Time to check in on happenings at home, I reckon. I almost feel guilty about having sloped off to the sun ahead of last weekend’s action, resulting in my missing the minors’ stirring extra-time victory and poor old Leitrim ending up on the wrong end of a fairytale result (it sure takes an odd championship structure to come up with an outcome like that), not to mention the double Dubs’ wins and Wicklow’s pitiful two-point total.

Well, at least the debate about where the Connacht final will be held has been settled – I’ll be back in harness a few days ahead of then and I’m planning to be at McHale Park on the 21st – though I can sense that the story about London’s treatment in the championship continues to rumble on. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed, for sure, but the notion that the best way to do so would be by playing the Connacht final in Ruislip is, frankly, ludicrous. If Hyde Park, Markievicz Park or Pairc Sean aren’t deemed suitable venues for the Connacht final then there’s no way on earth that Ruislip is. Maybe an alternative venue – such as Wembley (where, in the old stadium, Gaelic football was often played) or the Emirates or Twickenham or somewhere like that – would open their doors but we all know that’s not going to happen so there’s simply no point raising that particular hare.

More important for London will be whether or not their 2013 heroics will lead to a new relationship for them within the GAA. The existing one is based on the worst kind of pat-on-the-head tokenism, with the lads over there given an annual grand day out altogether where everyone can enjoy themselves, Londain take their beating like men and everyone starts readying themselves for twelve months hence. That worked fine when the London lads didn’t have any uppity ideas about winning but now that they’ve shown they can, things are going to have to change, with London getting the same kind of rights and responsibilities as everyone else. How seriously the GAA views London will be seen in how long it takes for this change to happen.

Anyway, back to the Connacht final itself, the first provincial decider we’re getting to play in McHale Park since 2008 and the first at the venue since 2010. It’s a classic no-win match for us, of course, with the world and Boris Johnson rooting for them but we’ve just got to stick to the knitting and get the job done.

This is where that 2011 near-miss comes in because as we furiously dissemble about how the match might go, we don’t have to reach for the yerra button at all and can instead point to the fact that the Exiles had us all but bet over in Ruislip two summers ago. Even if the wider world doesn’t believe a word of it, we can plausibly state that we ain’t taking nothing for granted in this one.

The world, of course, loves a fairytale and there’ll be plenty of soft-headed support for London the next day on this basis. We’ve just got to go out and display the same kind of ruthless efficiency we showed against both Galway and Roscommon and seek to smash this particular fairytale to pieces. Not because we’re a bunch of mean-hearted spoilsports but because we’re a serious team, one that has genuine All-Ireland ambitions this year and wants to show the world that this is the case.

Right, I needed to get all that off my chest – time to slope off to the sun again now. Thanks for all the kind wishes, by the way, and keep up the lively debate that’s been going on here in my absence. As I keep saying, this site is as much about all of you as it is about me – keep her lit while she’s on auto pilot.

97 thoughts on “Away

  1. Good man Willie Joe.

    The starts Sunday with Cork and Kerry.I fancy Kerry and fear them a little too.History has taught you dont keep them quiet for too long.Still they are somewhat unknown til Sunday …will be interesting.
    Galway got best draw in qualifiers …any chance they can regroup alittle? Is it true Bradshaw fecked off and left them.Stirring stuff for a captain in my view.
    Bad year all round for them.

  2. Galway are a soft draw or two away from an All Ireland Quarter Final at this stage. I certainly wouldn’t say no to being drawn against them if it came to pass, I don’t think we’ve ever played them in Croker in the championship.

    I think the events of 2011 rule out any hope of London benefitting from complacency on Connacht Final day. The fact that a lot of the Mayo lads probably feel they have a few things to put right in terms of that game might make this match even less of a contest than it might otherwise have been. I wonder what the handicap will be…

  3. Mayo -17 @ 10/11 …never seen that before in my life, ffs. not even in hurling.

    Mayo minors are now favs @ 4/1 to win the all Ireland

    Mayo are now third favs to win Sam Maguire @ 4/1 overtaking the kingdom who are 9/2

    Them odds are frightening in a way, we are really expected to give it a right lash.

  4. Galway benefiting from two handy enough home draws that will take them through to the next round but once they meet a decent team and particularly if they’re drawn away I’d say it’s goodnight. The Rossies got the rough end of the stick, drawing Tyrone ( for the third year in a row I think ) so I think their race is run.

    That’s an incredible handicap Sean, -17 but Mayo have destroyed both Galway and Roscommon so the bookies ‘aint takin’ any chances.

    The only reason we’re ahead of Kerry in the betting for Sam is the upcoming Munster Final so if Kerry do the business on Sunday they will go back in as third or second favourites, I’d imagine and if Cork beat them ( which i don’t expect ) they would leapfrog us also.

    4/1 on Mayo is very skinny at this stage as we have three tough matches left, two of which we will probably be outsiders in, the semi and the final if we get there and unknown quarter final opponents. They’re about 11/2 on betfair which is a bit better but still not brill.

  5. Can’t wait for the Munster final now. First big test for both teams. I fancy Kerry myself. Will be awful hard to beat in Killarney and if they win, they will become hot favorites.
    Also on me hol’s here, baking! But it’s great to have nothing to do cept read!

  6. actually not a terrible draw for the rossies. having played tyrone the last 2 years it’ll be a more realistic barometer of how they’re progessing than their game against us. they won’t win but if they can put in a decent performance and stay closer on the scoreboard then evans might be able to convince them he’s moving them forward

  7. Dublin mayo is the paddy power favourite for the final, outright winner is the dubs with us and donegal at 4/1
    There’s so much luck involved that I am not getting too riled up this year even for a final with mayo. Mayo and 4 others are about even in my mind to win, a slip or miskicked ball can lose or win a game.
    Kerry to win Sunday by the way, I would like mayo to meet them in a final this year, just to try it again with a different attitude than 06 and the others.

