BIG TEST AGAIN AS MONAGHAN TRAVEL INTO THE WEST TO PLAY MAYO MEN

28 February 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan resume their Allianz NFL Division One campaign after a three-week break with a testing trip to Castlebar to face Mayo. by COLM SHALVEY

While public opinion of Mayo has been clouded by their failure to get over the line and claim a first All-Ireland SFC title since 1951, the Connacht county have been right up there with the most consistent in the country throughout the last decade.

Mayo haven’t been outside Division One of the league since all the way back as far as 1997. They have reached the semi-finals nine times in the intervening years, including 2013 and 2014. They went on to contest four finals, with their last win coming in 2001.

Mayo won four consecutive Connacht titles under James Horan and went agonisingly close to claiming the Sam Maguire in 2012 and 2013 – narrowly losing finals to Donegal and Dublin. Horan’s term ended with their epic All-Ireland semi-final replay defeat against Kerry last August; their third year in a row to lose to the eventual champions.

2006 All-Ireland Under-21 winning managers Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly took the reins after a fairly acrimonious race with Kevin McStay and Liam McHale and they began their first National League with a fine win over Kerry in Killarney, but suffered a setback last time out when falling to a surprise defeat at home to Tyrone.

Monaghan’s last visit to Sunday’s venue resulted …

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