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We’ve had the sun, we’ve had the sea, we’ve had the beers but now all that’s behind us and having arrived home late (very late) last night, it’s back to normality once again. There’s been loads, I know, going on in the GAA world over the last few weeks and the Connacht final (senior and minor) is coming rapidly down the tracks this coming Sunday so it’s definitely time to start stoking the embers here again. Aside from anything else, I’m bloody freezing, so I could do with the warmth – who turned the sun off? Aahh, there’s no place like home.

So, just to get things moving again, who do you think will be going home from MacHale Park on Sunday with the JJ Nestor Cup in their possession?

Who'll win the Connacht final?

  • Us (86%, 259 Votes)
  • Them (14%, 42 Votes)

Total Voters: 301

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45 thoughts on “Back

  1. Welcome back, hope you enjoyed it, best of luck to both mayo teams on sunday, hope everyone is fit and well , and come through ok, and that we come out the right sìde

  2. Welcome back WJ. Shame you couldn’t bring some good weather home with you.
    As regards stoking the fires for Sunday, I have been just reading through the excellent Mayo News Connaught Final supplement, those boys put in a fair shift in their sports coverage. Accurate balanced reporting without any of the hysteria or rumour mongering often found in other publications. I know it focuses more on the western side of the county but it is unrivalled for it’s sports coverage.
    Plug over.

    Hon Mayo.

  3. Good to see you back WJ and nice to have a fresh post – the withdrawals were beginning to hit hard.

    Sunday I think will be an interesting day – there has been very little talk (and consequently very little rumour or gossip) from the camp this week which is exactly as it should be. My feeling is that despite the sense of occasion that comes with a Mayo-Galway Connacht final that this might not be a great display of football from ourselves – I can see us once again doing what we need to, to win the game and I can see us having to dig deep again like we did in Roscommon – Galway are the ones here with nothing to lose and everything to gain, so I expect them to come out hard and fast against us. I still can’t see us losing it, though.

    (Of course as we all know by now I have a dismal record when it comes to predicting things which would suggest I actually know nothing about football, so hopefully by saying this I have guaranteed us a good game.)

    Looking forward to getting my hands on the Mayo News – they had tweeted about injury news and said that one high-profile player won’t be starting – to whom were they referring? Jason?

    A quick note as well (and WJ I hope you don’t mind the plug) that for anyone of you at a loose end on Castlebar on Thursday evening, Club ’51 are holding a charity table quiz from 8 in Coady’s Bar, Linenhall St. – proceeds in aid of Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Raynauds & Scleroderma Ireland. No doubt all the talk will be of Sunday!

  4. I just want the Castlebar wave back….them Brazilian’s have had it all to themselves!!!

  5. Ann Marie, I’d say it was tom cunniffe they were referring to. Team lineup hard to call, especially forwards.

  6. cork hammered by kerry ,derry alreadygone ,mayo never wanted aleauge finalplace,dublin knocked the lifeout ofcork and derry,allhoran wantson sunday is a win ,one point would win would suffice,then lets see what august weekend throws up, honmayo

  7. I’d go with the following…

    Hennelly
    Keane, Cafferkey & Higgins Keanes return to form should see him get the start.
    Keegan, Vaughan & Boyle Galway no11 is a big lad, Vaughans power needed at 6
    Seamus O’Shea & Gibbons
    Feeney, Aidan O’Shea & D. O’Connor
    Freeman, McLoughlin & O’Connor