  8. Frostyhammer

    Another hammering for the rossies will do no good.should say goodbye to evans.he does not belong in the modern game …spends his time giving out about refs

  9. There has to be a major shock in the football this year considering what has happened in the hurling….. There is one dark horse team for sure and one favourite that is going to fail to get to a quarter final ?

    Anyone know if the ticket prices for the Connacht final are going to reflect the fact that there will only be one team with sizable support ?

  10. Greetings all from the middle of the ocean on the way back from France.

    Left Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore the day after travelling to Castlebar. Great win that day, great to be in a strong position for 3 in a row Connaughts.

    But, what has been happening? Most bloggers are talking of the quarters; friends are busy texting me that 2013 is ‘self-evidently’ Mayo’s year. Self-evidently mind you! Bookies are slashing and burning odds.

    We are in a Connaught final. We have beaten two poor teams. Cork and Kerry haven’t played yet, Dublin are sweeping all before them and Donegal are actually in the Ulster final haven beaten 2! Division one teams.

    Get a grip one and all. Enjoy the holster Willie Joe – you are starting and I’m finishing!

  11. Talking about who we might like to meet in the final is a bit of a joke right now. Biggest problem I see for Mayo this year, is not having been tested to any degree in Connacht. I know we still have to play London but other than it being an historic occasion for the GAA it will be in my view a no contest match. And were we unlucky enough to get a tough draw in the Quarter Finals, against a team who have built up a head of steam in the qualifiers, it could turn out to be a real banana skin.

    There’s still a fair bit of football to be played before we know the real contenders, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a Meath or Armagh throw a spanner in the works for some team along the way. Anyway that’s still a bit down the road, so for now we have the Munster final to look forward to, should be a great game – who will win ???

  12. Catcol

    Are you on the Pont Aven? I have great memories of it. To mayomchale, I was saying that paddy power has the dubs and mayo as likely finalists. Could happen but it’s all a big roll of the dice with the big teams left in it yet

  13. David,

    On the Stenna Nordica as we blog, having come through England and all of France from Perpignan in the South.

    Can’t wait for London match which I think will be a great occasion. All of Mayo should make a point of attending, for at least three reasons:

    # the prospect/possibility of 3 in a row.
    # the presence of London and the hype that will follow
    # supporting the minors – assuming the blazers don’t have some other ideas

  14. Good man Catcol.Happy sailing.

    Too early to tell which teams are good and which are not.Kerry font look strong on paper…Donaghy must not be going well…Cork will fancy their chances…I think Kerry but not much in it.

    In relation to Mayo you simply must have experience so it is vital injured lads play.

    County is far too optimistic and I dont like others talking us up.If we dont get a grip we are likely to fail.Thsts my view.

  15. Why are we so afraid to expect , Kerry as a county has always expected and look what they’ve achieved, in fact all counties that have met us in the AI final over the last 60 years were expected to beat us……..and they did………….we were only old Mayo and should have had no such lofty ambitions………….and did we oblige and bow to those eager to keep us in our place , yes Sir …we did.
    Now we’re on the cusp again, should we fear or shrink from what troubles lay ahead or should we rise up and reach for the glorious achievements that can be attained ?
    If we go with the former sure we may as well let Londain win Connacht and we go out in the next qualifier round. Is that mission accomplished ?
    No, I don’t think so ! and I have a feeling that those who worry, secretly feel the same way.
    I also think that this Squad and Management team are not of the shrinking violet type either…………and……that might be why we are being talked up by others……..because as it stands we are the most dangerous side left in Championship 2013………We above all others have more scores to settle than any and I think this side are very, very eager to prove it, its IN them and its time we got it IN us.
    You can’t have ambition without being optimistic, negativity is a no go …………that’s why it’s been so long, we simply failed to believe in us and those that represented us and somehow instilled in those that did represent us that same feeling of a hurdle too far, a not being deserving of that ‘holy grail’ ……Sam.
    JC alluded to it earlier but not in an overt way, when he described how Clare got back at the Kingdom…………Now its our turn,, and what better AI final than Mayo to beat Kerry in Sept. 2013…………..Now that would put all the ghosts to bed.
    That would be the dream final but I think Kerry, Dublin and Donegal might not make it …..but we will……..and this side will prevail.
    Maigh Eo Abu

  16. omg!When did Kerry ever talk themselves up?
    Nonsense. Or any All Ireland winner.Even Dublin being cautious and we have more to lose than anyone.

    Think it out again.What rampant overconfidence will do to us and that is what it is. Based on what?

  17. They never did talk themselves up, they went beyond that (and they probably are still doing so ) they ‘expect’.
    ‘More to lose than anyone’ ????
    I think……more to gain than anyone……..cause we’ve lost enough already.
    Try telling the lads that have put everything into the last 9 months and that have recovered magnificently from an AI defeat, must win games against Donegal and Cork (away) to stay in D1, drawn against Galway in Salthill and numerous injury problems, that you doubt the possibility of their achieving.
    We in Mayo need to start believing,,,, God knows we have and had enough knockers both without and within over the years…………..No arrogance here, just an expectant and positive attitude. If some don’t want it or are afraid of it or what it may take to achieve it, then those of us who do must carry on without.

  18. It’s like anything in life, you need to be confident to achieve, even if you have been denied enough times to make you doubt yourself. Some mayo people doubt the team, and they usually doubt themselves too, in more than football.
    Kilkenny hurlers and Kerry footballers believe they have the right to win, much like mayo fans think we should beat all in the province except for a 50/50 game with Galway. If mayo win Sam, the youngsters coming through will believe they can too and that’s how it starts. Being a football crazy county doesn’t hurt either.

