Another big one tomorrow

Ros Mayo scoreboard

Right, our second last League match of 2016 takes place tomorrow and it’s another big one for us. As Stephen Rochford warned might be the case at the start of the year, our campaign has become very much a battle for Division One survival while Roscommon have taken to top tier spring football like the proverbial ducks to water.

Already virtually guaranteed of a place in the play-offs, a win over us tomorrow will confirm the Rossies as semi-finalists while also, depending on how results elsewhere go, possibly tipping us over the edge at the bottom of the table. Not a bad position at all for Kevin McStay to be heading into his first competitive encounter with his native county since taking up the reins in Roscommon with Fergal O’Donnell.

While we were away over the last week, it was interesting to read the ebb and flow of the comments about tomorrow’s game. I think it’s fair to say that there isn’t exactly an air of unbridled optimism about the place heading into this one, which I guess is understandable – the two counties’ contrasting results in the five games played so far this season are there for all to see – as well as being a reflection of the Rossies’ greatly enhanced place in the scheme of things.

My tuppence worth – regardless of how tomorrow’s game goes – is, however, that it’s important not to overstate any talk about a changing of the guard out west. I think it’s a given that Roscommon will challenge strongly for provincial honours this summer but – guess what? – so will we, as we’ve done to such convincing effect every year since 2011.

I wouldn’t lay too much store either on that overworked GAA maxim about markers being laid down. Defeat for us tomorrow could have negative ramifications for us as regards where we’re plying our trade next spring (and even then I wouldn’t be overly concerned about that) but will it matter one jot if we both make it to an expected Connacht final meeting in MacHale Park in July?

I don’t think it will. As recently as 2014, Cork beat the living bejesus out of Kerry in the final round of the League only to suffer an equally comprehensive defeat to the Kingdom some weeks later in the Munster championship. Our own record in 2013 is also relevant. This was a year where we avoided relegation in the closing moments of our final League game down in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and then six weeks later ripped Galway to shreds in our Connacht championship opener. Another Stephen Rochford quote is also, surely, relevant here: he said the kind of football we’d be playing in the spring would be very different to what we’d be playing in the summer.

So much, then, for any end of days talk. I do think tomorrow is important in one respect, though, and that’s that we really need to see a fully committed, no-holds barred performance from the lads. It was in anticipation of such a showing that I made the last minute decision to head west for the Kerry match two weeks ago and, more than the deflating defeat itself, it was the fact that this didn’t happen that troubled me the most on the long return drive later on that evening.

Whatever else happens tomorrow, it’s vital that we put in a proper performance tomorrow. The 10-15% we’ve been off in the games we’ve played to date (well, more than this in the Cork game but that one really does appear to have been a ghastly outlier) has proved costly to us and has given us a bit of a hole to climb out of.  It’s a hole we need to start clambering out of tomorrow and if we hit Roscommon with everything we have I’ve every expectation that this is what we can do at Hyde Park. And that’s to say nothing of what we might be capable of once again come summer.

71 thoughts on “Another big one tomorrow

  1. Although I think we will win, for both teams, the bottom line is, this is the league.

    Take Pat Lam’s ethos and no victim mentality on board.

  2. We need to show tomorrow why we are the 2nd best team in tge country. The Rossies may be an up and coming team but will not be in the final shake up inbthe Championship. Mayo will be and we just need to get back im our stride tomorrow and show the gulf in class to our goid neighbours.

  3. Our father X 10 . Hail Marys X 5 at mass on Sunday morning . Not expecting much of a showing if I’m honest . But hope to god they do it.

  4. Toughnup just look at what this Mayo Team have achieved. Gulf in class. We are no.2 in country and need to see if we can step up to no.1 this year. Rossies may be up an coming but not a team we need to worry about when it gets diwn to serious business in August.