    More than likely Finian Hanly will be at 3 for Galway. He is a tough strong defender but is not mobile and positionally he is weak. I’d set up my attack to do 2 things. The first is to create as much space as possible directly in front of their goal. By doing this I would also complete the second point of my attack, that is to target Hanly. He will be their most experienced defender and the one that will be expected to hold their shape together. By playing Kevin Mc at 14 Hanly will have to decide does he stay at full back on Kevin, or, does he follow Freeman to the corner, thus making his corner back move inside to full back! Straight from the off you are forcing the Galway defence to change. I would also instruct Kevin Mc to leave the full forward position and drift out to the half forward line in a 3-3-2-4-2 formation. Hanly then has to think again, does he stay inside holding his position while Mayo have a free man inside the Galway 45, or, does he go out with him leaving the full back position exposed. Leaving 2 in the inside line of attack will leave more space directly in front of the Galway posts. Also, by having 2 big lads out in the corners and encouraged to hold the full width of the pitch, and assuming that the supply to the 2 lads is good, it will focus the Galway defence to drift out to the corners, thus leaving space in front of goal. From here, it will be all about good supply from the corners to the incoming Mayo runners from the 4 man half forward line.
    I expect Galway to go defensive having seen how we struggled against Roscommon. I don’t expect them to be quite as bad as the Rossies were but they will withdraw numbers, try to block off runs and slow our progression through their defence. Therefore we will need an accurate long range point taker and there are not many better then Feeney to swing one over from 40 yards out on the right wing. I would also encourage Aidan to chanrge forward into the space that may have been vacated by Hanly moving out and also for him to act as a “free” man in the attack, giving him license to roam around the inside line of attack and then returning to his position. This movement, like was tried in the New York game, forces the defence to shift and track runs. If this is done often enough and well enough, eventually, the defence will lose its shape.
    D. O’Connor is defensively sound and will protect his wing back, will pick up alot of breaking ball and is a strong runner into space. Again, our ball players need to be aware of his runs and supply good ball to him.
    If Galway go ultra-defensive I would then move Higgins from no 4 to a third midfield position and use him as a runner into space, creating overlaps, dummy runs, cross-over runs etc to move the blanket defence all over the place. Boyle would drop back to cover his position and leave Donie and Keegan as a 2 man half back line in a 3-2-3-4-2 formation.
    Sweeney, A. Moran and Dillion to be introduced in second half along with B. Moran and Duffy.
    Mayo by 5.

    Hon Mayo.

  8. Cheers for that folks. Takes an extra day to get the provincials up here, went off on a wild goose chase for the Western last night …

  9. To add to the Mayo News plug, I see the Western is reporting Horan as ruling out Parsons and Enda Varley, both with hamstring problems. Nothing on any other player, but of course they go to press early.

    Galway should be pleased to see Varley out – he has tormented them constantly over the last few years.

    in the same paper Liam McHale claims that many players suffering from fatigue. I know this is a possibility, potentially in every match, but where is the evidence? I was watching for that in the Roscommon game and I don’t think there was any evidence on that day. Bad shooting, bad decision making let Rossies back in. Fatigue could well have kicked in then, but they rallied very well.

    McHale also making his by now jaded call for O’Shea at FF. Would you have this man on the management team?

  10. Welcome back WJ!

    Thats disappointing news to hear about Tom Cunniffe, he will be a big loss if he is out. Especially as Galway’s no. 15 Danny Cummins is a very talented player and will take some watching. Hopefully Chris Barrett will be back and be fully fit to add some experience to our full-back line, as you feel that Galway will try to score goals early in the game.

  11. Interesting thoughts Pebblesmeller but I would not agree.Dont believe time has come for D.O Connor and we need Andy on the field to stop Galway momentum.
    Think Gibbons should start with Aidan at centre.Would plump for Barrett ahead of Keane and would be giving Barry chance by half time depending where need is.Certainly Feeney is an option at an early stage if things going wrong.
    Hope James gets it right.Match ups are vital…Galway have some fast and skillful forwards as opposed to last year and I dont think we will beat them unless we get it right.Support vital too especially when things go a little hairy.
    My only dilemma is around Dillon.Is there a last kick in him.I hope so and he might actually prosper against Galway.Depends on his form I guess.

  12. As a young observer of the 1951 team as they entered Ballina on the back of a lorry,
    my only comment now is that subsequent teams did what is possibly the most difficult
    thing of all: they kept coming back. What other county has failed, and risen again, as often as Mayo?

  13. What about gibbons in the forwards is o connor Injuried again am sur t cunnife will be back for Sunday.

  14. Mayobornandbred,
    Andy has a tendency to slow up play and against a possibly deep lying defence that won’t help. Regarding Aidan in centrefield, I don’t think he has the stamina for the role. I do agree that Barrett is our best option but I just feel Keane deserves another crack. I like Harrison also, but for now, he will have to wait.
    Spoilt for choices 🙂

  15. There is no way I would be withdrawing anybody from the full forward line to play further outfield. Our win last year was based on pressurizing their full back line and goalkeeper into making mistakes and I see no reason for not trying it again. OK, Galway will be expecting it but will they be looking forward to it? Also when you withdraw somebody from the full forward line you are automatically providing the opposition with a sweeper and a loose player to take the ball short from the goalkeeper which is the basic tactic for most teams nowadays. There is [I hope] no way we would be doing that against Dublin and if not why against Galway?
    Also we have seen a fair bit of Aiden O’Shea on the 40 and it has never worked. Centrefield is the only place he fits, same with Seamus, Jason Gibbons looked much more like a centreforward in the small amount of gametime he had there.