  19. There’s no harm in us supporters expecting to win it. However we do get a little carried away in this county when it comes to our football team. It’s a supposedly football mad county so it’s reasonable to expect some enthusiasm. For this years chances, we must put things in perspective, we’ve beaten two very poor teams in our province and will likely whip London. Our first real test will be the August bank holiday weekend. Who knows who we will get? Meath, Cork, Kerry, Donegal? Maybe some other team, but regardless, that will be the first true championship match this team will play cause the opposition will be better conditioned and much better prepared. It’s something to look forward to.
    In the meantime, we have to steamroll London, in a very convincing way. For sure, we won’t get any credit for it but who cares, we’ll feel better if we do.
    Priority now is to nurse the injured folks back to health as soon as humanly possible. There is no doubt we will need Cillian for the qf in HQ. meanwhile a healthy B Moran, A Moran, Conroy would increase the competition for starting spots. That’s a really good thing and I think James is working that to his advantage.
    Personally I still think we have some weak links in this team. Those weak links haven’t been exposed to date but against better opposition, they will be for sure. They will have studied the tapes and wil be prepared.

  20. Solid stuff from mistermayor.
    Of course we all want to win but hyping us up puts pressure on the lads not the other way around.Horan is not blowing his trumpet but staying focused and real.
    Of course we have more to lose and to win not having won since 51.
    Be positive but not arrogant.We have a great team and we should unconditionally support it as we all do but lets take it one game at a time. Talking about All Irelands before we even play the Connacht final is a little premature.

  21. Confidence/arrogance/cocky etc etc, it doesn’t really matter tbh. In the 90s and 04/06 we were a bit daft as a county, with the songs and believing we had it won, without really thinking of the actual final itself. We as county have matured greatly in this sense i think, we are experienced campaigners now when it comes to business end football.

    Last year was fairly low key and it still didn’t matter in the result. This year there is a belief out there in the countys football enthusiasts that we have a real chance because we have a great side with belief in themselves, it is so different to any other imo, 89/96-99/ 04/06 even last year, we all know deep down, its going to take one mighty effort to beat Mayo this year and fook it, lets enjoy it and sure if we don’t do it , so be it, it’s not as if its going to kill us.

  22. Expectations JJ comes in all shapes and sizes and can have negative as well as positive effects on teams and individuals alike. We’ve all heard of players having been effected by the weight of expectation’s on the big day and this is only natural, but the missing ingredient here is Tradition and it’s funny that Kerry, the team you mention above have it in spades. Just take a look at their record – contested 57 All Ireland’s, won 36 of them and were runners up on 21 occasions. On the other hand, after winning their third All Ireland in 51, it took Mayo another 38 years to get back there again, (by the way our very own Will Joe Padden gave a towering performance at midfield that day) and having contested and lost another 9 since then, it’s only natural that we dare to dream.

    By the way after the horrors of loosing that Final to Meath in 96 we definitely were favourites to beat Kerry the following year and if I recall correctly on that occasion we all got carried away with the hype and pre-planed celebrations. Now that’s not to say we should go around with our tails between our legs, far from it, we are a proud people and have every right to walk the walk, but coming back to that word Tradition, no one has it by right – you’ve got to earn it !!!

  23. Fair play Sean Burke sensible comments.

    Yes we have a good team and yes as always there are four of five others out there too.

    So long as we keep the mad stuff away (cars,songs etc) we will be ok. Time enough for that IF we get to All Ireland. I honestly think if we do get there this year we will not be beaten but that is a huge if .It depends on luck,injuries,good management and everyone playing to their potential.

    At least we are recognised as being one of the great footballing counties again with a real chance of winning.

    Important for everyone to get behind the team and travel to Castlebar for final. Lets not take anything for granted. Even more important we travel for Qtr final and bring colour with us. That I think is how you support. Lets not overhype but lets not be afraid to support either.

    Also can we all please cheer on the minors the next day – not arrive in with ten minutes to go asking ‘Whats the score’

    Either we are full supporters or we are not.

  24. Mayomchale

    Good comments and message is clear.dont mix up the willie joes btw!

  25. If hype were to affect a team,Donegal would have lost by a cricket score last year-the place was gone mental up there.I used to worry about that kinda stuff,but now I just enjoy everything about the team.Let ye not be thinking that the lads believe that stuff-give them n James some credit.Sit back and enjoy-the battleship Mayo is in good hands

  26. I see on another forum that Evan regan has left the panel, injured or what I don’t know but it’s a pity if its true

  27. There is an air of quiet confidence about this team, something I’ve never seen in a Mayo team. They’re just going about their business one game at a time. Horan doesn’t do hype but he does do belief and the idea of continuous improvement, working on the little things so that the team gets a little bit better each time and learns from its mistakes -the small margins that will make the big difference in the end. He doesn’t get caught up in sentimentality or hard luck stories or believe that the past has anything to do with the future. I was struck by his analysis of the failure of the 96 team and how he refused to go along with the idea of bad luck on the day or blame the referee and said we simply didn’t execute enough of our chances to win the game. This clear-eyed analysis gives me great confidence.

    As fans we should behave likewise with an air of quiet confidence and a belief that this team will deliver. I didn’t see any gloating when we hammered both Galway and the Rossies. Let’s just enjoy this wonderful summer and get fully behind the team. There’s no need for hype or hysteria – just belief !