  5. Im telling ya lads, this has played into our hands brilliantly, 2 weeks training done since Kerry, roscommon being talked up all over the media and i think their starting to beileve their own hype. I think we’ll explode tommorow with a ruthless, efficent performance, winning by 4-8 points…

    On a side note, for anyone here that likes the odd flutter on the horses, Robbie Hennellys fathers horse is running in Fairyhouse today at 4.50pm Solita is his name and is currently 7/1 with the bookies, theirs good info coming out that he’ll win it, and, ironically, the last day he ran (and won) was the day we bet Monaghan so the omens are looking good!!! Mayo and Solita abu!!!!

  6. Just outside Ballagh with attitude like that Mayo would be caught cold against Galway nevermind Roscommon.

    IMO the No 2 in the country is Kerry. All Ireland winners 2014,All Ireland runners up last year. They haven’t lost a championship game to Mayo for 20 years. Two weeks ago they traveled to MacHale Park and returned home with the two points because they are that little bit cuter than Mayo. One thing i have noticed about Kerry compared to Mayo is they would never called themselves no 2 as they believe the only number worth talking about is number 1.

  7. Agree with you Mayomagic as Roy Keane would say No 2 is the first of the losers might as well be 32 m. Respect every team but fear no one have confidence in our own ability and MAKE it happen

  8. I don’t even know the meaning of “overworked GAA maxim” but today’s game is a marker , new battles will emerge , niggles , verbals will all be in play . You roast your man today it will be talked up next July , you land a fierce shoulder today and rattle the bejaysus outta your opponent it will be remembered in July , it is 100% a marker .

  9. Agree Sean ,, big game ahead. ,,, not living too far from Roscommon and was awful night with wind and rain ,, safe journey to all

  10. Yes!all sorts of history in the air to day.Best of luck to our fellas.I can’t remember ever a league match of such significance and yet it’s only another game in the scheme of things.
    A little sharper,cuter,harder and more accurate and we ll be returning with the honours.

  11. I agree with much of what you have to say WJ. A loss today wouldn’t be cataclysmic but the manner of our performance is hugely important.

    We have yet to set down a marker under the Rochford regime. I think we need to set down a marker today that we have no intention of seeping into the background for a season. The management and players need to see progress and what better opponents to signal intent than the resurgent Rossies.

    A win today could send us barrelling with confidence towards another tilt at Sam. A loss would not irreparably damage us, but it would put further pressure on a new management team.

  12. A win today is definitely a marker. Will be tough but need to be up for it today and show we have what it takes to still rule Connaught.

  13. Safe travelling to all and here’s to a positive result & performance .nothing like the feeling of a long drive home with a win under the belt.

  14. Best of luck to the Mayo team today. Lets see them put in an absolute gut buster of an effort for 70+ minutes with the levels of intensity that has demolished opposition in recent summers. Everyone needs to be a leader today. Win convincingly today and not only do they give themselves a big boost in retaining Div 1 status but also an outside chance (albeit extremely unlikely and in theory only) going into the Down match with a cut at pipping Donegal to the 4th semi-final spot if other results were to go our way. Although in reality a 1pt win would be a great achievement for us today given the way Ros are currently performing. Good luck all.

  15. Rochford said at the start of the league that survival was the goal. That’s still achievable. Even defeat for us today coupled with a defeat for Monaghan will bring it all down to the last day.
    I however have gone for a win for us today because when this team have to dig out a performance they usually do. Mayo by 1 after a seriously physical game.

  16. Enjoy today everyone. Let that not pass ye by in all the chest thumping. Its a 50:50 roughly lets see where we land. Personally think we will lift it.
    Btw great interview with Lee Keegan in Irish times, accessible online.

  17. A lot of pressure on Roscommon today! Win and they’re in the semi-final, win and they go a long way to relegating us, win cos they’re at home, win to prove they are the coming force? First time this season they are EXPECTED to win. There’s a huge difference between playing with the freedom of an underdog and playing with the expectation of a win at home against a battle hardened experienced team. Let’s see how they handle it. Mayo need a win for obvious reasons but also to put a doubt in Rossie heads for July, assuming we both get there! However, nothing at senior intercounty level was ever proven March.
    Heading to Rossieland on crutches after persuading my better half to drive. It’ll take more than a busted ankle to keep me away from Hyde Park today. Mayo by 2.

