Saturday 25 November 2017

Surely the gods must relent with Mayo?

Michael Solan (SPORTSFILE)
Michael Solan (SPORTSFILE)
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Mayo and good luck in All-Ireland finals haven't exactly been the best of mates over the years but there has to be a limit to how much pain the gods choose to dispense on a county desperate for a break.

So if they have the merest hint of compassion, surely they will throw a kindly smile in Mayo's direction in the EirGrid All-Ireland U-21 final against Cork in Ennis on Saturday.

In an incredible run of big-day disappointments, Mayo have won only six of 35 finals at All-Ireland senior, minor, U-21 and club level, as well as Allianz League since 1985.

They won All-Ireland minor titles in 1985 and 2013, U-21 in 2006, club in 2001 (Crossmolina), 2005 (Ballina) and league in 2001. They also drew three finals, leaving them with 25 defeats.

Tyrone, Galway, Derry, Armagh, Meath and Down all have much higher title hauls than Mayo from far fewer appearances in finals in the same period.

Now, it's the turn of the U-21s, managed by Michael Solan, to try their luck.

As a kid back in 1989 when Mayo reached an All-Ireland senior final for the first time since 1951, Solan (left) used to travel with John O'Mahony from their native Ballaghaderreen to help out at Mayo senior training.

Question is: did he pick up enough tips to help him improve Mayo's awful record in finals?

Not according to the odds which have Mayo at 11/8 with Cork 8/11.

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