  28. I tell you what, we’ve talked about how strong our squad is now and how much depth there is to it, but have you seen the players that didn’t make it on to the Cork 15 for Sunday…
    Alan Quirke, Noel O’Leary, Alan O’Connor, Aidan Walsh, Ciaran Sheehan and Donncha O’Connor.

    If Cork win this game on Sunday and still have those players to come back in, they will be a serious threat later in the summer.

  29. Think the lads put paid to O’Leary in the league meeting…………to settle the score for Donie.

  30. I cannot see Cork staying to within 3 points of Kerry on Sunday, let alone winning it. For a couple of reasons. 1 The game is in Kerry. 2 This Fitzmaurice is a typical cute Kerry hoor. And 3 Look at the full forward line he has selected. Speed, speed and more speed.
    For all the talk about Donaghy being dropped alot of people forget the fact that by playing him you would be making it so much easier for the Cork backs. The Cork team in general, but particularly their backs, are a big muscular outfit and would like nothing better than battling under a dropping ball with Donaghy as it is a very simple to defend against if you have a few big mulluckers. One man goes behind Donaghy at all times man-marking him and looking to break the ball down, another man stays close by in front of Donaghy and sweeps up the breaking ball. Job done. Now, trying to defend against hard working speed demons that are making runs all over the pitch is a completely different ball game. Add in the fact that The Gooch will be at No.11 and supplying the passes into the forwards and the defensive make-up is all the more challenging. The Gooch would put the ball through the front door of the church on The Reek and him below on Beartra beach.
    When we played Kerry earlier in the league, even though we won, I thought the best player on the pitch that day was James O’Donoghue. He displayed a great turn of pace, had wonderful balance (the way he threw the entire Mayo defense off balance with his little side-step for his goal was wonderful) and had he got more ball from his midfielders I think the outcome might have been different. If Kerry break even at midfield I think they will win by a couple of points in the end.

  31. Any county that gets to six All Ireland senior finals in a 23 year time frame since 1989 not counting league, U21 and Minor finals should have the fear factor rinsed out of them by now. Also this word “hype” gives me a pain. To me it reflects the individual and how they themselves personally feel. One mans “hype” is another mans “belief”.

    Last year we went on this buzz of No Hype Please…what does that mean? Stay silent until the cup has crossed the Shannon and then let out a yelp. Kids from the age of 4 upwards must have thought we did a bad thing last year getting to an All Ireland final with all this caution. It didn’t affect Donegal last year nor in 1992. Seize the effing moment and enjoy it.

    In town last year I actually felt the energy drain from the Mayo’s around me in the pubs…I felt it drain from myself. Inside the ground they (Donegal) were louder than us…more colourful…we now know of course that it was their colours that were brighter than ours! Sometimes we just got to go with the flow and fcuk everyone else…the Sunday Game, what such a fella thinks of us…most wouldn’t have the great runs we have had anyway.

    When Parkinson, Flynn, Brolly, O Rourke, Spillane, McHugh doubt us…my that’s a long list and I haven’t included McGee or Liam Hayes in it…who cares about them…they are not Mayo people just guys that fear one day we just might do something big the right way not like how they won big ears. Mayo have nothing to hide from…the opposite in fact…23 years of top table dining.

    Horan is correct about 1996 to a point. Jock Stein banished that type of negativity from Celtic 1966-74. They believed that refs and authority were out to shaft them…they were correct of course but Stein moved them on to a higher plane where the biggest biased Orange sucking referee couldn’t shaft them. Mayo lost 1996 because in the first 20 minutes of the drawn game they should have been out of sight but by Christ they got no decision on the pitch handy over two matches either.

    So talk about “hype” and expectation is welcome. lets enjoy this run…anyone remember 1970-1981? That was awful. And if players are affected by that type of thing then they are not cut from the cloth that dresses winners…simple really.

    I would worry more about the QFs than a semi if we get there. The QFs will possibly throw up either Cork/Kerry or Tyrone, Meath, Armagh, Down, Kildare and a surprise. Someone in the last 12 will pull London and that will , all due respect, give them a handy match. If we win a QF then we are where we want to be assuming Donegal keep their end up. Beat them and we will be in a final and a certain satisfaction garnered for those who believe we were unlucky last year. Lose and the Donegal machine rolls on…its called rivalry…kill or be killed…hate and be hated. Time then does the rest…Kerry and Dublin in the 70s, Meath and Cork in the 80s, Tyrone and Kerry nowadays…Nice guys win nothing and 20 years later is the time for handshakes and backslaps but now the heavy digging has to be done. No hype just plain facts..either we are good enough or not…there is no middle ground otherwise we would be like a Mikado biscuit….tasty but soon passed through he digestive system.

  32. Agreed John. The Q/F is the only match I would be hesitant about. If we navigate that I feel we can springboard ourselves to the final and then we’re in with a right good shout.

    Traditions count for nothing this year, “Ah Galway/Roscommon always put it up to Mayo…Kildare and Meath with do the same to Dublin”. No chance, I feel many people haven’t grasped how far the front 3 and lesser extent Cork, Kerry, Tyrone are ahead of the rest in terms of preparation,ability and tactics.

    We are a serious piece of GAA machinery this year and there is no harm letting people know we’re afraid of nobody.

  33. Jases Pebblesmeller – that’s some serious praise you’ve lavished on the Kerry team, at that rate we might as well all fold up our tents and head home. You could very well be right about the outcome, as we don’t know much about the current form of either team, but I would imagine that Cork despite their many shortcomings over the years, will be well prepared for the battle.

    And as Kevin McStay said this morning, “all either team are playing for are bragging rights” and for sure no matter what the result, both team could yet have a huge bearing on the destination of Sam. By the way I still wouldn’t rule out Kieran Donaghy starting, but if not, isn’t he one hell of a sub to have on the bench…..a game not to be missed.