  18. Will be messy day for the game if the weather in Roscommon is anything like Mayo this morning.

    Think we’ll win with a few to spare. It’s do or die in the league now for us and we’ll be focused for it.

    Win today and beat down and we should be safe which is all I expected from the league.

  19. Heard pitch will be poor but game goes ahead.Expect a few hamstrings going today .It would be lunacy to play Cillian.
    Cmom the red above the green.

  20. Glorious morning up here in Dublin but I can see from the satellite maps that it’s not the same in Roscommon. Not a day for the new Cairde Mhaigheo gilet and the Lookit cap, I reckon – think I’ll be taking my winter jacket with me when I head off shortly.

  21. Mayo to power through Ros today. I reckon Ros will be unrecognisable today from the way they’ve played so far..Our year really starts today..Why does it always seem to rain when we’re in the Hyde?

  22. Heading shortly, safe driving to all. Glad the Hyde is playable, could not have this anywhere else.

  23. Here is the plan today, if your talking to a Rossie on way in to match tell them they have a great team, on the way out tell them it’s only the league and mayo needed the points, after the Connaught final tell them they have a small bit of work to do but not far of the pace. Each time though go back to your car enjoy the victory and laugh your head off

  24. Serious rain here all night ( and snow, I kid you not!) I’m hearing awful rain in roscommon all morning. Safe travelling to everyone. Bring the Colour, Bring The Noise! We really need to be the *16th Man* today and shout the lads on.

    UP MAYO!

  25. Todays match hopefully makes us all feel a bit younger. Its 20 years+ since it was a proper rivalry. I hope it is tight and I hope Galway win today also. Three Connaught teams in Division one would be some turnaround if it can happen.

  26. so were headin for the hyde looking for a victory that we need to maintain our status. Roscommon will be out to cripple us and helpus on our way to div 2. If the tables were turned and they were headin for machale park we all would be looing for blood. so make no mistake they are confident and up for this. Playing well and loosing does not breed confidence. Alot of people said that some of our performances this year have been improved. Certainly in stages our defending seemed to have a bit of structure but is still a work in progress. Claiming moral victories is not worth a shite. If mayo drop a division we could end up dropping another division as our failure to win an all ireland with these bunch of players would instill a major confidence blow. Our lack of success at u21 in recent years will come back to haunt us. Were staring down the barrell.

    We are clueless going forward and our lack of scoring power has cost us over the years. Not refereeing decisions or anything else. All roads lead back to us. Opportunities not taken is down to us. We have always lacked flair upfront and i dont see what will change today. Loftus regan and conor are still young and learning the trade. Im prayin they might emerge today.

  27. Mayo to hoke it out if it gets to that. They won’t forget everything they’ve learned and experienced all of a sudden.

  28. If we have to kick four wides before we register one score, our goose is cooked today. I hope alan freeman starts today and big aido back to midfield, give d o connor the ball in space because he is accurate from long and short range. We also need speed to break the line in the half forwards, this is where Keith Higgins and lee Keegan should be. Maybe im wrong but it sounds like a plan.

  29. What about the bench, I hope the new addition is the man who came on against Kerry in Limerick near the end of the match

  30. Best of luck to Mayo today. A crucial must win game but reckon we are up against it. Glad to see some serious confidence here on the blog. Hope we dont see some serious criticism and blood letting here after 5 if result goes against us. Maigh Eo abu

  31. The subs secrecy is to force you to buy the program 🙂
    God be with the days of 1 week call ups to championship subs benches.

  32. Surely if we play well and get beaten that would be worse for moral than being beaten playing poorly,my point being play well and get beaten by our neighbors gives them the psychological high ground going into the championship,where as if we play badly we know we can still improve in’s no good playing well and loosing

  33. Aido could cause seirious danage to the that rossie fb line, hope he stays there an not midfield, with quality diagonal ball going in

  34. I’m a bit perplexed over the ambivalence shown here by some to our Div 1 status. I just hope the players aren’t of a similar mind… But enough has been said over the past few days. I’ll be cheering on the lads from Rome where conditions appear to be slightly better than the Hyde!

