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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 18 July, 2019

'It's great to have a coach of his ability, his record speaks for itself' - Tony McEntee's Mayo impact

Mayo face Roscommon in tonight’s Connacht U21 football final.

Tony McEntee is in his first season involved with the Mayo senior squad
Tony McEntee is in his first season involved with the Mayo senior squad
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

MAYO’S SENIOR PLAYERS are not the only footballers in their county benefiting from the coaching expertise of Tony McEntee.

Tony McEntee Tony McEntee is in his first season involved with the Mayo senior squad Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The acquisition of McEntee – who cut his teeth when steering Crossmaglen Rangers to multiple club titles – by new Mayo boss Stephen Rochford last winter was lauded.

And some members of Mayo’s U21 side have also had direct contact with the 2002 All-Ireland senior winner, as they get set for this evening’s EirGrid Connacht U21 football final against Roscommon.

Since the start of the year McEntee has been taking midweek sessions in Dublin for the Mayo senior and U21 players based in the capital.

Brian Reape, who struck 2-4 from play in Mayo’s recent U21 semi-final over Leitrim, is a first year Accounting and Finance student in DCU. He’s enjoyed working with McEntee.

“Tony is involved in the Dublin sessions and he’s involved in the senior set-up as well obviously, so look it’s great to have a coach of his ability. His record speaks for itself.

“Most lads are working or in college up here and then there’s a collective session at home.

“It’s rather than having lads out doing runs on their own, we get a group together and have a great session.

“Three hours down (to Mayo), it’s not practical, getting out of the car and going training, you’re not right. There would be about 20, it’s a large number.”

Roscommon's Ultan Harney and Mayo's Brian Reape at a recent EirGrid U21 football media event Source: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

A bunch of Mayo’s minor team that won the All-Ireland title in 2013 are the bedrock of this U21 side. Reape was not involved in that minor triumph but emerged the following season when he bagged 1-6 in a Connacht minor final.

“There’s been a lot of changes since 2013. Myself, I noticed last year it’s a big jump from minor to U21′s, a big difference, the physicality and everything.

“A lot of things have changed from that 2013 team, there are new lads in, there are lads who got badly injured and missed a couple of months, a lot of lads have developed at different paces.

“It’s a completely different set-up. Look, it was great that the win happened but I’m not sure how relevant that will be the next day.”

6 players to watch in the Connacht U21 final between Mayo and Roscommon

6 players to watch as Dublin and Kildare face-off in the Leinster U21 final

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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