  34. Interesting comments.
    We had lots of chances to win in 96 and 97 and 89 but didnt.Referee was a factor in 96 and calls can make or break a team.We should be entitled to fair play in my view.
    Now John Cuffe we all agree belief vital …hype is rubbish.Trying to suggest Mayo people are scared of supporting is not in line with the facts .The kids enjoy days more when we win. Enjoying the experience and losing in the final is of no value to me anyway.I have seen too many defeats.
    This is a fine team so was last years but I dont remember many calling the weakness in the full back line prior to the final.
    We all want and need to win.It is insulting to suggest that all Mayo people are not good supporters.Noone has a monopoly on support.
    Mayo have the best supporters in the land but lets take it one game at a time and support that way. It is disingenuous to link Mayo supporters with Brolly et al.
    Horan takes a measured approach and we should too. This team can win the Connaught Final and should and can win the quarter final too.Lets go and support them and the minors too.

  35. For what it is worth, I have us beating Donegal in one semi-final and Kerry beating the Jackeens in the other. Then us beating Kerry to bring that fucking cursed big ear’d cup to Mayo.

  36. Its actually 7 All Ireland Finals in a 23 year time span John …. have you forgotten that we had two shots in ’96 …. with us failing to take home the bacon on all 7 occasions.
    I guess its that failure that has left us afraid of the hype, afraid to dream, bitter experience I guess its called.
    That experience will not be erased until we make it happen.
    I would have most concern about the QF this year as there are going to be some dangerous operators in that draw at the end of the month and we will be at our most vulnerable there having had no serious matches in the run-up.
    We also have a lot of uncertainty in our forward division as I dont think anybody really knows if our injury affected forwards are capable of playing to the level thats going to be required and to the level that we had grown accustomed to in recent years.

  37. For me the whole talk of “hype” and over confidance is all subjective. These are great times in Mayo football and we should all enjoy them, and be allowed to enjoy them because there are supporters in 27 or 28 other counties that would love to be in our position. You are not going to please everyone all the time, so, if some people want to go daft spraying sheep and cars green and red, or painting the gable of the house with a Mayo crest, well let them as it’s all part of it. What are we meant to do, tell all the young kids you are not allowed to wear the jersey to school or hang flags out the bedroom window, or cut out the newspaper articles, (as I did in ’85 and ’89) for fear we might not be good enough to win? For those who are uncomfortable with all the hupla and media coverage and “hype” that goes with it, well then turn off the tv and radio and don’t read about it in the paper.
    Because after all these years we have tried it every way possible and worn out all the superstitions and piseogs and we are still waiting. The result in any given game will not come down to whether you went into Harrys in Kinnegad for the pan on the way up like you always used to, or, instead went on to The Applegreen. It wont matter whether you are wearing the old Genefit mayo jersey or this years one. It wont matter whether you allowed yourself to be swept up in the whole emotion and hope of a final day, or, whether you locked yourself away in a bunker for the month before. IT IS ALL ON THE DAY.
    I remember, like alot of you on here, ’89, ’96, ’04 and ’06. In truth we were just happy to be there as we didn’t expect to be still playing football in September in any of those years. In all of those finals I never believed for a minute that we were genuinely good enough to win. ’07 and ’12 were entirely different. For a number of reasons we left 2 cups behind us those years. This management and squad are good enough to win it. I believe they will win it. All we need is the little bounce to go our way on the day, the little dodgy 51/49 ref decisions to go our way and we will be fine.

  38. Some good insights of late.

    I think most people are on the same wavelength – Lets support and enjoy it without making the lives of the sheep any harder just yet!

    I think -for what its worth- Mayo people have always been optimistic and especially when following their footballers. True there was a bad period in the seventies but Connacht finals had magic then- walking,thumbing to matches in the hope that Joe Langan and PJ Loftus might bring us to the holy grail,little Seamus O Dowd spinning and weaving and Ray Prendergast proud and tall.
    The 80’s brought more hope with McStay and the grat TJKilgallon and SEan Maher and of course the iconic Willie Joe almost landing sam in 89. The hype was enjoyable and we almost did it.
    The 90’s were a mixed bag with savage disappointment in 92 and horrific hammerings thrown in. We were not cocky or arrogant- we never have been.
    96 we were unfairly treated and Liam Mc and others are right not to forget. We had the best team in the land that year but fortune didnt smile. Our backs were like now – Kenny proud and strong- Nallen galloping with confidence like Donie through the middle. And the forwards – well proud and brave they were – and people forget how well Pat Fallon played for Liam in 96.
    97 was unkind to us – injuries threatened and the plan left a bit to be desired. We could have won but the lads were not short of heart- even on one leg.
    WE always hold our heads high in defeat and some day we will be allowed to be magnamimous in victory.
    The whole world is not against us – they almost are afraid to call it for us as we are ourselves. The high ball has killed us in the last few years but we are still there supporting. The little lads we brought to matches in the 80’s now bring their lads (and girls – I mean lads generically)
    Many who expected are gone but their spirit remains.
    You need confidence to win – even arrogance some times but you also need to ensure it does not blind you.
    Remember though when praising the present men we dont run down our past heroes- men like Ger Feeney,Maurice Sheridan,Willie Joe,Jimmy Browne, Ronan McGarrity,Adrian Garvey,Frank Noone, JJ Cribben,Des Griffith,SEamus HUghes,Noel Durkan, Padraig Brogan, and Michael Fitzmaurice. WE all have our own memories – but football unites us – we give our support and we have no right to expect anything other than honest endeavour.
    Disappointment starts with the team that does not deliver and they deserve consolation always ,never abuse.
    This year maybe – next year if not,soon anyway.
    WE have no control on the sidelines- but we are up there- we are on the pitch and we are challenging.
    For now that’s enough.
    Proud win or lose!