    Hon Maigh Eo!

  35. Don’t really care about result today but do want Mayo defence to tighten up and no goals conceded. Need to see big improvement here and make our defence a fortress

  36. Mayo Subs: Clarke, Hall, McHale, Coen, Vaughan, Gibbons, Andy Moran, Barry Moran, Dillon, Freeman, Ronaldson

  37. Due to family commitments I can’t make it to the Hyde today. I’ve just seen pictures of the pitch on another forum. It looks dreadful. Surface water clearly visible in a number of places.

  38. Best of luck to Mayo and show no mercy if you get them down. I’ll be watching from California and not missing the rain or clouds, but still, would love to have seen this one in the flesh.
    Mayo to win a close one

  39. Watching the mayo guys splash around during warm up. Pitch can be best described as shite, at worst dangerous. Heres hoping for no serious injuries on either side

  40. Shades of 2014, dominant in every area except the scoreboard (and a rubbish pitch to boot). We should be out of sight at this stage. Freeman doing well and of course we have a big gun waiting to come on…

  41. Mayo dominated but failed to turn position into scores. Roscommon finished the half strong in the same way kerry did hopefully we can put in good second half display. number of changes to the programme, The U21players dropped out except for DOC, Keane Drake Durkan and Cillian are on the bench.

  42. Should be a lot further ahead. Some really bad wides but also the ball into the inside line has been atrocious. Dominating the middle but need to make a lot more of it.

  43. Freeman doing well. Some terrible ball to Regan, three times over the endline.
    Regans first point was very good, escape the crowd and snapshot.
    Overall its going fine. They are barely hanging onto us. We look in control.

  44. Mayo really putting it to them, they can’t live with Mayo power. Seamus o Shea having a great game. Brilliant goal by Regan, Cillian on, Happy Easter!

  45. All over! Toughed it out, but watching on TV. By far the better side but wides nearly killed us. Pitch a disgrace, ROS county board should be ashamed with Hyde Park

  46. Match over and I dont know what to think. 9 points up. Ros played for about 10 minutes and cut us to 3. The ref was very generous to us also. I said we would get the win cause we needed to. Roscommon looked at times that they didnt care one bit about the result. Monaghan lost also. We should be safe now but still alot of the same problems.

  47. Regan on the ball he got was brilliant today. That was one of the great Mayo goals.
    We were a lot stronger around the middle.
    Aidan won a lot of dirty ball.
    You could see how Freeman going off affected the team.
    Patrick Durcan showed his great pace and took a good point.

  48. Think the money spent on the bus would have been better spent on a few drain,s in the pitch

  49. Came up from the hills of Donegal for the mayo game me wife and two kids well worth the journey mayo played well they had to win and got it on words and up words

  50. Thank god that’s over. Think Mayo’s physicality really stood to them, they just looked bigger and stronger. Still worrying that they still don’t seem to know how to properly lock and bolt the door once they go ahead. They should have won by a lot more, they were the far superior team.

    Evan Regan did brilliantly though. It’s good to see him coming into his own.

  51. A win is a win, it was tough going. Soft goal put the Rossies back in game. Freeman, Regan, Cillian are makings of full forward line, AOS better in midfield.

  52. Great to get the win. Very disappointed with performance. Had 15 or 20 mins of a good patch the rest was poor regardless of conditions.We wasted a lot of good opportunities .Got nailed with another goal from a high ball and we squandered a 9 point lead .Reacurring problems.Wont be good enough come championship.

  53. Good to get the win on a terrible pitch. A win against Down should be enough keep us up (depending on other results), however, we need to see a very good performance to beat the mourne men. Nothing should be taken for granted and we havent been impressive at all in attack so far.

    Roscommon were poor today and I wasnt surprised. This is the league remember and they had already secured their objective of staying in Division 1. In short, they just weren’t properly up for it whereas we were, because we had to be.