  16. Can’t wait for Sunday.

    I would be surprised to see Aidan at CF, given that he was tried a number of times there previously and hadn’t the impact you’d be hoping for. I’d like to see Gibbons in midfield and Aidan to come on with 20mins to go (or played at no. 6).
    Would love to see Richie (given how he’s currently playing for club) start with Kevin and Andy on the HF line; and possibly try Doc or Sweeney in the corner with Freeman and Cillian.
    I understand the point that Andy could slow play up, but I just don’t see anyone else who can make a significant impact for us. This is Galway in a Connaught Final and we need to get cracking from the throw-in. Andy will get stuck in. I feel the time for any more experiments of young players should be shelved for now.
    From what I’ve seen recently, Barry Moran is a fair bit off where he would need to be to see any game time on Sunday.

    With the Galway hurlers out, coupled with their defeat to us last year, we can expect a big turnout of Galway supporters, so we need as much green and red as possible, shouting the lads to the very last.
    I expect a solid game from us. Come on Mayo!!

  17. I hope the programme writer’s get the total amount of Connacht Title’s previously won right this time (seem to get it wrong every year). It’s Mayo 45 Galway 44 as we stand. They always seem to have Galway ahead or level. These things matter.

  18. I’d have to agree that it’s midfield or nothing for Aidan. He’s too slow to get a pass or a shot away when in possession; he’s most effective when winning high ball and then giving it simple. That’s all he needs to do as his bulk and his strength means very few will beat him to a kickout. It’ll be interesting to see on Sunday if he continues to walk into traffic with possession. If he does, expect a long and frustrating day for Mayo.

    If we’re to try one of our midfielders at CF, Gibbons or SOS would look the best bet to me right now. Probably Gibbons as he looks the likelier scorer, and with only one point from our HF line against Roscommon, that is the obvious sore point in our team.

  19. I’m not sure that’s correct, Horse, as there’s a fair bit of confusion about who won what and when in Connacht going back over a hundred years and more. I did a bit of digging on this after last year’s Connacht final (here) and my conclusion then based on the evidence I could find, which I know is only one man’s guesstimate, was that we both have 44 titles. If this right (and I think it might be) then it adds another twist to Sunday’s decider.

  20. Was just going to ask you to put those musings from last year back up Willie Joe when lo and behold you beat me to it.
    At 44 titles each then Sunday is the big one.

  21. liberal role in the tie, just to put it in perpsective our hurlers being out will not increase our support substantially. Really we are two counties in one when it comes to GAA. Getting support for our football team is a slow burner and hurling only folk would really only turn out if it was an all-ireland final. Our guys need to make big statement via Sunday or the qualifiers if we are to get the support back we enjoyed during those halcyon days of the mid sixties and late nineties. Nobody is talking about us (not necessarily bad thing) and even with recent underage success it argely went unrecognised unlikeCavan and the Rossies who got plenty of plaudits yet won no all-ireland. Whether or which i will be out in force for the maroon on Sunday

  22. Its 45 lads but im being picky now sorry. The official website has 45 & even Wikipedia says 45 but hey its 46 that counts. Think its the 1939 triumph that’s the confusing one although we were 9 points up when match abandoned 🙂

    Anyway more important is sunday. Were up against a fresh hungry team and we need score’s not know-how to win this. Galway will put up score regardless of our more experience and physical prowess. Have we got the score’s in us to match I really hope so but were they come from is the question. Cillian apart we need others to step up.

  23. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree, Horse, but as I pointed out in that piece I did last year on the issue, there’s no consensus from any of the various sources on it. I guess proper record-keeping on who won what wasn’t all that high up the agenda in the years up to 1910! For what it’s worth, I still maintain the count is 44-44 going into Sunday but one thing I think we can agree on is if we win on Sunday we’ll definitely have the most Connacht titles then. Mind you, it’s that 9-3 scoreline in their favour for All-Irelands which grates a bit more.