  39. Was just thinking the same myself mayo mchale. Excellent stuff Cool Hand Luke as well as an excellent name. Horan should print that one off for the dressing room wall in Croker!

  40. Great piece Cool Hand Luke.We all identify with that.Superbly put and you could add others like Willy Nally and Jimmy Burke to the list of great Mayo men.

  41. I think the Leesiders (or ‘donkeyaters’ as WJ says) could get the win this weekend and actually get to the final, Meath are another dark horse as is Tyrone. A lot seems to be taken for granted with the Dubs,Kerry and Donegal (out of the three the Dubs are the most likely to progress)…………..Lets just hope we can get by London unscathed in the injury dept, if we don’t add to it we are good enough to go the whole way.
    Maigh Eo Abu

  42. Good to read the positives above from JC ,Alf,Pebble,Sean etc. Confidence breeds confidence and the least you’ll get is the enjoyment of the ride.

  43. Meath are far from dark horses—the only way they will keep the score down against Dublin is by delaying the kickouts. Regarded here in Meath as their weakest team for years.

  44. Well said cool hand Luke!
    Our day will come but we may need to be patient and stick at it if things don’t go our way this year. That above all else will be what ensures success. I know how frustrating it is to be beaten repeatedly and the temptation to give up is strong. However, when that urge is at its strongest success is probably just a short step away. These lads just have to keep at it no matter what happens. They are good enough if they are patient enough and determined enough. That’s what it boils down to now. We have never been in this position in my time. Great days to be a mayo supporter.

  45. Evan Regan was cut. Ridiculous decision, the lad is a special talent.
    Oh and Dillon looks to be gone for the summer/autumn. Groin gone!

  46. Big weekend for Club Championship matches, fingers crossed we have no more injuries to our County players. Not good news then about Dillon, he will be missed….

  47. Great post there Cool Hand! You mentioned one of my favorite Mayo players as a youngster, Maurice Sheridan, a great striker of the ball and deadly accurate. God we will need Cillian to be ready for the QF, if for nothing else but to take frees and 45’s.

    Say it ain’t so about Dillon? Is this true? If so, then it just doesn’t make sense to have Regan dropped from the panel? How reliable is this information?

  48. Just thinking about the injuries and how they affect us. Was musing with a family member from Cork today about the mouth watering match coming up Sunday and discussing injuries. Cork sure have their problems too. Having said that, Cillians injury is to his shoulder but I understand he is back kicking the ball and doing light workouts. Now I know this sounds mad, but wouldn’t it be somethin if the GAA had a rule that allowed a team to bring a player in for a specific task, lets say for taking frees, 45’s etc. Once the kick is taken, he departs to the bench, until called upon again, and the regular player returns to the game. Such a rule would allow a Cillian to take part in a match, albeit only as a “special teams” player. Such players would be named ahead of time and not allowed to be substituted into the match except for a specific purpose. Seems far fetched and progressive I know, but hey, they have such “special team” players in the NFL here, and it would introduce a great deal of excitement into the game plus accommodate a player who may otherwise be unavailable for selection or a place in the starting 15.

  49. On Mayo hogan stand forum posts a guy has up that Alan Dillon is out for championship?.. Any one able to put this one to bed for me???

  50. Sadly, the source regarding Dillon has been spot on in the past.He’s gone. Makes the decision to cut Regan even more baffling. The lad is going to be the real deal and not even to keep him involved is very strange, He’s the most natural goal scorer in Mayo at the moment, you’d be doing well to name another guy who scored 3-2 in a senior club championship game.

  51. no sam coming to mayo in 2013 .As there are 3 ledgends still hail and hearty from our 1951 team ;; enough said;

  52. So we are going into a qrtr final (no offence to London) without three forwards who started the final against Donegal. The loss of one or two is something that most counties would struggle with, but to be honest i am most concerned about our free taking and 45’s. Cillian is a big loss in respect of those pressure kicks ala Dublin in the semi and cork in the league. The issue didn’t arise against the Rossies to be fair but the qrtr final will be a stiffer test.

  53. If o Connor is ok we will be ok, him and Kevin mc loughlin are the two we need on the field in quarter final and on. There is enough scoring power in the rest once those 2 are there giving the passes.
    Galway must be gone to pot, nearly beaten by Waterford today. All respect to Waterford, they are living on crumbs in that hurling county. I suppose the Galway manager will have to go. It puts our win over them in a different light, struggling to beat a county that never leaves division 4. A strange year so far and I think it will get a lot stranger before its over.

  54. Panic over. Word on twitter machine is that Dillon starts for Ballintubber tonight v Ballintubber. I’ll just delete that “source” number from phone. Phew

  55. Couldn’t find any confirmation on Dillon playing, but I see that Mickey Conroy came on as a sub for Davitts. Great news all round if both are true.

  56. Mayo SF Championship Group 2: @NaStiofanaigh 1:05 @BallintubberCLG 0:13 Alan Dillon point #mayogaa #FTTGOV
    Collapse Reply Retweet Favourite More

    One of the tweets from the game. Dillon played very well from what i can gather.

  57. Was at the Ballina Ballintubber game and Dillion played the full game and was moving freely after a quiet first half. Danny Geraghty was very good in the middle for Tubber with Gibbons putting in a good shift too. Evan Regan and Pat Harte were the pick of the players for Ballina with Gazza MacHale having a great first half but a quiet second half.

  58. Why do people post shite,lies about players being injured when its unfounded.jeasus its hard enough to be a maigheo fan without having to read such crap.

