Game day: let’s bag two big HQ wins today

Mayo flags

At last, it’s game day. And it feels bloody weird to be here, far away from the action, on such a day, bringing back as it does echoes of my days as an emigrant all those years ago.

Back at home, meanwhile, a pretty monstrous crowd looks likely to converge on Croke Park this afternoon, so my absence won’t really be noted. A report in the Connaught Telegraph yesterday stated that an attendance in excess of 60,000 is expected at HQ today, which, if true, would be a larger gathering than Kerry and Dublin managed to muster last weekend. There’ll be one hell of an atmosphere there today if that estimate is correct, which I suspect it may well be.

Two big games are on the agenda for us today and it’d be really great for both of them to emerge victorious. The Juniors have a very tough All-Ireland final to play against Kerry – who are raging hot 1/7 favourites to win – and while Seán McLoughlin’s charges look up against it in this one, the experience of playing at HQ with a large Mayo following roaring them on will surely spur them to heights they’ve never reached before. Were this to be enough to topple the Kingdom in an All-Ireland final, it would represent a fantastic start to the day for us as well as a magnificent achievement in its own right for the team. Best of luck to them.

Then, after the Monaghan/Tyrone interlude, the main course is set to be served. I’m getting butterflies even thinking about this clash, to be honest, but I do think it’s a contest we can and should win. As I’ve been saying all week, though, Donegal are tough, seasoned opponents, a team well capable of beating anyone – ourselves included – when they’re in full flow so there’s absolutely no way we can saunter into this one thinking we’re definitely going to do it.

I don’t think there’s any fear this will happen. Every year since 2011, the team has – in marked contrast to so many (though not all) Mayo teams that went before – stepped it up several notches once it gets to Croke Park. I expect this to happen once again today – with, perhaps, a few more notches added to our quarter-final performances levels compared to previous years – and, if this is the case, then I do believe that it’ll be difficult for Donegal to live with the kind of intensity we’ll bring to the table.

The big crowd, heavily dominated by Ulster supporters, won’t work in our favour today. This means (sez he, sitting on his arse in the sun all those miles away) that our supporters will have to hit the frenzied heights last seen, to memorable spine-tingling effect, in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final. Every roar will be needed, every flag waved will matter and will all contribute to the cause.

Best of luck to both teams representing the county at HQ today. Here’s to victory twice over. Up Mayo!

32 thoughts on “Game day: let’s bag two big HQ wins today

  1. It’s worse when you know you’re not going to make the game. I remember watching us in NZ in 2006 and nearly weeping that I couldn’t get home for it.

  2. It might be some of ye’re first time watching the Sky Sports coverage. I hope they have Jim McGuinness involved. Even analyzing Donegal games he gets into the detail positive and negative.

  3. and unlike Galway in the second half we wont kick every ball staright into there hands.

  4. It’s so familiar how these big football days take over the mind year after year…how many is that now at all?
    It has occurred to me that even though there’s not been big changes in personnel from last year nevertheless we have much more potency in the ranks. The forward division is now transformed without any new personnel discoveries except maybe D O’ C.
    Talking yesterday about Galway players of old we agreed that A O S and Mattie mc Donagh played somewhat the same role. But we disagreed on which we would choose for this evening.
    Good to all on this great day!

  5. Brought the eldest lad to Croker for his first time two years ago against Donegal, no need to remind ye how that went. Bringing the next two today for their first time and while the margins won’t be as big the result will be the same.
    It’s 30 years since I first saw Mayo play in Croke Park in the semi final replay, John Finn was sitting behind me that day. I’ve had some of the best days of my life following Mayo and this team are the best of all.
    It’s fantastic watching the young lads getting the grá for the green and red, knowing all the players names and positions. The amount of times Aiden O’Shea has been used to get them to finish their veg, he should be on a retainer with Bord Bia.
    These are great days and their is better to come. Maigheo Abú.