  24. Cannot wait for Sunday, unfortunately ill be over sea’s watchin it with the exiles, but ill still be a nervous wreck no doubt. Hope we go for the jugular from the off, an early goal from our boys might re open some old wounds, and we could go to town on them, tho i think it will be alot closer than last year. Theirs been a good gap between the rossie game an i bet our boys are raring ta go. Hope Gibbons starts at 11 an boyle or vaughan take shane walsh down a peg or two. He’ll know all about high level championship football after 70mins against them boys!. Im gunna go Mayo by 5. Keep the faith.

  25. catcol says:
    July 8, 2014 at 6:32 pm
    To add to the Mayo News plug, I see the Western is reporting Horan as ruling out Parsons and Enda Varley, both with hamstring problems. Nothing on any other player, but of course they go to press early.

    Galway should be pleased to see Varley out – he has tormented them constantly over the last few years.

    in the same paper Liam McHale claims that many players suffering from fatigue. I know this is a possibility, potentially in every match, but where is the evidence? I was watching for that in the Roscommon game and I don’t think there was any evidence on that day. Bad shooting, bad decision making let Rossies back in. Fatigue could well have kicked in then, but they rallied very well.

    McHale also making his by now jaded call for O’Shea at FF. Would you have this man on the management team?

    No I would not, to me he is just attention seeking. He is becoming more annoying with every game.

    btw, Pebblesmeller, I like your team below, only concern is half backs line’s no 5 and 6 potential inability to defend. Maybe crazy but too focused on thier secondary role, attacking.

    Hennelly
    Keane, Cafferkey & Higgins Keanes return to form should see him get the start.
    Keegan, Vaughan & Boyle Galway no11 is a big lad, Vaughans power needed at 6
    Seamus O’Shea & Gibbons
    Feeney, Aidan O’Shea & D. O’Connor
    Freeman, McLoughlin & O’Connor

  26. I expect that James will stay with his own form in the team selection. Hennelly will be between the sticks and the six backs will be as they were against Ross. If Cunniffe is out, I’d expect to see Keane fill that spot. Aidan is more than likely No 8 with past selections suggesting that KMc, Freemen and Cillian will be the Nos 13, 14 and 15 respectively.
    In the Ross game, JH went for height at No 11 and I expect he might do the same this time but with Sheamie O’Shea replacing his brother Conor for this one. That would allow Gibbons to partner Aidan at No 9. I would expect Andy to take one of the wing forward places with the other a toss-up between Doherty and Diarmuid O’Connor.

    So my predicted first 15 would be:

    1. Rob Hennelly

    2. Tom Cunniffe (or Kevin Keane if Cunniffe is out), 3. Ger Cafferkey, 4. Keith Higgins

    5. Lee Keegan, 6. Colm Boyle, 7.Donie Vaughan

    8. Aidan O’Shea, 9. Jason Gibbons

    10. Andy Moran, 11. Seamus O’Shea, 12 Jason Doherty

    13. Kevin McLoughlin, 14. Alan Freeman, 15. Cillian O’Connor

    And the six others to play a part? My predictions:
    M. Sweeney (forward)
    D. O’Connor (forward)
    D. Drake (back)
    K Keane (if he doesn’t start – B Harrison if he does)
    C.O’Shea (midfield/forward)
    R. Feeney (back or forward)

    Of course, if Barry or Chris are fit, the midfield/back options would also be different.

    Bring on Sunday!

  27. looking foward to Sunday. I dont think galway will play as defensively as Roscommon. Could be close enough for a lot of the game. So to confirm the stand is all reserved seating ? I got a ticket on the season tickets with the GAA.

  28. God team fourgoal.

    What about Coen though.I dont understand why he was dispensed with so fast after showing some promise.Dont think either Diarmuid or Conor will make appearance.That lesson has been learned.

  29. I think you have most of it Fourgoal. Think though he’ll go for Barrett.
    Think you need to add Dillo and Barry to the likely impact subs.

  30. Very hard to call the subs Mayobornandbred. We don’t know how these lads are going in training relative to each other and that could have a big bearing on who gets a chance. As well, it was only after I had made the comment that I remembered Alan Dillon and the cracking game he produced against Galway last year. He might even start but I think now he is more likely to be a replacement for Andy for the final third of the game.