    We should have been streets ahead at HT and we weren’t because once again we were as Malachy Clerkin said, ‘toothless’ in attack. If our scoring rate doesn’t improve, we won’t win much. Dominating possession isn’t enough and while there’s a feel good factor after the result today, we have quite a way to go.

    Diarmuid Murtagh scored 1-1 within minutes of coming in and suddenly there was just a kick of the ball between the teams. He’ll need to marked like glue in the u21 final next week.

    The rossies will be a different proposition in the summer IF we face them.

    Finally, great to see Cillian back. If we can just start scoring more, then we can go a long way.

  54. Good win. Thats what matters Well done to all involved. Showed great character throughout and backs and midfield did well. Well done to Regan om MoM even if he definitely overcarried for the goal. Good to see Cillian and A Dillon return because lets be honest here our forwards were woeful Overall really pleased as I had my doubts beforehand but credit where its due. Also it should set Ros back and show this team still means business, Attitude was first class and we have loads to work on and loads of potential improvement to do. Beat Down now and hope Donegal beat Monaghan. If we win and Monaghan win its down to score difference Dont know how we are doing on that

  55. Great to see the return of Cillian and Dillon. I think that McStay wasn’t showing his hand today as they didn’t need the points. It’s a bit of a worry that Mayo weren’t out of sight before the Roscommon goal led to a mini revival. On a positive note, plenty lads have got league game time and we will improve another bit yet.

  56. We are locked with Monaghan on -12. So beat Down by more than they beat Donegal if that happened.

  57. Congrats that was a good victory but ye should have nailed more scores from the opportunities generated. Thought the pitch was a disgrace and before the match started I was thinking of health and safety considerations, it was very fortunate that no player was seriously injured and quiet frankly that’s not good enough.

  58. A win was required today and we did enough in atrocious conditions – similar to the Connacht final against the same opposition in the Hyde a few years back. The intensity was excellent and only poor finishing took the gloss off a fine performance. A lot more work to be done with the forwards but there’s a lot more to come with the return of COC. He’s a huge player for us and brings a lot more out of the rest of the contingent. Regan had a fine ball off poor ball and we should remember McLoughlin was missing too.

    The Rossies were always going to come at us in the second half on their home patch. I thought we defended well but was very disappointed with the defending for the goal. We’re often outnumbered on the break but we had two men back and neither did enough to block the space. The last man even attempted to block with his leg which shouldn’t ever happen.

    Overall though, we needed to dominate the middle, hit them hard and eek out a win. We did that so have to be more than content.

  59. Fair play Gamechanger10 and well done on Kerry’s win over Monaghan.. has certainly helped our cause.. at least staying up in division 1 is firmly back in our own control again. Didn’t here any commentary on yer match as I was busy avoiding stepping in puddles of water around Roscommon but hope to catch the highlights now on the Allianz League Sunday. Hopefully we will get a result from the Down match next weekend but I expect the game everyone will be watching will be Kerry and Cork.. there’s nothing to beat a game that has that cutting edge of local rivalry.

  60. First of all the pitch was absolute shite, lads with forks trying to get rid of lakes of water, how the ref let it go ahead is a mystery. That game would have been totally different on a mediocre pitch, Mayo would still have won. Connacht board need to step in and change the venue of U21 game. It would be a disgrace to play a connacht final of any grade on that “ground”.

    Positives first. Regan and Freeman played really well on the ball they got. We destroyed them in midfield. They dont have one and that is why we will beat them in Connacht. SOS was colossal, his best game since 2013 quater final. The defence were brilliant as a collective and had the ros much hyped attack in their pockets, switched off a second for their goal but has too be said it was a great ball and finished well. AOS was immense thoughout and for me that ends the debate regarding his best position. Durcan is the real deal as has all star written all over him.

    The negative, first half attack was poor, really poor. We should have been out of sight by half time. Could not get too grips with the wind and looked much more comfortable against it in the second. Lot of work to be done here.

    Overall, satisfied but alot of work to do for championship.

  61. My man of the match was Seamie O’Shea. I thought he was excellent all through. Also ably abetted by Tom Parsons who is now a staple of this side.

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