A whole new experience

It’s worthwhile, I think, to spend a bit more time on where we find ourselves in the qualifiers.  This year isn’t the first time we’ve been tipped into this particular bear pit at the first round stage but it is, as was noted in the Indo today, the first time that we’ve found ourselves in this predicament in a year where we have to make it through four qualifier rounds just to reach the All-Ireland series. Back in 2007, which was the only other year in which we landed on our arse into the first round of the qualifiers, the Division 4 first round losers were shunted directly off to sample the joys of the Tommy Murphy Cup, which meant that one of the qualifier rounds was dispensed with that year and the year after.  With the Division 4 sides let back in last year, the qualifiers reverted back to a four-round format, one that had been in place from 2001 to 2006.

That Indo article also points out that those counties who were drawn away in the first round of the qualifiers last year will automatically get a home tie dish ear.  London over in Ruislip, anyone?  It also states that, aside from ourselves, at least two other All-Ireland quarter-finalists from last year – Kildare and Donegal –  will also be in the hat for this year’s first round qualifier draw.  (By the way, that draw takes place this coming Sunday as part of the sports news on  RTÉ’s Six O’Clock News programme).

I guess a quick revision of how we’ve fared in the qualifiers down the years wouldn’t go amiss either at this point.  In 2001, we became the first high profile casualty of the new dispensation when, as NFL champions, we entered the qualifiers in round 4 – having lost in the Connacht final to Roscommon – and were beaten by Westmeath.  The following year, we enjoyed our first and so far only successful run through the backdoor, albeit a run greatly helped by a series of soft draws.  We entered the qualifiers in round 2, having lost our Connacht semi-final to Galway, and we then recorded wins over Roscommon, Limerick and Tipperary (that year’s losing Munster finalists) to reach the All-Ireland quarter-final, where we were beaten soundly enough by Cork. In 2003, we joined the fun in round 4 when, following our Connacht final defeat to Galway, we went on to lose to Fermanagh.  2005 saw us back in round 4, after another Connacht final loss to Galway, but this time we managed to labour to a win over Cavan to reach the All-Ireland quarter-final, where we lost to Kerry. In 2007, our Connacht preliminary round loss to Galway sent us into round 1 of the qualifiers, where we beat Cavan (the only county we’ve met more than once in the backdoor) but then lost in round 2 to Derry.  In 2008, we were back on familiar territory with a Connacht final loss to Galway followed by a round 4 qualifier defeat, this time to Tyrone in Croke Park.

Overall, then, we’ve played nine matches to date in the qualifiers, winning five and losing the other four.  With four qualifier rounds to be negotiated if we are to make it through to this year’s All-Ireland series, we have a chance to improve that win/loss ratio quite significantly over the coming weeks but time will tell if we’re up to the job of doing so.

14 thoughts on “A whole new experience

  1. correct me if i am wrong but the years that we play london in ruislip are normally good years for us ? woudl be nice to start off ( again) with a win against them… is there then a scenario where could play a connacht team in every round up until the all-ireland series ? and can we then draw the connacht champions ? would be some serious redemption…

    padddypower oddsmakers would give you a serious price on this scenario unfolding i know…

  2. Tuesday evening is a crucial evening. The players are brought together for the first time (surely some sort of clear the air meeting this week would have been worthwhile) and this will set the marker for the rest of the Summer. We are down but not out and I think the least every supporter expects is a serious effort to regroup and finish the year with some pride.

    Tuesday is a crucial day in the Dail. A vote of no confidence in the Taoiseach where the vote of one John O’Mahony will be crucial if things get tight.

    So where will our manager be?

  3. Very good point Cynthia. A TDs duties leave very little time for any other activity. One or other will suffer.

    I see John Maughan has launched a broadside at JOM in this morning’s Mayo Advertiser. W.J. you might upload this. It makes a lot of sense.

  4. Sadly, I think there’s now overwhelming evidence that one activity has already suffered and it’s clearly not the one that involves Leinster House!

    I already provided a link to that John Maughan piece via Twitter, Grainne, but, for those who haven’t yet seen it, you can access it here. I think JM was restrained enough in what he had to say, given all the slings and arrows he had to endure when the roles were reversed.