  59. Great news about Dillon and Conroy.

    Lets take the positives here- its only July 7th and if Dillon,Moran,Conroy and O Connor in line for starting places in August then it goes witout saying how much better off we are.
    Cant read a whole lot into weekend – Galway awful but look at Ros- almost beat Tyrone. Think we need to concentrate on ourself.
    THe candle of hope is still illuminating defiantly and even if it flickers every now and again it wont go out til we have have had the opportunity to test the mettle of a few Mayo hearts. Ar Aghaidh linn.

  60. We should have beat Tyrone, we kicked 4 easy chances wide in the final 5 mins, Heart breaking stuff.

  61. All Ireland final morning was always a good time for ” sources ” coming up with mysterious injuries players picked up but my god it only July and every second week a so called ” source” has something to report! In fairness and with all due respect unless these “sources” have it first hand let them keep it to themselves! We don’t need any more scares this year!!!

  62. Well in fairness Wensam Suun, the story regarding Dillon has been out for the last week or so….

    Sean Burke mentioned it here before that too so it wasn’t if it was out of the blue. Anyways, some people seem to relish these kind of stories and try and give myself and other decent Mayo heart attacks at every possible moment! Onwards on upwards now, hoping everyone came through Club games last night ok!

  63. Agree with last post wensamsoon.think its against rules of site nerves wont stand it…time to rebook the hotel for sept!
    Expect Kerry to do business today….by a good bit .ya wont beat those mountainy men in their own patch.o donoghue and o sullivan to run riot with goals.
    Dont putmoney on it though…my predictions often way out.

  64. Another round of club games another injury. Donie Vaughan. I really think we have an excellent chance this year but can’t afford the amount of injuries we are getting. I never thought I’d say this but assuming we get over London it’s time to postpone remaining club games or in the case of league games maybe play without county players.
    It’s time to pull out all the stops. I really think its there for us this year …..

  65. Donal vaughan not a serious injury. I would say he will be fine for county training on Tuesday night. if the connacht final was played today he would have played the full game. But no point putting too much in for a vital club championship game today. I am sick.

  66. Ye were very unlucky to score 20 points and not get the win to see ye progress !

  67. Very hard to judge that Munster final.
    Kerry looked unstoppable in that first half, but they showed a fair few weaknesses in the 2nd.
    A fair few Cork people I know said that this final was secondary to them, they have loftier ambitions.
    That’s all well and good, but you can’t just turn it off and on like that.
    The common theme I hear from Cork folk is that they won’t win another AI with Counihan in charge, this despite the complete overhaul they had in the backroom team during the summer. Either way, Cork don’t worry me.

    From a Mayo point of view, well we’ve learned that Kerry haven’t gone away and Cork are an unknown quantity.
    That Kerry forward line could almost win an AI on their own, but they have definite weaknesses when the opposition run direct at their backs and I’m also not convinced by Maher and Buckley in midfield.

    Still, nothing I’d be too concerned about so far.

  68. I think Cork had factored in the weather (and kerry would run out of steam) and it backfired, to me it seemed their plan was to contain Kerry in the first half, thence ‘the blanket’ but Kerry got too far ahead………….Kerry forwards and midfield were something else in that first half but then Cork were awful all over the field and made it very easy for the Kerrymen…………If we had to face either of them tomorrow, I wouldn’t be too worried as our intensity would make it tough on them both……….but there is a lot of time to go before we could cross swords and these two get better with time and the closer they get to September

  69. Interesting to see how patient some counties are when it comes to managers. Cork screwed again by poor management calls crazy that Counihan was not removed two years ago. Same story with Mc Geeney same tactics as last year same hammering in leinster semi final. Kerry looked good in the first half But were given yards of space. Anyhow they have to be respected as no mayo supporter will forget the damage declan o Sullivan in particular inflicted on us in finals. Key word is respected but NOT feared.

  70. Vis a vis Cork can we change blanket defence to tissue.At times today you would think the Kerry lads were armed they stood so far back. Both sides were poor but I’d expect better come the Bank Holiday weekend. I don’t expect either to feature in late September.

  71. I don’t think we should get to hung up on Kerry just yet, the only time we could meet them is in the Final and that’s four matches away. Getting out of our own patch is a given but then we’re into the unknown regards the draw for the quarters. A bit of luck there and it’s back to headquarters for what could be the mother of all challenges – a date with Jimmy and his all conquering hit men.
    Regardless of how our half of the draw goes, it does look very much like a Kerry v Dublin semi-final on the other side and what a mouth watering contest that should be. One thing for sure the two teams that make it through to this years Final will have survived some serious challenges along the way and for sure, earned the right to be there……

  72. Kerry may not be such a great force as a few years ago but still put up a decent score today. Cork too.
    Either would be a challenge for mayo, a serious challenge when it’s do or die. What’s the bets we get cork for qf?
    I bet a fiver, wait, a tenner.
    I’m glad to hear the injuries are clearing up, all hands needed shortly.

  73. Hard to know the 1/4 finalists at this stage. Couple of big teams in the backdoor now. Kildare, Derry, Tyrone and Cork will all have to slug it out and depending on the draw and home or away no one of them is guaranteed to make the 1/4s.

    As regards the match itself in Killarney, well Cork only have themselves to blame. Counihan got the tactics wrong (again) v Kerry. Exact same match happened in Killarney 2 years ago. I think Cork are actually better than Kerry but Counihan doesn’t have the knowledge how to manage that team.

    i’m glad as well because if he does get lucky and pick his best team they are a match for anyone else in the country.

  74. Counihan…three national Leagues and an All Ireland…the man must know a little about the game. lets wait until the dust settles before we bury him…Gatland got it in the neck for his beliefs and a week later total vindication. Real stuff starts in August and we should worry only about ourselves.