  6. A O Shea might have a very small part to play today regarding scores as they don’t have a sweeper system its more that they have a saturation system. He will not experience anything like this and as I have previously stated if ye think he is constantly fouled out field wait till game time as ye are in for a treat,, defenders have a licence to pull, drag, foul and hold big men in the build up to a ball delivery, some refs do give a foul for holding after he wins it if he manages to do so but not too many !!.
    They tackle hard like piranhas and wait for possession to be turned over and then run like loose horses through your backs, that’s why it is imperative that at least two of your half backs remain loyal to their field line if not their expected position. O Shea should have a big say in matters if he can hold his head but he should be used as a skill magnet to pull the Clingons defence in uncomfortable directions and conjure up a few scenarios that create space for a non household name to hurt them.
    Mayo are a top team and the Clingons are to be fair to them also a team with wonderful players operating within the restrictive rules of the doctrine. Either team can win today so like all winners ye will need a pinch of luck, a bad call from the referee for them or a sweet bounce for ye. I trust your management have the competence to play differently against them than they would do against kerry or Dublin.
    As the battle cry goes Hon Mayo

  7. Jayz Inbetween –
    Calm down and take sumtin to
    slow u down….
    Putting in ???? where they shudnt be
    and leaving out words and all dah!
    It’s only 11 p clock in de mornin and
    ur a mess already!
    Or get a cupla pts down ya soon.

  8. If this game doesn’t get us excited nothing will. It could be an epic battle. Mayo have their best ever panel with lads chomping to get in, will be some super players left off the 26. Now a huge take for any lad to get one of them jerseys. Donegal have lots of great players too but have one or 2 weaknesses in the half lines and 2nd midfielder we can target and maybe Paddy McGrath. Monaghan showed how to tire (other) blanket teams.
    Today is what it’s all about. Mayo to win with help from the bench.

  9. You’re right about the bench Shuffly Deck.

    The likes of Barry Moran, Conroy, Freeman and Barrett will have a big impact today. Will be interesting to see if Regan is risked.

  10. Yes! OTBS!! It makes my point. Well observed. You should be sitting on both sides of Pat Holmes this evening. ;-))))

  11. I just get the sense we will get undone by Donegal as they will do a job on us like they did to Dublin last year.

  12. The rain has arrived in over Killala. I know the sun is on a beach in Wicklow. Wonder if the clouds will be hovering over CP before six. Hope not!

  13. Cmon the green and red, we will win by at least 6 points. Get behind the lads. Maigh Eo Abu.!!!

  14. Tis busy on the N4, and the butterflies are starting to build in the car here. Looking forward to a memorable day at HQ….hopefully we will have 2 victories in the bag on the way back! Up Mayo. This is it!

  15. Did anyone hear that E Regan was on the bench for someone?
    I thought players on the Co Junior team had to be from junior clubs. When did that change?

  16. Not played senior in the previous season is the junior rule. Hence some senior club guys qualify like McGing.

  17. Farrell is playing bolter stuff right now for the juniors. Carrying the juniors. Fair play to him.

  18. Anyone get a match programme to see what subs is named for Mayo . Is Kevin Kane named .

  19. He is, mayo/meath man – the full list from the programme is as follows: 16. Robbie Hennelly; 17. Kevin Keane; 18. Brendan Harrison; 19. Chris Barrett; 20. Patrick Durcan; 21. Barry Moran; 22. Michael Conroy; 23. Alan Dillon; 24. Mark Ronaldson; 25. Evan Regan; 26. Alan Freeman. The only change from the Connacht final is Evan Regan for Mikey Sweeney.

  20. Tyrone are at their usual cynical shite and pulling and dragging. I had almost forgotten how sweet it was to bate them out the gate in 2013 🙂

  21. Delighted to see Evan Regan make the bench management team must really rate him.Strong bench will need them all Barret, Freeman, Conroy & Big Barry likely to get a run.
    We need everyone firing today not just Cillian & Aidan, should be plenty of space for Doherty, Mcglouglin ,Diurmuid & Andy Moran, need a big game from Parsons & Seamie
    we don’t want to have to bring Aidan back out midfield.

    All the best Mayo as some poster said this is the best group of players to represent us in 50 years the most talented ,honest ,hardest bunch that just keep coming back for more .

  22. What all the birds doing on the pitch ,Tyrone are not showing any sign of burn out yet .

  23. Tyrone are up against nothing so far though, Monaghan have been awful sadly. I think Kerry could beat Tyrone by about 15 tbh if they got through here- they’re as overrated, because they had a good team 7 years ago.

    Still I’m rooting for Monaghan to pull through and think they will eventually

  24. Yes! Fair play to this great group of players. Five semis in a row is good going. I was doubtful about today but credit where it’s due, our goal was kept intact, and the win duly followed.

    That’s it for this Donegal team. We can’t replay the 2012 final but at least we finished them off as a force at this level.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.