  5. So, how do we know who gets to play the games at home in the Qualifiers? Is it whoever is drawn first, taking into account the rule Willie Joe has mentioned above about teams drawn at home this year if they were away last year?

    ‘Tis a bit of a confusing process!!

  6. I think that’s it, Esther, i.e. first out of the hat is home unless drawn against a county that is “due” a home tie. They’re planning on doing it live on TV as part of the RTE News sports bulletin so there’s plenty of scope for confusion there! I’m likely to be still traipsing back from Croke Park with my little Dubs when the draw is on so no doubt it’ll all be sorted out by the time I get home.

  7. After Saturday last and today’s poll, rumours has it that Enda and JOM are swapping the Mayo Manager/Head of Fine Gael roles.
    It could not be any worse for either party.

  8. Where is this vote of no confidence on Tuesday night -is it in McHale Rd or Kildare St ?

  9. Like a lot of people I dont know what exactly is wrong. What I do know is this;
    (1) if you want to be successful you need to be confident about who will play at 1, 3, 6, 8, 9 11 and 14. Think of all the great teams – you could name their central players without a problem , even years afterwards. We have not had a settled team with a strong spine in Mayo for a long time and now we have even more questions than ever.
    (2) The players need to play with pride and passion and a grim determination. This seems to be in short supply. Maybe its just the nature of the players we have.
    (3) The manager and selectors need to wake up and make good decisions on the sideline and do so in plenty of time. We seem to have slipped on this front also.

    As to what to do about it? We actually have a great opportunity to put some things right in the qualifiers.
    “Its not what happens to you in life that is important – its how you react to it!”
    Lets start by reacting with the pride and passion and beat the bejazus out of whoever we get in the first game.
    Lets pick the 15 lads who really want to put on that jersey and make things right for Mayo (and leave the rest at home!)
    Let the lads on the panel and management be honest with each other and face the reality that now exists.
    Then maybe…….just maybe we will have something to shout about again in this proud football county of ours.
    In the word of the great Kieran Fitzgerald in the final moments of a triple crown match; “Lads where’s your pride – where’s your f***ing pride”

  10. On a different matter. I dont know how long it takes to correct a web site. Not long I imagine if you have the expertise. I see that that county creat that adorns the Mayo GAA web site still sits there. Thats the one thats a cross between the Galway and Cork crest. Its the little things that you spot at first and its the little things that eventually leads us back to being a mediocre team once more.

  11. Bored and mischevious. I trawled through your archives WJ and came across first rate talent that for some reason or other was never utilised or given the chance that a few others seem to have been given.James Kilcullen from Ballaghadereen, Michael Conroy, Ger Brady, Aiden Campell. Enda Devenny, Gary Mullins, Pierce Hanley (I know), Conor Moran, C Boyle, Pat Kelly. All would be under 30, Conroy, Campell, Kilcullen, Devenny in the mid 20s.
    We never replaced O Neill, D Brady, Nallen, McDonald, Heaney or the underrated Aiden Higgins. We seem to have dumped a lot of gutsy footballers and given the likes of a certain coterie forever to cement a place. Mayo is a county team…not a club side where certain regulars are guranteed their place regardless of performance.

  12. Ontheroad, of the ones you mentioned: Kilcullen …not willing to give the dedication necessary as far as i was told. Ger brady ….had his chance……Pat Kelly…not good enough….Campell ….also not good enough imo. Maybe Enda Devenny deserves to be on the pannel but it is very hard to please everyone in Mayo. I am not siding with or going against JOM and his selectors, i am just making a point that it is impossible to please everyone in Mayo, i remember after 08 c/bar losing to Galway and this came up in a pub after and it was pointed out by a very well respected ex Mayo player if you were to walk from one end of Mick byrnes bar to the other and ask every Mayo man to name his best 15, you would have a lot of names.For example i remember that day there were two men in our company who were adamant that Mcnicholas was the best forward in Mayo where as it would of been a name i wouldn’t of even thought of.

    Who would be peoples preference in the draw tonight, id like a handy home draw.

  13. Mayo V Longford-is it away does anyone know? Longford were drawn away to Leitrim last year.

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