  31. Fair point KC.
    May the best team win on Sunday. I’m sure there’ll be good banter between the two sets of supporters either way.

  32. Hope Galway won’t do a Germany on us on Sunday – a big display from our more established players will be essential to get over this one !

  33. I reckon what we need is to ensure is that we win the middle third sector comprehensively.
    My line up for what it’s worth would be

    Hennelly

    Chris Barrett Ger Caff Tom Cunniffe
    Colm Boyle Lee Keegan Donal vaughan

    Keith Higgins (3rd midfielder)
    Seamus o Shea Aidan O Shea

    Kevin McLoughlin ………………Jason Gibbons
    Mikey Sweeney Andy Moran Cillian o Connor

    We need to set up VERY defensively with McLoughlin and gibbons also falling back to strangle the life out of the Galway attacks. I reckon we will need this approach if we have any ambitions beyond sunday. It is Donegalish………it is a horrible dirty blanket but it is necessary if we are to contain talented attacking outfits……..and no better time to start than Sunday at 2o clock.
    Leaving Freeman out of the starting 15 is a big call but I reckon Sweeney could thrive on the open spaces. If he or anyone else isn’t working out then Freeman would be a great sub…….similarly for Doherty.
    One thing for sure is that we need to adapt to a rapidly changing game or be left behind.
    As for McHales suggestion about putting AOS at ff…….it’s not as daft as it’s portrayed. I would stick him in there for a few minutes during a game. It would certainly unsettle a FB line to see him appear!
    Can’t wait for Sunday. Hup Mayo!

  34. Galway have some handy forwards and a strong mid-field partnership. Their weaknesses are at the back. The earlier in the game we can get at their defence the better. We can’t let them get their confidence up, as Roscommon were allowed to do. Heres hoping for a great game!

  35. I would worry about midfield—we were cleaned out against Ross.OShea played ff against Galway early in his career to good effect. We need to mix things up a bit–we are getting predictable & our backs are still suspect under a high ball.

  36. I cannot see why anybody is proposing Andy Moran as a wing forward with Kevin Mc in the corner. To me they both seem ideally suited to each other;s position. Or why anybody is proposing Chris Barrett as a starter since he hasn’t had a game since last year’s All Ireland final.

  37. ROBBIE H.
    Chris B Ger C Keith H

    The usual suspects

    Barry M and Seamus O’ S

    Jason D Aided O’ S Kevin Mc

    Cillian O’ C Andy M Alan D

    That’s the team, no kidding.

  38. Question folks. Given your ground in designing its new stand chose to have those stanchions in front of the stand to reinforce same can you tell me is there much obstruction to match viewing. Also given it is reserved seating at what point as you go back in the stand do those terrible stanchions obstruct. Have a DD lettering in one of the blocks. Have not being there since the mauling in 2011 so trying to recollect. Tried to google a schematic but no luck. Cheers.

  39. KC those poles are a bit of a pain alright. You would imagine that after spending several million on the stand that they could have sorted that one out .
    There are two spots one each side half way down that block out the goals unless you have room to move your head. I don’t think it’s too bad up the back, thats where all the journals and I think the radio crowd are there too.
    It’s a fine stand apart from the poles.I think I’ll go to the far side with the sun more to our back.Hope it’s a good game with not too much negative stuff going on.Much and all as ye are seen as the enemy in these parts we always say that ye play football and not the shite that those Northern thugs play!

  40. Cheers pj. Thanks for the pointers. I would be surprised if Sunday is not decent football wise. Part of our concern is whether we have the physicality of modern day football to compete. We have some talented players who are working very hard to get to the level required. Some Nordies laugh at teams like Galway saying we are not at the races in terms of systems, mass defences, conditioning etc. You get that sense at league games when playing any of our northern brethern. Then other commentators wonder why is the underage success not coming through. I think the reality is somewhere in between in that we are slowly adapting to the requirements of modern football while realising that underage success is no precursor to senior glory. We do need to get to the Q/F this year either straight through or the more likely route of winning a Round 4 qualifier. And as i referenced in another post on this thread we need progress this year to get the marginal Galway fan on board. Its achievable and the raw material is there. Core Galway football fans are hopeful rather than expaectant from what i have heard.

  41. Connacht final morning…over 30,000 tickets sold and the stand sold out since Thursday morning. I think we will hit very close to a sell out.

    Safe travelling all and Up Mayo!

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