by club colleagues on each other who were playing on opposite sides.
But the one player who caught the eye in the opening quarter was Aiden Campbell. The Swinford man who was more or less off the scene since he starred for the county at minor and Under 21 level showed he had lost none of his great talent. Although he kicked three great points in this period it was his determination to work hard and show for the ball that was most pleasing.
Tourmakeady's Kevin Dolan also showed up well in these early stages, as did Austin O'Malley who raised two white flags.
The Whites, where Caolan Crowe and Sean Boyle were holding their own in the middle of the field, showed they were not going to make it easy for their opponents. Points from Niall Walsh, Cathal Freeman and Lewis Cawley kept them very much in the game and at the end of the quarter they just trailed by 0-7 to 0-3.
The second quarter was a much more even affair. Indeed, the younger Whites team were slightly better and they out-pointed their opponents by 0-3 to 0-1 to leave them trailing by two points at the interval, 0-8 to 0-6.
The real eye-catching player was Crossmolina's Ian Rowland who was introduced for the second quarter. Rowland, who was impressive for his club all season, was just brilliant. He scored a great point in this second quarter and was unlucky when his delightful chip for goal hit the crossbar.
While he went on to score a second point in the third quarter and three more marvellous points in the final 20 minutes, it was overall play that marked him down as a real contender for Horan's league panel.
In the third quarter Horan's selection pulled away from the Whites team. This was largely due to the dominance of the new midfield partnership of Peter Cosgrove and Jason Gibbons for the second half.
While we all know the capabilities of Gibbons following his great exploits with Ballintubber, we were taken a little by surprise by Cosgrove's great display. The Neale clubman, who is largely unknown to many of the Mayo supporters, took his chance to impress with open arms as he worked his socks off, appearing in his own backline one minute and above at the other end of the field the next – and he chipped in with two fine points from play. No doubt he is a player who will be given further chances by Horan.
The only goal of the game came in the third quarter and it was brilliantly executed by Kevin Dolan.
The last of the four 20-minute quarters was a tame affair as tiredness began to hit the players. However, it was a quarter that was lit up by Rowland who kicked three outstanding points to cap off a great performance.
For Horan and his selectors, James Nallen, Martin Connolly and Paul Jordan, it must have been a pleasing first day out and they will be hoping for more of the same when they hold a second trial next weekend to look at more players from around the county.
There was plenty of talent also on the Whites team and when Ray Dempsey starts out in January preparing his Under 21 team it looks as if he will have plenty of good players to choose from.
Mayo Reds 1-20
Mayo Whites 0-11
Scorers for Mayo Reds: I. Rowland 0-5, K. Dolan 1-2, A. O'Malley and A. Campbell 0-3 each, P. Cosgrove 0-2, L. Keegan, D. Newcombe, J. Burke, D. Munnelly and J. Gibbons 0-1 each.
Scorers for Mayo Whites: N. Walsh 0-3, L. Cawley and J. McDonnell 0-2 each, M. Walsh, A. Farrell, C. Freeman and F. Durkan 0-1 each.
Mayo Reds: Robert Hennelly (Breaffy), Ronan Rochford (Crossmolina), David Killeen (Ballinrobe), Lee Keegan (Westport), Donal Newcombe (Castlebar), Jason Healy (Kiltane), James Burke (Ballymun Kickhams/Ardnaree), James McAndrew (Cill Chomain), Donal Gallagher (St. Peter's, Manchester/Achill), Aidan Campbell (Swinford), Austin O'Malley (St Vincent's, Dublin/Louisburgh), Damien Munnelly (Knockmore), Kevin Dolan (Tourmakeady), Brian Benson (Crossmolina), Michael Conroy (Davitts).
Subs used: Peter Cosgrove (The Neale), Liam Lydon (Kiltimagh), Ian Rowland (Crossmolina), Colm English (Achill), Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber), Gary Loftus (Ballintubber).
Mayo Whites: Conor Campbell (Swinford), Tom Staunton (Tourmakeady), Peter Rouse (Ballina), Conor Cawley (Bonniconlon), David Dolan (Garrymore), Ger McDonagh (Castlebar), Mark Towey (Castlebar), Caolan Crowe (Garrymore), Sean Boyle (Mayo Gaels), Michael Walsh (Ardnaree), Darragh Walsh (The Neale), Andrew Farrell (Killala), Niall Walsh (The Neale), Cathal Freeman (Aghamore), Lewis Cawley (Westport).
Subs used: Fergal Durkan (Castlebar), Jack McDonnell (Swinford), David Egan (Claremorris), Danny Geraghty (Ballintubber), Aidan Walsh (Castlebar), Eoghan O'Reilly (Castlebar), James Cafferty (Crossmolina).
Referee: D. Harrington.