  75. Counihan of course knows something about the game but there can be no doubt that given the resources at his disposal, both financially and in player numbers/quality/player size etc. and club success within the county, he has underperformed and has failed to progress his teams tactically.
    Why does he persist in constantly having his players hand-pass sideways as a means of advancing up the field? Yesterday, the default reaction from every Cork player when they had possession was to look sideways. Kerrys was to look forward and kick pass. Cork were afraid to kick pass whereas Kerry trusted their skills and made progress up the field far easier, quicker and to greater effect. I called a Kerry victory if they broke even at midfield and that the Cork backs would not handle the speed and movement of the Kerry full forward line and that is exactly how it transpired.
    The only time I could see where a sideways short hand-passing game could be beneficial is when up against a blanket defense and against a side that draws 10 or 12 players back inside their own half. By hand-passing around your own half back line or midfield you could tempt the blanket defense out towards you and thereby create more space in behind for your own forwards to make runs into. But Lord knows Kerry were never going to adopt a blanket defense in their own back yard. They trusted their backs and their team mates to do their jobs and the forwards did the rest.
    Kerry will beat the Jackeens in the semi-final too.

  76. 1.dublin

    This seems to be the correct order. This means we have a great chance making the semis

  77. Seems Richie Feeney is out for a few weeks with a stress fracture, unfortunate for him. Hope he is back soon. Great to hear Dillon and Moran played full games. Hope Vaughan is fine, as is suggested by the poster above. Season starts now. Be interesting to see the team for the next day. Clarke might not make it if he’s not back playing soon. Think Coen might start ahead of Carolan the next day. Carolan didn’t do much the last day and Coen has looked very sharp in his last two outings. Interesting times ahead.

  78. Oh and by the way, is it Keith Higgins that is captain this year? Or will Andy reassume the role once he is back in the first fifteen? There was never an announcement that I know of.

  79. I certainly wouldn’t fear Kerry.Granted they won but they were well assisted by a very poor performance by Cork for 50 minutes or so.The worst performance i can remember seen by a this Cork team.From what i heard Roscommon threw away their game against Tyrone.I still wouldn’t write off Tyrone though. I believe from what i have seen there is only 3 maybe 4 teams that are contenders for Sam 2013

  80. Horans Brigade – was wondering the same myself! It was David Clarke for a couple of the league games too! No disrespect to Andy Moran but I feel it’s someone who’s given there all during the league games that deserves the nod here!!

  81. Disagree there lads. Andy is a natural leader and rallies the team, leads by example and is always encouraging others. No disrespect to the others.
    On the Munster final, was a poor match really cept for the final 15 minutes, when cork came close. Couldn’t believe how lazy they were and kicking for a point in the 72’nd minute when u needed a goal! Wtf?
    Kerry looked good at times but on many occasions were reluctant to take points from what seemed scorable positions, ultimately over cooking and turning the ball over. They will improve to be sure.

  82. Not impressed at all with munster final, dont think neither will be there in last sunday in sept. Its down to 3 teams for me now with ourselfs , the jacks and the dunnys…………….

  83. Was at Balinrobe v Ballagh on Sunday. Most enjoyable game of football i’ve seen in a long time. Andy quiet (for his standards) in first half, but dominated in the 2nd with less of the ball. O’Malley made a world class save with Andy going for top corner. Would have no fear if Clarke not fit. Alan Murphy not playing, but looked
    fit as water carrier (is he still in squad?). Donie started in ff line, scored great point and disappeared off pitch!

  84. I think Kerry and Cork are still very much in the mix.

    Kerry have gone through the front door, can’t draw Cork in the Quarters ( imo the most dangerous opponents at that stage and a team I would prefer avoid ) so they’re eyeing a very winnable quarter final and a probable semi against their favourite opponents The Dubs and they’ll fancy their chances in that one. Kerry will be geared to lift their game in the latter stages of the championship and I for one won’t be surprised ( with you on this one Pebblesmeller ) if the end up in the final.

    Cork on the other hand will have learned an awful lot from the Munster final and they’ll get to put that learning into practise against one of the qualifiers coming through and can arrive at quarter final stage knowing their best team and having had a real test in the white heat of Killarney and another hard game after that.

    On the other hand we will arrive in the quarters without any real test and without being too sure of potential weaknesses and without any safety net at that stage. As others have stated above the quarter final is a dangerous match for us !

    Cork and Kerry have a great advantage within the current structure in that they can test each other with the loser still very much in the mix and with the time to put things right before they arrive in Croker – and that’s when the real stuff begins – another Munster title means little to either if they don’t bring home ‘Big Lugs’.

  85. Hi lads keith is captain as long as andy doesnt start, but andy is still the named captain. Wasnt sure mysef till i met keiths mam recently and she clarified position. I said she must be very proud of having keith as captain and she said when he was small he slept with his boots under his pillow. And as long as he doesnt get hurt she is happy! Like all mammies…….

  86. Thanks remember 51. I think that’s a good idea. A goalkeeper just can’t exert the influence an outfield player can. Keith has been an outstanding player thus far for Mayo and is quite influential (he seems to have gotten the silly punches and dirty challenges out of his sytem). Andy though is the heartbeat of this team and deserves to reclaim the captaincy.

  87. Seen keith play a lot and he is not dirty but wont be pushed around either. Prob a good trait if you are an inter county cornor back. I know we wud all love to see him up the field a bit but he covers so much ground in the full back line and counter attacks so well he is priceless. He rarely gives possession away but is not a man marker like cuniffe. Still should be an all star again this year if we can get to semis.

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