CUTTING A DASH Mayo’s Oisin Mullin goes past Galway’s Paul Conroy during Sunday’s Connacht SFC Final at Pearse Stadium. Pic: Conor McKeown
1 Mayo’s hectic schedule
PLAYING five inter-county football matches in the space of 28 days is no joke, even for a squad as well-prepared and conditioned as Mayo’s. But that’s exactly the hectic schedule that the newly-crowned Connacht champions concluded last Sunday.
Four wins and a one-point defeat isn’t bad going either, although it’s unfortunate that being pipped by Tyrone a few weeks ago meant Mayo were relegated to Division 2.
But since then James Horan’s squad have been men on a mission, beating Leitrim, Roscommon and Galway in three away games in the space of 14 days to win the Nestor Cup.
Their S&C coach, Conor Finn, is surely due a Christmas ‘box’ from Mayo GAA!
2 First title for baker’s dozen
BY our count, 13 members of Mayo’s match-day squad of 26 last Sunday were winning their first Connacht senior championship medals; an amazing stat when you think about it.
Of the starting team, Oisin Mullin, Eoghan McLaughlin, Conor Loftus, Matthew Ruane, Ryan O’Donoghue and Tommy Conroy were breaking new ground.
Four more ‘first-timers’ came on: Bryan Walsh, Jordan Flynn, Fionn McDonagh and Mark Moran; while Padraig O’Hora, Rory Brickenden and Michael Plunkett were non-playing substitutes who picked up their first medals at this level.
To put their achievements into context, most of them had never even played against Galway in the championship before, let alone beat them.
3 Horan’s record achievement
LAST Sunday’s victory marked James Horan’s fifth Connacht senior championship title success as Mayo manager. So it didn’t take long for the question to be asked: is he now the most successful Gaelic football manager in the province?
Well, John O’Mahony would probably have something to say about that.
The legendary Ballaghaderreen manager won eight Connacht championships in total during his time on the sidelines in the province, with Mayo (1988, 1989 and 2009), Leitrim (1994) and Galway (1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003).
But Horan has now won more Nestor Cups as Mayo manager than anybody who has come before him in the job. John Maughan won four Connacht SFC titles during his two terms.